Relationships

The Biggest Mistake We all Make in our Communication

Last week I talked about how communication makes or breaks any relationship. Effective communication can be the key to resolving issues, overcome obstacles together, and understand each other . On the other hand, I have seen when couples feel like they can’t get their point across, then a lot of problems can arise. It isn’t a straight line to walk and it takes time to learn how to walk this tight rope but when you do, life can be blissful.

I asked the same question on my instagram that ‘What do you think is the most important thing in a relationship’ and I got a lot of interesting answers. Understanding, trust,loyalty and respect were some of the common responses along with communication. The importance of one cannot be denied over the other. I think everything just goes hand in hand. Like if you’re talking but not with respect, very soon, things can get ugly.

But what I feel is if you’re not even talking, then where do other things fit in. Messy right? Relationships are. You need to be able to be vocal about your likes, dislikes and concerns with the other person and respect their boundaries too. It’s a two way thing. Not every time it can be expected that one spouse will be on the listening end, sometimes you need to lend an ear as well. Otherwise relationships start feeling like a burden and can very soon go towards the dreaded path of abuse and breakup. One person cannot carry the burden of two, for very long.

So what are we doing wrong when we are trying to communicate with someone or our significant other? We are listening to respond. We are only hearing them out while our mind is wandering elsewhere or we’re just forming our response. We are not really listening to understand them. We are more concerned about them understanding us and not the other way around. If you just pause, breathe and try to change your narrative to understanding them, it might make a difference.

So, if you are willing, here are some tips to follow for effective communication:

-Be attentive and listen to understand

-Clear your mind of your responses

-Try and focus on their perspective

-Stay calm and talk with respect

-Frame your response in a clear and concise way

-Take breaks if the conversation is going in circles and/but come back to it later

It is very important to come back to your argument and conclude it at a later stage if it isn’t over yet. Leaving it hanging can only further the divide and widen misunderstandings.

I hope this was helpful and we all can practice to make our communication better and effective. I’d love to know how you make your communications effective!

Reflections

What Keeps you Grounded (and How to Cope in Difficult Times)-Part 2

In the previous post I talked about how by changing your perspective and having faith can help you navigate the tough times in your life. I thought I should take it further and talk about some coping strategies as well. Sometimes what happens when we are going through a difficult time is that we tend to close off. That may be due to fear, for example, we may fear being judged or we may feel embarrassed talking about it.

What one needs to understand here is that there is no shame in talking about your story. You are not the only one and that it can happen to anyone. You don’t have to go open up to the world about your problem(s) but you need a genuine outlet to let the steam off, and hear some words of inspiration or wisdom which can really help you in tough times. Sometimes, sharing about your problem also helps to gain perspective, find support or a possible solution for it. So you if you find yourself beaten down by life, first of all, know that you’re not alone. Secondly, remind yourself that it is a test and you will pass it. Life happens to everyone and everybody’s tested albeit in different ways. So let’s move on to some coping strategies:

Confide in your Close Ones

It’s very important to have people close to you, who understand you, know you and genuinely care for you. When you have identified such people in your life, then you should find your strength in them. Having support means a lot. You understand that you are not alone. You have friends and/or family who care and that they will go the extra mile for you. If  nothing, they will lend an ear to you, which can really help.

Find a Support Group

You can also find a support group, locally or online, where you can interact with people who are going through the same situation as you. Sometimes, it can really help in listening to others and how they are coping with their situation. You can gain insight by their experience and feel less lonely in your situation.

Generally, when something bad happens to us, our first reaction to it is that it’s the worst thing that has happened to us and nothing more bad can ever happen to anyone. By talking to people or in a a support group, your perspective can shift and help you cope.

Surround Yourself with Non Judgmental People

When you’re going through a tough phase in life, it’s important to surround yourself with positive interactions and influences. You don’t want more negativity around you at such times or people unnecessarily prying in your matters. Keep at a distance with such people and only interact with those you know genuinely care about you. Their care and support can go a long way in helping you cope in such times.

Engage Yourself in Hobbies That Make you Happy

It may feel like life is at a standstill and nothing is moving forward, but you don’t have to be glued where you are. You don’t have to sit and wait for things to get better. Get back to things that you love doing for yourself. Find a hobby and do a little of it every day. It could be something as simple as growing plants, or learning a skill that you always wanted to learn. Engaging your mind somewhere will also help keep the negative thoughts away. Engaging your hands in making something, like crafts or crocheting can help with stress and anxiety because you divert your minds focus towards something else.

