Thursday, January 23, 2014

Loved ones or acquaintances

Loved ones. Oh those very special people in one's life. They are the ones who make our world go round. The reason for our days being bright and sunny. Their presence brings laughter and mirth, love and security. The feeling they evoke is akin to a warm snug blanket on a harsh winter day.Loved ones are generally our family members -parents, siblings, spouse, off-springs, cousins, uncles and aunts.They are the people who we keep close to our hearts, their well-being is our prime concern, their opinions sway our decisions and above all their love and acceptance is one thing that we can count on at all times. It is this safety net that keeps pull-me-down feelings like loneliness and depression at bay and helps us stay positive.
Acquaintances. People who we know fleetingly. Contacts that we have acquired through singular or repeated interactions. We know very little about them and reveal next to nothing of our true selves to them. There are zero expectations of any form of emotional give and take between acquaintances. Only when the concerned individuals decide to enter into a relationship does the play of emotions come in. Then the potential of an acquaintance turning into a loved one arises.
Friends. People who may not be family and mean a lot more than acquaintances.They hold rites of passage to our hearts by virtue of how they make us feel - positively buoyant and effervescent. Our emotional well-being is linked to their very presence.They get included in our circle of near and dear ones.
We are all aware of and deal with these basic relationships.
So where is this post leading to?
Well, the point I wish to make is that all our relationships are in fact 'make-believe'.
We are all only acquaintances to each other.
Shocking! Depressing!
If one were to delve into the mechanics of relationships, one may perceive some truth in this thought.
Is it not true that one can never really know another person. For example- I may be married for 2 years,20 years or 50 years. But I will know of my spouse only that which he chooses to reveal. I will fill the gaps of my knowledge about him with my own impressions and stories, thus creating in my head, my version of him. He may in fact be a very different person and choose to go with the convenient perception. A mythical creature has thus been created!
Each one of us is prone to keeping secrets about ourselves from our near and dear ones. We may have several reasons for doing so, the topmost being 'insecurity'. "What if I tell him that I pee in the shower and he starts hating me", "What if I tell my mom that I hate the way she cooks pasta and she feels offended". The 'what ifs' going on in our heads lead us into keeping a lot of secrets in our closest relationships. We reveal only that which we are comfortable with the other person knowing. Make-believe!
I find it almost hilarious when people proclaim, "Of course I know what he is thinking. I have been living with him for the last 10 years". Or when media uses time spent together as a measure of the strength of a relationship. "The couple had been in an intimate relationship for 8 years". The underlying meaning being that just because they have been together for a seemingly long time, they know each other well. According to me, there is no 'knowing very well' in any relationship.One is constantly learning new truths about the people around us and there is no ceiling to the amount of time it takes to know another person.
The tenacity of all our relationships depends on abstract notions of trust and security. For example- I trust my loved ones to be there for me in any danger. But truth be told, I am not sure how my husband is going to behave in the case of an unforeseen emergency. Is he going to scurry for cover and save his skin or is he going to brave the bullets. Or how am I going to behave if my daughter were to be mobbed by a group of  marauding hooligans?  So what then is the basis for the qualities of trust and security that we project on our near and dear ones? Are we not snowing them down with our expectations out of them, making life a little unreal for them? Who is to tell!
All relationships are worlds of make-believe. Do we not hear of couples who are exceedingly happy with each other, planning on starting a family and then ending up in divorce. They were on the verge of creating a circle of love, trust and security. What if they had continued together, wouldn't their family life have had trust and love. And yet they divorced, they chose to take a completely opposite path! So what is the truth about them, about their relationship?
What is the truth about all relationships?
A whole wide web of make-believe!