Understanding relationship is a massive task and it is a really daring attempt on anyone’s part to explain this complex phenomenon. But yes, with half a lifetime already over and more than two & half decades of experiential learning in the professional world of service industry, constantly relating to customers, public, peers, superiors and subordinates, I have developed certain insights, that I would like to share . Pl Check out .. if you also feel the same way !
As I understand, the essence of any relationship is captured by three Ts :
All three 3 ingredients in abundant measure go into the recipe of any vibrant relationship !!
And just like a Tripod, any healthy relationship rests on these three Ts . Dare loosen any one T ( one leg !) and see what you have done to the balance !!
Quite interesting. I was trying to take examples from all – literally all spheres of life - to see if this pattern fits . Lo.o. – it does !!
How ? Please reflect .
Trust – I am sure, it does not really need any elaboration. It is that mindset which believes that every human being is innately good and that every human being has unlimited potential. No trust and all relations, personal or professional or social, would crumble even before these get to stand on their own .
The basic foundation of any relationship has to be Trust. No relationship – not even the most basic and irreversible relation , i.e. biological parent & child – can thrive if the element of “trust ” is missing between them. Think about any relationship – between the spouses, between parent & child, between brothers & sisters, between friends, between a customer and a company, between an employee and the employer, between a teacher and a student etc.etc. In each case , either party must trust the other for a healthy relationship .
Frankly, I don’t know how to define what trust is. One can only know it intuitively – whether it is there ; whether it isn’t there .
Do you “see” horns on both sides of someone’s head as u talk to each other ? If yes, there is lack of trust in your relationship. Ha, ha, that was in a lighter vein – but it does captures a large bit of what happens when trust is not there – you start suspecting the other – you stop relying on the other’s words – you stop opening yourself before the other.
Trust is much more than absence of distrust. But yes ! absence of distrust could be the starting point for trust in many relations.
At a personal level, trust comes out of a strong belief in the innate goodness of human beings, so that you place yourself in the vulnerable position of relying on others and letting them know your feelings, emotions and other sensitive details having full confidence in them that they would respect you and not take unfair advantage of you. Trust also means that you have faith in other’s unlimited capabilities .It captures a mindset that believes
- others are also essentially good and will treat you in a fair, open, and honest way
- that intrinsically,every human being is trustworthy and need to be trusted until the other proves to be unworthy of your trust.
- That if you are able to let others into your life with trust, you also will be trusted .
Naturally, relationships based on trust on both sides would have more of mutual understanding, respect, care and concern and would foster growth of both individuals.
Think as a parent . If you trust your child, you would automatically know when to stop protecting and start supporting ; stop instructing and start guiding and let your child be instead of being imposing !!
In an organisational context also, trust is a key dimension in fostering business relations . Customers must have trust in the supplier’s competence and honesty in the sense that the organisation will deliver goods and services as promised/advertised, will not disclose private customer information. Similarly, sellers must trust that the buyer is able to pay for goods or services and is authorised to make purchases on behalf of an organisation as per the laws of the land and bye-laws of the buying company.
Crux of the matter - Trust others and be Trustworthy yourself.
A win win situation!!. It is said, life is an echo – whatever you give, comes back to you eventually .
Talk - You need to constantly talk to – communicate with the others in any relationship. One of the surest death traps for any relationship could be lack of communication. When I say talk , it means talk – not tell . In tell , you only do the talkings – unilaterally. In talk , both sides tell and both sides listen . Further, when I say talk – I also mean you need to express your feelings – not only to make your needs and expectations clear, but also to give/get feedback, or just to reiterate your trust, love and respect. As is often said .. even your near and dear ones need to be told once in a while that you care for them.
Knowingly or unknowingly, we usually create many barriers to communication in every walk of life - which is very natural and it happens to all of us as we grow older and older – preoccupied with our own work, own thoughts and beliefs, likes and dislikes. But unless we are quick to sense these barriers and do something about these, these will only grow bigger and bigger, creating a gulf which may prove to be extremely difficult to cover at a later stage. It really takes a strong will and constant conscious efforts to break these barriers as soon as they start showing up , as very often, our ego gets better of us in such situations. This is true for relationships at all levels – personal, professional and social . Stop talking and see what mess you have made of everything in your life !!