Connect with God

All through this time, make sure you don’t give up on your faith. Don’t allow yourself to develop any negative feelings or resentment bur rather, hold on stronger to hope. Keep praying for a better time and ask God to guide you, show you the way and keep you calm. Even if things don’t get better instantly, praying and staying connected to God does bring a certain calm that come whatever may, you are in safe hands of a higher power. If he has put you in it he will give you the strength to pull through it also.

I hope this helps anyone who is going through a tough phase.

Reflections

What Keeps you Grounded (When Nothing Seems to Work?)-Part 1

Every once in a while, we are struck with lightning, not literally but that is how it feels like. When everything is going smoothly and suddenly, it feels like it is all crumbling down? Nothing seems to work, the way you want it to or expected. The once I-have-it-under-control feeling that you felt, feels like slipping away. Nothing is in your control anymore.

Was it ever?

It’s okay. It’s normal. It happens to everyone. What really matters is how you tackle it. How do you slow down and tell yourself you aren’t failing but it’s just part of the process. Or things are just bumpy until the road ahead becomes smooth again.

When we feel we are in control of things, that’s when everything is going smoothly for us and we have no two thoughts about anything. We hardly stop to think or wonder, about the good things happening to us and we just enjoy it. We think it is our doing, our effort, our mind. It is only when things go astray, do we start complaining, wondering and thinking why it’s happening. Suddenly our efforts and hard work become meaningless because we are still putting all that in without any visible results.

That’s when we usually turn to God. It starts with asking for help, we feel angry, we question, and then we start begging. We talk to him and we try to find answers to our questions. I believe we do find our answers because He doesn’t leave us alone. When we remember that we come from Him and we will return to Him. When we remember that this world is a passing gateway to the next and everything happens for a reason, we tend to find calm in the storm and we tend to start finding solutions. I believe there is always a choice and no matter how hard something seems in this life, it won’t matter in the next, that is what our faith should be. Remembering God at each step, believing in His plan, doing our best and keeping our thoughts positive, can help anyone through a tough phase.

Any phase seems tough when we start to think this life IS IT. THIS IS IT. We think everything that happens here, is all that matters. However, if you can only remember that you are a traveler and nothing happening here, is THAT BIG or PROFOUND as compared to YOUR ULTIMATE DESTINATION and that you’re powerless in front of HIS DECISION, it makes living here, in this world, a tad bit easier.

Our lives are made up of a series of experiences and they all teach us something. We can learn from others experience but unless we go through something ourselves, we can’t understand the intensity and wisdom of something. Humans are beautiful and unique; we all process things differently, depending on our understanding and insight, and all our experiences-good or bad- help us grow in every way. So hang on, have faith, stay firm and stay strong in the face of adversity because God has promised help and guidance to all His believers.

Reflections

10 Things We Forget in the Competitive Rush of Life (But Should Always Remember)

Life – sometimes it runs us over and sometimes, we run it, or so we feel. The rush of life teaches us all many lessons, from our relevant perspectives. Some we understand, some we forget and some we just refuse outright.

10 life lessons to remember

I’ve realized over the course of my 28 year life, that some life lessons are evergreen and apply to us all, maybe even making life a bit easy for us, more accepting. Here they are:

1.Time Flies

Good times, bad times, stagnant phases, nothing ever stays the same and change is inevitable. It may be longer than sooner but if you always remember this, it will make the tough days pass easily and allow you to cherish the good ones.

2.No One Loves you More Than your Parents

You will find good people as you move on in life and find love in other relationships, but your parents are your first and foremost pillar of strength. No one will care for you as much as them. No one can love you as much as them and surely no one in this big wide world can want the best for you, MORE THAN THEM. So love them back and respect them. It will open doors for you, you might not even know about.

3.Education and Hard Work Never Go Wasted

Everything teaches you something. Your educational degree that you earned after so many pains, made you the person you are today. My friend often used to say, it’s not the end but the process that matters and I really agree with it. So respect your alma matter, no matter what and know that all the hard work that you put in your degree and later on in life, it will always benefit you in some way or the other.

4.Experience is Invaluable

Unless you do it yourself, with your own two hands, you will not learn. Someone else telling you how it’s done is nothing compared to your experience of doing it. Getting your hands dirty is going to really pay off in the long run, so never ever devalue experience. Don’t run after shortcuts and don’t rely on what others tell you. Experience it for yourself. Make your own reality and decisions, based on your choices.

