Sunday, April 22, 2012

Choosing your problems wisely

My neighbour has always been using me as a convenient peg to hang all his problems. Not a day passed without him approaching me to discuss some of his concerns. He would say “My wife and my mother are not getting on well, as you know. It is always petty things like what meal to cook,, when my wife will take mom to her cousin’s house or when she will find the time to mend her new sari that was torn by the maid. My wife has no patience stressed as she is in the mornings. What could be tackled smoothly turns into exchange of words, bitter fight, and inevitable crying. Tell me, Partha, what should I do?”

Rather than curtly saying that this is a matter best resolved by the concerned within his house, I give a patient hearing to his woes. He would then tell me that it was getting late for his office and that I should meanwhile think of a solution. Having shifted his burden on me he would go his way light in heart. I try to catch up the 45 minutes lost of my precious morning and get stressed doing things hurriedly. I have no time for answering my wife patiently on an urgent issue that had cropped up. She would get upset very rightly as I rush to the office without listening to her. It was all because of my foolishness in trying to solve somebody’s problem.

The moment neighbour’s wife and his mother come to know of my participation in their tussle, they too make a demand on my time in the evening. My wife is resentful that I get time to give a patient ear to others and not to her. This manifests itself in ever so many disconcerting ways that a wife alone can do.

The moral is that we need not always be ready to listen to others troubles simply for the reason they come to you. If we refuse politely and tactfully to take their difficulties on our shoulders, they would go to someone else who is willing. When we are short of time in the mornings we do not have to answer every sales man who rings the bell or answer the phone without seeing the caller ID or respond to an invitation for a chat while at computer. By answering the phone or responding to chat, we become willing victims especially when we are pressed for time. Undue politeness is no virtue. It is also not a sign of rudeness for us to say we are busy when we are really so.

There would always be others problems thrown at us all the time if we are suckers. Passing problems to others is a staple of human nature. Once we understand this trait we can make our relations with others easier. We can make sure that they don't pass on their problems to us without our permission. The trouble is that we tend to think high of ourselves if someone approaches us for help with a problem. It flatters us and satisfies our ego making us swallow the dangling bait. In most cases we are tricked into issues totally unrelated to us. Saying a polite no without hurting others sentiments is no incivility but a key to stress-free life. .In genuine cases one should go all out to be helpful even if personally inconvenient. The advice to ward off all kinds of problems tossed towards us by others in home or office is no prescription for becoming insular, getting disinterested in others or being discourteous but to choose the problems thrown at us wisely on their merits and relevance. If we develop this ability, we may find that we are able to remain cool and relaxed, enjoying our life with family undisturbed by habitual problem throwers.


12 comments:

  1. When a friend or neighbour comes with a problem...he probably needs a listening ear that is all...even though he says please look out for a solution for my problem. So when I listen to a friend's problem it does not mean I put my problems or neglect my dear ones and give priority to the other person's problem. Of course we could gently request them to vent out their issues at a time convenient for us.

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  2. Sharing problems, seeking solutions are all but common, what matters is the right place and time. if I have a problem & seek a solution, i would do so after gauging the predicament of the listener, not just offload. As a listener too, we shd be able to identify the importance.

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  3. well said ! you have an interesting space here too.
    Tasty Appetite

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  4. Partha sir, here I beg to differ a little..if someone comes to me with any problem, I would like to listen to that, because may be he doesnt need a solution, just sharing it with me can make him feel better, and this I feel is humanity..we cant say that we are busy when someone is ina problem, we have to find time..its our moral duty...But yes if inspite of giving time.he cant find a solution, we can just stop it..

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  5. We can't take others' share of pain but our loving words can help others get new vitality to face the problems and sorrows boldly.

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  6. Namaste....
    In everything we have a choice, we choose to listen, to engage, to answer/respond or not to do either of those things. One lessons I have learnt is to always consider onself in the midst of whatever is happening. If you truly have the time to engage then you can choose to or not. At times you simply greet them extend your regrets and keep it moving.

    Take care....
    rhapsody

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  7. Very Beautifully said.........there are times when i too become a agony aunt and i dont know how to escape out of it...not because i dun want to help them but there is a time constraint......Thoughtful!!!

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  8. you have a nice space...New to your space...visit mine sometime at http://megdeliciousadventures.blogspot.in/

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  9. true.. some issues should be sorted out within the four walls of the house with the spouse, or the family to that matter of fact. rather than someone outside the family..

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  10. I have always listened to other people if they have a problem to discuss with me even if it may not directly concern me. I try to give useful suggestions and then leave it at that. It is more of 'listening' that another person wants from us than an actual solution.

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  11. Simply stated.... we just should learn to say 'No' sometimes.. but politely with grace. NO is a good word because when used in a smart and wise way it can bring order into our lives, improve relationships, enhance careers, and other things more which lend sustainable interest and attention to activities deemed as essential priorities.

    I enjoyed reading this post. Thank you for sharing.

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