Touch - With trust and talk , you are sure to have saved your relationships. But what about that spark – that something extra in any relation ? That which continuously renews , reinvents a relationship !! Yes, some relationships do require “touch” in a physical sense ( jadu ki jhappi !! just like a baby needs to be cuddled, a child needs to be hugged ! ) – but all relationships require “touch” at an emotional level – when you strike a cord in some corner of the other’s heart. At a personal level, do things in small ways to reaffirm that you love, you care , you are there for them !! At an organisational level, it means walking that extra mile in the interest of the customers, the organisation, the fraternity.
While I talk of these 3 Ts which form the basic tenets of any relationship, I am also tempted to say a few more things about understanding relationship .
Lao-Tzu once said “ He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened."
Yes , it is the ultimate to know one’s own self. Apparently, all of us, most of the time remain in the illusion that we know ourselves pretty well – but usually that is not true.
Catch yourself unexpectedly - especially when you are going through something externally adverse for you – Sit quietly for a few minutes – Visualise that you have stepped aside ( out of your self ) & watch your thoughts/emotions. You would know what exactly I am trying to convey!! On many such moments, what I have encountered is a new “me”, who is not at peace with the “me” I usually know. But, yes – this is actually the defining moment – when I start seeing things clearly, start knowing my deeper self in a better fashion, start understanding the ‘why’s and what actually I would like it to be in alignment with my inner self and values . And then it really becomes so easy to shrug off any dirt that I might have rubbed on .. unintentionally, unknowingly. It is at this level of consciousness that one really appreciates that our external relationships and our internal relationships are in fact the same relationships. It starts making sense to believe that the relationships we have with other people are projections of the relationships we have within ourselves.
Remember the story of the stranger and the three villagers ?
Once a stranger was trying to reach a village, which he did not know earlier . On the way, he met a person and asked “ Do you know the way to xxx village ? ” “ Yes – go this way .” The stranger again asked , “ How are the people of this village ? ” “ Oh, they are really dangerous . You are a stranger - Be careful of your belongings , lest someone steals them.” The stranger got a little apprehensive and looked into the eyes of the person “ Is it so ??” He felt a certain discomfort when he looked into his eyes. The man passed by. He was actually a thief. All his relationships are governed by distrust , because he himself is not trustworthy. After covering some distance, he came across another person and asked the same questions . He showed him the way and said “The villagers are good, but lazy people .” The stranger felt a little reassured. This villager was a lazy, happy-go type person. The stranger covered some more distance and came across another man, with beard and matted hair, with an aura of composure about him. When asked about the villagers, he said “ Oh, they are extremely nice people, very hospitable and loving. You will have no problem whatsoever staying in that village and doing whatever you have come for .” And he passed by. He was actually a sadhu, a monk – living on the alms given by the villagers .
Got the point ?
Whatever you are inside , you would find that in abundance in others !!
Have you not experienced similar situations , where two people look at the same thing and attribute different qualities, different interpretation to that ? That happens – because the lense they use for looking at things/people are different based on their own perceptions and beliefs – which are the outcome of the realtionships they have within, which, in turn, govern their external relationships.
Recall how you reacted immediately on hurting yourself against a stone lying mid-way on your path? Anger ( Who the hell has thrown this stone mid-way like a fool ?) -externally directed towards another ( unknown) person, who, you perceive as the culprit. Actually, the fact is that you are angry with yourself ( how could I walk on the road like a blind man and hurt myself ?) Cool down a bit – and you would know that actually it was your own self that you were angry with and that you will only hurt yourself further if you clutch on to anger. Rather , what you should be doing is to get the stone out of the road – by yourself if possible or with others’ help if available – or do something so that the next passer-by does not hurt himself like you . If you can actually do any of the above positive actions, you will start feeling nice , as your behaviour in the incident would be in alignment with your good self – and this will positively nourish your relationship with self .
So.. understanding self …, in effect, would mean understanding our relationships with self and with others .
At a worldly level, every desired outcome requires some relationship – either with self or with others – to be nurtured in a desired manner. For a human being, everything ultimately matters in the context of relationship. If you are happy doing certain things, necessarily these are the things which are also nurturing or nourishing your relationship with self or others in your personal, professional or social life.
I feel happy when I sing. But would I be happy singing , if, say, a dear one has just passed away and lying dead nearby ?
I like booking business for my organisation – but would I be happy if , in the process, I actually harm customer interests or for that matter find that in the long run, these do not turn out to be quality business ?
Obviously No . It is when everything we do, everything that we seek to achieve manifests itself in terms of better relationships, that the desired outcomes flow and we become truly happy.
S.o….., next time we take a relationship for granted …. let us pause a bit and reflect !!