IntroductionPicture this situation. You had lived in a joint family for a number of years. You were always used to making any number of small adjustments to create happiness in whatever you do or what others in the household would do. Dinnertime was the best time to crack jokes, share experiences at work and, in general, everything was so smooth. There were many people who would volunteer to do work and this worked during all times. The financial crisis never occurred as resources were pooled. Relationships between human beings were always mutually beneficial and meaningful.
However, since your brothers now live in different cities and you are yourself based at Hyderabad, you are badly disturbed. You were able to get across to your old classmates who were married and settled at Hyderabad. You would talk among themselves, and this idea of staying in one apartment complex is accepted by three of your classmates. They also move in and one of them goes on to purchase the apartment that was rented out to him. Three of you still live in rented apartments in the same complex. Since one of the ladies is a housewife, she happily agrees to chip in to do all bank-related work, buy groceries for all the four families and so on. The weekends are always fun as it is a common lunch with fun all around.
Scenarios such as the above are common in some movies. But they are common in life too. It has happened to one of the four persons in the aforesaid experience. That person is known intimately to the author and when they gather together for any wedding at Chennai, it is a treat to be amongst them. The best of jokes, the best of real caring and sharing would take place. Such relationships correspond to what is called the "Iam ok, you are ok" life position in the advanced applied behavioural science subject called Transactional Analysis.
From several such experiences it does become clear that working towards such mutually beneficial and meaningful relationships based on the life position of "I am ok, you are ok" is possible if and only if a) A climate of give and take prevails at any time b) Nullify all possibilities of the other three life positions c) Empty mind of all negative thoughts d) Work towards harmony as a way of life and e) Get everyone to think alike.
A climate of give and take prevails at any timeThe aforesaid real-life story from Hyderabad, was largely made possible by one person who had the tremendous influence of a joint family at Pollachi, a small but beautiful town near Coimbatore.
Even one person can make a difference. He had taken pains to ensure that all four friends stay together. Fortunately, the wives also co-operated even if three of them were employed. Since there was a good amount of give and talk and frank talking among all the four families, the relationships naturally took a positive turn at any point in time.
Nullify all possibilities of the other three life positionsThe other three life positions are am not ok you are ok, I am ok, you are not ok and am not ok, you are not ok.
In the first life position, that is am not ok you are ok, the individual starts believing that others are fine but he is not. Life's bad experiences have had an influence on him. Failure in an examination, in a relationship concerning his or her boy or girlfriend and so on. In the second life position, I am ok you are not ok, the individual is caught up in ego tantrums. If it is the boss, normally the entire atmosphere becomes very tense. Most employees tend to slip into the "Am not ok, you are ok" life position. The fourth life position, that is, I am ok you are not ok" is extremely negative. This is one situation where the person starts thinking that nothing is possible and that given the negatives in any situation, nothing will ever change. Hence, it is relevant to nullify all these possibilities.
It is a gigantic task. It is not an easy one. There are so many complexities and it does take time. However, if the individual is able to make a difference, life will become that much easier. For instance, making people also become assertive and not aggressive would nullify any chance of "Am not ok, you are okay" life position. Though the four aforesaid friends worked in different organizations in Hyderabad, their exchanges had a great amount of sharing that gave them the emotional space for free and frank discussion and this would tend to include their positive experiences or experiences of others. This kind of sharing is always useful. The emotional ecosystem is very good. You should also make sincere attempts to get this done.
Empty mind of all negative thoughtsYes. We can take it for granted that this is never too easy. Talking philosophies is one thing. But life is never milk and honey. Yet, you have to do it. You have to compulsorily empty your mind of all negative thoughts. Think of God or some other spiritual Guru, whom you admire. It could be anyone. However, by just concentrating on the teachings that are readily available through videos can help a great deal.
Today, the scope of doing something creative is eminently possible in India. There are a number of good things that one can do. Interest in environmental issues is one thing. The second is to take part in some activity that directly helps the poor. Once these things are done, the negativity goes.
