“But why can’t he understand what I am going through!” said the wife, in tears, as we were having tea in the verandah. Around the same time the husband told Arun, my best friend for life, “If only she could see things from my perspective!” Our friends were going through a rough patch and were considering a separation. The four of us go back a long way, and we had invited them over for dinner in the hope to ease things. They trusted us and we loved them, and I wanted to help find some ease.
The dinner was pleasant enough. The conversation, when all four of us were together, polite enough – but the undercurrents of distress, distrust and despair hung like a heavy cloud. It pained me to watch two people I loved go through this – especially because both are fantastic, extremely intelligent, doing very well in their respective fields people.
Arun somehow has this capability of taking everything in his stride and was happily talking about the food, as we retired for the day after bidding them goodbye, but I was not at ease. I simply could not fathom why two such beautiful people had been brought to a brink like this. Seeing me fretting, Arun just smiled and said, “It’s so simple. And yet, it’s not simple!” I watched Arun. He said, “Everyone believes they are right. If they only allowed the other to be right too, things wouldn’t be as messed up. Everyone has a right, to their right.” He yawned and fell asleep.
I was churned. I started pacing around. How true! The wife was completely convinced about her point of view, and the husband his. In so many ways, their perspectives were born from their backgrounds, experiences and both were right. For a girl born in an affluent home, spending the way she did, didn’t seem wrong. Wanting a good lifestyle, seemed reasonable. For the husband who had risen the tough way, from a lower middle-class family, everything seemed extravagant and superficial. Both were right.
I realized, sometimes in relationships we reach a point where all that matters is to prove ourselves right. In fact, if you close your eyes and introspect, I am sure you can think of one such relationship. I could. I suddenly thought of everything from the other persons perspective, and it was like a bell going off in my head. The person whom I had believed was so wrong, with a shift in perspective (as I gave her, her right to be right) seemed completely justified.
People we see as criminals, grew up in homes where abuse was the norm. People we see as nasty, had nasty backgrounds. People we see as benevolent, saw benevolence as a trait in their homes or somehow realized it’s the way to be. Each person has their own right, to be right.
I realized; it wasn’t big conflicts that the world was fighting – but the small ones. Of holding onto their right so strong, and so long, that at a point they even lose focus of what actually mattered: the bliss of love in the relationship. If we could just allow ourselves to be right, and the other too, and find mid grounds – possibly, relationships would feel a lot easier. Even pleasurable! If even one of the two is willing to put love above their need to be right, so much would become possible.
I finally felt at ease… I wasn’t sure how much my friends would listen, and act upon. But the insight blossomed a smile upon my lips as I slept, knowing I would be a lot more tolerant to the other’s right. After all, everyone has a right, to their right.