In my previous post I had said that how we make our lives miserable with our pre-conceived ideas. I share some real life happenings on this issue.
Gopals are our family friends. They live few houses away. Mrs Gopal and my wife exchange a lot of notes. One day I heard her telling my wife that daughters in law always look how to spoil peaceful atmosphere at home. Their only son was married a few months ago to, let us say K. This seemed a very generalized preconceived idea. She said that K was always doing things to annoy her, K insisted on going out frequently with her husband. She helped in household work as she pleased and not what Mrs Gopal wanted. She did not have much time in the morning as she had to go to office and on return she felt tired. On week ends she wanted to go out with her husband. She seemed quite agitated on this. This kind of talk went on and on for sometime. I thought of asking her to remember her newly married time and compare it with today as well as why does she not have a heart to heart talk with K to tell her what she desires. But I desisted as it would make her feel that we are against her. I had met K few times and found her to be intelligent and sensible girl. We had developed a nice rapport as uncle and niece. So I thought why not to hear her side too. A couple of days later K had come to our house for something. I called her aside and asked her how things were going. She was initially hesitant but on seeing my seriousness she opened up. She confided that she was at a loss to understand why Mrs Gopal was always cross at her. She stated that she wanted to be a responsible member of family but found it difficult due to being denied proper guidance and her initiatives were snubed by her mother in law. This she said made her frustrated which in turn caused friction with her husband. I am sure you all will agree with me here that due to preconceived ideas Mrs Gopal not only made her life miserable but that of her son and K too. I advised K to speak to her mother in law at a suitable time telling her that she is the one who is her role model and would like to learn a lot from her so as to make a model happy family. I also told her to tell her difficulties as a working girl vis-à-vis home chores. I told her to choose her own time and words. She understood and agreed. A few days later she told me that she had spoken to her mother in law and was astonished at the misconceptions Mrs Gopal had about her. She thanked me that all misunderstandings were resolved. A fortnight or so later I overheard Mrs Gopal praising K to my wife.
The other incident is of a company where I worked. Though I was GM but I had an open approach with my office mates. A lot of persons from other departments used to speak to me about their woes. One such person, let us say B, was convinced that his boss did not like him and was making his life miserable. On my cajoling he said that he kept getting all the difficult tasks and hardly had any breathing space. Even on holidays he was called to office to do something or the other which was said to be important and urgent. He seemed to be at break down point. On my asking if he had ever spoken to his boss on this, he said that knowing him it was just impossible. I knew his boss to be a task master but was good at heart. However he hardly praised anyone from his staff. We had a tradition that in rotation we used to have cup of coffee or tea with other department heads and discuss company matters in general. In one such meeting with his boss, I asked him in casual way as to whom did he trust most in his department. Without even a fraction of second’s hesitation he named B. I asked him had he ever given pat to B for this. On his negative reply I told him that such an act would go a long way in boosting morale of his staff. In a couple of days I saw B moving about very relaxed with smile on his face. He told me that he never imagined that his boss depended on him so much.
What I wanted to bring out was that one should never have preconceived ideas and if there is any difficulty one should have open frank two way communication with concerned person.