Work towards harmony as a way of lifeJealousy. Hatred. Back-biting and petty politics. We see all this in families. Often such negative thoughts are reinforced through the negative television serials. Try to stay away from all such negative influences. There are too many possibilities in a positive direction. We can always go ahead with life in a positive direction if we start believing that building healthy relationships at any point in time. Similarly, when we start believing that it is possible to influence others in a positive direction, we will always find one way or the other.
When you have all positive thoughts firmly entrenched in your mind and develop a habit of getting a good number of people around you to have such similar thoughts, things around you start happening in a very positive way. Those with negative thoughts or life positions will be easily nullified. If you are the boss, start developing people in a positive direction, regularly start developing each subordinate and relate to him personally. Similarly, spread humor and a lot of hope by reaching out to many people at any point in time. These small things will go a long way in making life that much happier and optimistic as well.
Get everyone to think alikeThe more we do this, the more we will make positive moves towards getting the "I am ok, you are ok" life position emerge more stronger and more fuller at any point in time. The exact methods of doing this will vary from time to time, depending on the situation. However, when we start making efforts, we will be able to see some better results at any stage. After all, life is a constant learning process. In human relationships, this is a continuous process. The more we are able to anchor our learning in the context of positive experiences, the better it will be for our lives and our ourselves on a personal note.
Some useful lessons can be learned from joint families. They would have had a tremendous amount of common sense that would have been combined with what we commonly call native intelligence. Just try to talk to the elders. Their rich experience will stand you in good stead.
ConclusionHuman relationships are always complex. Working towards mutually beneficial and meaningful relationships in life is never too easy. However, it is not impossible either. The aforesaid discussion is a collection of many ideas based on some real-world experiences.
It is a positive approach given by the author about the so-called 'I am ok, you are ok' life position. It is true that nowadays everyone is living in his or her family, far from parents, siblings, etc. It can be due to work, better facilities, misunderstanding among members or for privacy. Everyone wants to get nuclear and have become so selfish that they want to be for themselves and their children. Sharing, caring and loving our old parents, elders and relatives have taken a back seat.
Reading such articles provides us with a positive note that if people want, they can even manage such sharing of buildings, villas or responsibilities which not only help them to share but also provides care, security and relaxation. When we form a group and share work, responsibility and care, we ourselves feel relaxed, secure, wanted and approachable.
Sir, the experiences are not very common. It is but natural that we often see the "am not ok, you are not ok" life position being played out in the external environment. Take politics for example. The atmosphere of distrust and total hatred among parties only reinforces this life position.
When we see such massive negativity around us, it is but natural that we also tend to become negative and demotivated. Instances such as the one quoted above at Hyderabad, which is simply superb for human relationships are rare, but they happen. And this is the only way to be happy in today's conditions. Take good. After we have had our food, don't we long for other things? Like relating to people? Don't we look out to caring and sharing experiences?
Once we understand this basic fact, everything will fall in place. Life will become more meaningful and pleasant. In my personal experience, I have seen this ideal situation in so many families in Kerala. Let us emulate such experiences.
These days we are converting into nuclear families and this is becoming a problem for children. They are not able to understand the relationship with the brothers and sisters of their parents. But because of the lifestyles and problems we are facing, we are not able to stay together.
But if luckily we are meeting some good friends and we are able to develop intimacy with them, and as mentioned by the author, if we happen to stay together in a complex, we can help each other and we all will have sufficient time. But if somebody is trying to use the other for their benefit then we can't sustain.
To make life enjoyable with all the existing constraints, one should go a step ahead in understanding the surroundings and the neighbours residing in our proximity. Showing that there is a concern for one's well being will automatically strengthen the relationship of two hearts. A little effort towards showing a good gesture could offer the chances of the other party to come closer and such a mutual relationship would always be beneficial in terms of our mental health. The prevalent negativity in the human relationship is due to mistrust and not paying heed to the agonies of other parties. Hence we should shed our mistrust and an opportunity has to be created which could eliminate our doubts and apprehension towards others.
The author has provided numerous tips which if adopted would certainly be beneficial in developing a meaningful relationship.