It was a Sunday afternoon. I was sitting in my room and was immersed in William Shakespeare’s ‘The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet’. My brother and dad were taking their naps and mom was watching any film on television. I had been totally involved in the book and was enjoying it thoroughly till the time I listened to the voice of an aunt coming from our drawing room. She lives near our home and is also a distant relative. As I heard her voice, I closed the book and came out of room just to confirm if its her. Yes, it was her. She had come after a long time to meet mom. I went back to room to continue with Shakespeare’s tragedy. Though I had resumed but was being distracted by mom and aunt’s chit chat and conversation. It was clearly audible to me what they were talking about and may be their topic of conversation was working as a distraction factor for me.
My mom kept on sympathizing with her while conversation but aunt didn’t seem to be pacified. She kept on harping on that one string about her past. She seemed to be very disturbed. She was telling about how she managed to live in her home with her husband and in laws these years only she knows. Her family wasn’t so cooperative and supportive of her. She did everything for them without thinking twice. She wasn’t very happy with the marriage but she kept quiet and went on with it for the sake of her children. She helped, supported and loved her husband when he was in his worst phase of career. She even said that many times she almost played a mother to her husband. She took care of him when he was chronically ill without even thinking about her health. She described all these past incidents to my mom and finally broke down into tears.
My mom tried to console her by her words of sympathy. She was quiet but then she said that though my husband wasn’t so good to me these years, still I loved him but now he is trying his best to make me and my children happy but I don’t feel that love for him anymore. He is trying to control his anger and aggressive behavior so that happiness and harmony blooms inside our family but now I am not feeling anything for him. I feel as if everything is finished from my side, though I wanted it but now I feel neutral to it.
She told all these things about her equation with her husband and her family, had tea with mom at home and after some time she went away.
It had been a while since she had left the home but I got stuck with her problem. With opened ‘Romeo and Juliet’, I had started to churn over what she said. I kept on thinking one thing that whatever she did for her family was really great. There are very few people who can sacrifice so much for their family and children. It was appreciable, no doubt but one more thing was going along with it in my mind.
This incident brought me a series of some past incidents of my life that had taught me various profound learning. There was a time in life when I was growing, as a teenager I was exploring my relationships and was experiencing several emotions, which were new and surely different. This was the time when that relationship meant a lot to me. That was my first deep bonding with someone. With each passing day, I experienced many emotions, feelings. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes hurt too. I started doing many things for the person. From saving my pocket money to buy the person a gift, to messaging the person many times. I just did a lot of stuffs. But during the whole process of doing things for that person, deep down inside, in any hidden corner of the heart, a wish was always there to get reciprocated that care, love and attention. This suppressed feeling of getting love from the person used to cause me hurt many times. Many times even I used to drop a tear.
This kept on going for more than 5 years but then came a saturation point and one fine day I sat with myself and asked that do I really love the person? Or am I just expecting something on behalf of what I do for that person?
That person never asked me to do anything. I did everything willingly, then why I kept on expecting and was in continuous pain throughout these years? Why I always tried to make the person behave the way I wanted the person to behave?
The pain of unreciprocated love had saturated me now as the answers dawned upon me. Love and affection is something that we can’t expect from anyone because it comes naturally. We really can’t pressurize someone to love us. Yes, we can love whomever we want to love, that too unconditionally and without limits but one thing we need to keep in our mind while loving that loving someone isn’t an assurance that they will reciprocate in the same amount and proportion. May be they won’t, throughout their life. Every person’s emotional capacity is different from each other and so is the perception. For everyone the definition of love is different, so it is not at all necessary that the way we love them is right and the way they do is wrong. It is just that our ways are different from each other.
And most importantly this life incident taught me that we really can’t gauge the capacity to reciprocate love and care of the other person with whom we are in relationship. The only part that we can play is ours and we should focus on that.
As I got to realize these answers, it hardly took me few days to let myself free from that pain and suppressed feeling of expectation. It really clarified me one thing that love and relationships are not meant for asking love from each other. It is about giving and sharing love completely without a single trace of any expectation. If we get love in return when we don’t expect it then it is ours because it is arriving to us directly from the heart of the person. We didn’t ask for it. It came naturally.
Yes whatever aunt did for her family was really great but was she really doing it from her heart? I mean she did everything outside but inside she held grudges, resentment and anger too. She healed her husband but was herself emotionally injured. This would have been really great if she could have done it from the heart, not in compulsion. She accomplished and helped in many things outside for sure but in the heart it wasn’t the love for her family, it was something else. It was compulsion. Due to which she was in pain throughout these years and this pain depleted her inside so much that now when she is getting what she wanted, so she is unable to feel that just because of her emptiness inside.
I had also gone through that phase of doing things in relationships either in compulsion or with expectations but as I realized the fact, I changed my perspective.
Now whenever I want to do something for anyone in relationships, I make sure that I really want to give them love, care or anything just because I like giving them, I enjoy giving them. Not because I have to give to them or they will reciprocate the same to me.
The pain, we experience in relationships are just because of this expectation and a feeling of not being reciprocated. We just need to understand one thing that relationships are not meant for expecting, it is meant for giving and sharing love. It is meant for expressing our inner beauty and beauty lies in giving and sharing, not in begging and demanding all the time. It’s better not to give if we don’t feel like giving, then to give forcefully or with expectation. It will only cause pain and relationships are for experiencing love, not pain.
Let’s share and give love, care and affection from the heart. It will reveal a new facet of the relationships.