5.The Good you Do Stays with you

If you think, it doesn’t matter to do good to people who have wronged you or those you don’t really know, remember that your good remains with you. When you do good to someone without expecting anything in return, God will pay it back in the most amazing ways. So be nice and do good to others whenever you can.

6.Patience Pays Off

How you react to situations really shapes your future. Sometimes in certain circumstances, when nothing is working out, the best thing to do is wait, and have firm faith in God.

7.Gratitude is the Best Attitude

Incorporate gratitude in your life. Be thankful for everything that is right and then you will see how everything wrong gets fixed!

8.Positive Mindset Leads to a Positive Life

Our mindset is everything. Always remember this no matter what. If you think you can do it, or go through it, overcome it, YOU CAN! There’s no need to listen to what others tell you, as long you believe it, it can happen!

9.Small Things ARE Actually the Big Things

Most often we run after the big things and in the process, forget to enjoy the little things. Small things matter and they make a big difference so always learn to find happiness in small things; you’ll feel more joyful when arriving at the big ones.

10.Self Love is Very Important

You are important. You matter. You come first. We often burn ourselves down for others, which is not healthy. Keep your mind healthy and focus on physical health too, in order to keep going. Take little breaks whenever needed to stay fresh.

Bonus:

11.Money is Not Everything, Just Something

Money, money, money, yes it is needed to pay for utilities,necessities and the luxuries but in this run for money, don’t forget that money isn’t everything, it’s just something. Our relationships, (family and friends) are more valuable than money and sometimes it’s okay to take a step back and re-analyze your actions. Take a break even!

Are there any other life lessons you’d like to add or any other thoughts you have? Please do comment below!

Relationships

5 Tips to Get your Way with Overprotective Parents

Raise your hand if you have overprotective parents- I have. All of us hailing from desi households can relate that overprotective parents can sometimes curb our growth only because they love us and want to protect us from the big bad world out there. Most of us, while growing up cannot understand this, and we think we are being restricted from doing things that we want to do.

How to get your way with overprotective parents
My face when my parents say “no”

Like I remember, in my home, me going somewhere on my own or being out after maghrib, even when I was in university was such a big deal and a straight no. Heck, even coming back from university on my own, using public transport was met with raised eyebrows. At that time I used to whine, and fight (sorry mum and dad) but now I understand why they were so. In my defense I strongly felt (and still feel) that I should be able to do things on my own because at some point I will have to, so why not be as well prepared for it as I can.

So here is me spilling some advice that I wish someone had given me back then on how to talk to my parents and gain a level of understanding to get what I wanted.

BUT FIRST,

Let me tell you that your parents are overprotective for your own good and sometimes they are right in doing so. Some of those restrictions do us well in disciplining us in the long run and instilling some good old values. Also, there is a time for everything and always remember apna time aega! haha. Okay seriously it will come.

NOW, back to the point

1.Talk with Respect

If you want your way with your parents, it’s extremely extremely important that you talk to them with respect no matter what. Don’t lose your calm, don’t get angry, don’t start screaming and worst, don’t barge into your room banging the door behind you. These behaviors actually prove your parents right, that you are not yet mature to be on your own.

2.Show Them you’re Responsible

Take every opportunity to show them that you are responsible. Don’t leave your phone behind when you are out. Carry some cash with you always. Don’t ignore their calls. If you commit a time of return to them, make sure you are back by then or if you’re late, tell them you will get late. Even when you are at home, be a responsible person of the house and take part in home chores. Keep your own room organized or help your mom keeping the home straight. It will all go in your favor.

3.Don’t Break their Trust

If your parents are not listening to you, or giving you permission for something that you want to do, it’s not the best idea to lie to them or cheat them about it. Truth never hides and sooner or later, when you are caught, it will be very hard to gain their trust again.

4.Take “Calculative” Risk

Whenever you can, take baby steps to show your parents that you are responsible and you can do things on your own. Take a friend along the first few times and make sure you return by dawn. This will help your parents see, that you can do it and maybe eventually understand. For instance, for me I always made sure I had a friend along and told them everything when I returned.

5.Have a Dialogue

When there’s absolutely something that you must do, on your own, and it’s beneficial for your growth and professional life ahead, then sit your parents down and explain things to them in a very practical way. If they see and understand your reason, eventually the will agree. Open dialogue often solves most problems.

So, I hope these tips help you make peace with your overprotected parents and help them also see how they may be hindering your growth.

Let me know if it helps in the comments below: