Mani and I started our matrimonial journey in Feb 2008. Both of us come from totally different upbringing environments with a lot of differences in our perspectives. We have very few things in common. I am a very self-disciplined person in all walks of my life. He, on the other hand, is very easygoing and displays discipline as per his interests. I was a perfection freak and always wanted to get things done my way. I lacked the quality of easy acceptance and forgiveness. He has always lived in the present with no regrets or resentments.
The first few years were invested in understanding each other, trying to share our views, and bringing about common routines. With my self-discipline, I was physically fit but because of my acquired mindset and behavioral traits, I used to react to situations rather than respond. It created a lot of mental restlessness making me regret my performed actions. This cycle continued for a few years, and that is when the transformational journey started with a quest for inner peace or calmness. I should admit that the Universe rightly provided me with the information and experiences that were needed for my perspective shifts. The quest left me in a very receptive state, and I used to try and implement all the learnings and sharing that seemed logical and applicable to me.
I have now transformed from a physically healthy, mentally restless anxious personality to a holistic balanced personality experiencing dynamic tranquility most of the time. Marking our 15th anniversary, I am sharing the secrets in the form of learning/experience/perspective shift that led to this magical transformation. These secrets not only apply to marital relationships but can be applied to other relationships as well.
Secret #1 - The Wisdom In Imperfection
Perfectionism can kill relationships. I have experienced mental restlessness in my personal life post-marriage with my attitude of perfectionism. I was certainly successful but mostly not peaceful. I resonated with the wisdom of imperfection and understood that according to the basic law of the universe, nothing is perfect. One should seek beauty in things that are flawed and incomplete. This brought about the attitude to appreciate challenges and acknowledge the fact that being uncomfortable is an opportunity for growth and learning. We can aim for perfection but it should never be at the cost of our mental peace. Learn to be perfect with the knowledge that the results are never in our control.
Secret #2 - Practice "Titiksha"
Titiksha is a Sanskrit term that can be defined as endurance or forbearance to face all challenges in life. Titiksha does not mean suffering without resistance, it means forbearance, the ability to put up with unpleasant things without suffering internally. The nature of life is unpredictable and we have to accept this fact. We have to learn to accept situations that cannot be changed. Titiksha is acceptance of situations without resistance.
Understand that undesirable is an inevitable facet of life. Whatever needs correction set it right if possible. Else practice "titiksha" with the philosophical outlook that "Even this will pass away".
Understanding and practicing this quality gave me a better shock-absorbing capacity in dealing with unfavorable events in my life.
Secret #3 - Perform Actions With The Attitude Of "Attached Detachment"
The secret to achieving success and peace together or experiencing calmness in the midst of calamity is to perform the action with an attitude of attached detachment. We should learn to be attached to the action but detached from the results of the action.
Attachment to the action accounts for mindfulness and passion in action. Detachment from the results of the action helps the mind to be in the present without getting distracted by the worries of the past or the anxieties for the future. This practice helps us to perform actions with a full charge without leaving a place for unnecessary dissipations. This in turn helps to bring one's best at all times.
Many times, focusing on the result takes away the attitude to enjoy the beauty of the process. It would further create stress by not allowing us to do our best. So looking in terms of success or peace, I found the principles of karma yoga very effective and realized that when we adhere to these principles, both success and peace naturally come together provided our actions are coupled with pure intentions.
Secret #4 - Resonate With "Attitude Of Gratitude"
Practicing to lead every moment of my life with an “Attitude of Gratitude” bestowed contentment and happiness. Life is not a problem to be solved but an experience to be had. Understanding this, I started enjoying all my experiences without labeling them with dualities. As life is our best teacher, I started being thankful for all the teaching experiences. Gratitude can also be considered as “Vitamin G” for our mental wellness. It’s the attitude of gratitude that helps to bring happiness into our lives. It further unlocks the fullness of life and fills us with contentment and satisfaction. Gratitude bestows reverence, changing forever how we experience life and the world. Make it a habit to count on your blessings which opens the doors to happiness and abundance.
Secret #5 - Be Without Any Comparisons And Competitions
Don’t fall into the trap of comparisons and competition. This only adds up to mental restlessness and takes a toll on your peace of mind. Every person is unique and so is the relationship. Find out what works best for you and your partner. Clarity of thoughts coupled with purity of mind helps you to lead a happy and peaceful life. It took me a while to get into this understanding and mindset.
Secret #6 - Have Right And Reasonable Expectations
Have right and reasonable expectations. Most of the time I experienced disappointments from having wrong or unreasonable expectations. We cannot expect sweetness from salt. In the same way, understand the nature of a person and expect only what that person's nature can deliver. This is a very good reflection and practice that helped me many times from being disturbed or disappointed.
This also works well in our professional life.
Secret #7 - Resonate With The "Universal Law Of Belief"
The universal law of belief is “Believe and you shall receive”. Life doesn’t give us what we want, but rather what we intend with feeling - whether that intention lies at a conscious or unconscious level of awareness. Before having an awareness of the universal laws of nature, I used to crib if the situations did not go my way. As a result, I always got into more situations that made me crib. After experimenting with the universal law of belief through optimism, I seldom got to crib over the situations.
Affirmations and visualization techniques are used to unleash the power of the subconscious mind which works based on this universal law of belief.
Secret #8 - Be The Master Of Your Mind
Understanding the mind game, I started being mentally strong and emotionally intelligent. I understood that emotions are human instincts but I need not be emotional. Instead, I can choose to be emotionally regulated. Awareness is the key to emotional regulation. Started off with mindfulness in actions and choosing single-tasking over multitasking when possible. Clearly understanding the difference between emotions and feelings and the empowerment we have in choosing our feelings, I displayed mindfulness in selection. Deep breathing, Cognitive reappraisal (pratipaksha-bhavanam), and force smiling are a few techniques that I use for my emotional regulation.
With this, I shifted from reactiveness to responsiveness. Earlier I used to be a slave of some emotions such as anger and disgust, but now I am practicing the art of using emotions as a tool in a toolkit. This practice helps me to use all kinds of emotions when needed without disturbing me internally. Once you understand your mind and make it your friend, you will develop the capability of converting most of your breakdowns into breakthroughs.
Thanks to my emotional Intelligence coach certification journey and for helping me with more practical insights into the emotional regulation aspects.
Secret #9 - Life Is The Best Teacher.
Life is a great teacher. As students of life, we cannot get promoted to the next level, until we learn through our experiences, implement it and stabilize with the learning. If you do not learn a lesson, it would repeat itself all over again. It will never leave you untaught. I have experienced this phase many times in my transformational journey. Life is a roller coaster and life experiences are never smooth. You can’t control it but can choose to enjoy it. Consider every experience as a lesson.
Secret #10 - Communicate - Talk - Resolve
Do not be angry or upset for too long. Always communicate and resolve your issues. Carrying negative emotions brings down our vibrational frequencies and tends to decrease our positivity. Lingering for a long time on negative emotions becomes toxic to overall health as well as relationship.
Secret #11 - Agree To disagree
Agree to disagree but always share your point of view. All of us are unique in our perceptions and experiences. So, there are possibilities of conflicting opinions. In such situations, it’s better to share your perspective and the reasoning for the disagreement. Shifting the perspective from right or wrong to the universal law of cause and effect made my life more logical, and meaningful and at the same time helped me to witness magical experiences.
Secret #12 - Understand The Spouse's Love Language
It is very important to learn and understand the spouse’s love language. It makes it easier to communicate and convey things in the desired way.
Thanks to the Pick a Book Club Singapore for introducing me to this book "The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman". This book was certainly an eye-opener to grasp this understanding. This is a very important aspect to be considered. Most of the time we think we are trying to express ourselves through our words and actions and expect that the other person should get the right meaning out of it. But this happens only if the other person also speaks the same language. Can a person who knows only the German language understand your verbal expression of "I Love You" in the Chinese language?
If you are curious to know your / your partner's love language take the test.
Secret #13 - Moderation Is The Key
Too much good can also turn toxic. There are a lot of saying relating to this in various languages. They all emphasize the point about moderation and balance. This applies to all aspects of life.
I have tried out many positive extremes in terms of food habits and lifestyle changes but they did not sustain for a long time and sometimes created more restlessness. Then I shifted to practicing moderation and realized that moderation led to more sustainability. Let's reflect on this and try to be moderate in all walks of our life to strike a better mental balance and good physical health.
Secret #14 - Marriage Perspective
"A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple
learns to enjoy their differences.” – Dave Meurer
I understood that marriage is a relationship between two people on a transformational journey. Each individual is on their journey to creating experiences for growth and spiritual evolution. This understanding helped me to treat my better half with mutual respect, love, and care.
Marriage is an unconditional commitment to spend the rest of your life with an imperfect person who is yet loving and caring.
Secret #15 - Happiness Is A Choice
Happiness is a state of mind. My mental wellness routines encompassing the practices of gratitude, appreciation, forgiveness, optimism, mental housekeeping, and deep breathing made me happy. Ultimately, I am happy because I choose to be happy. Happiness is a choice and we are all empowered to choose.
To summarize, all the secrets are available at everyone's disposal. Knowing the secrets would not bring any change in one's experience. As Anton Chekhov rightly says "Knowledge is of no use when it's not put into practice". Once we receive the knowledge, we need to reflect on the same and then start experimenting to experience the outcome. Once we start to experience the change, the knowledge transforms into wisdom. My positive transformation was the result of the application of the acquired knowledge in all ways possible.
Thank you, Mani, for being instrumental in my transformational journey rendering love, care, and support. "You Will Forever Be My Always." Gratitude to each and every one in my life who gave me experiences to unlock the doors for my positive transformation.
Author: Abitha Venkataraman Proofing & Editing: Harini Balaji
Books / References that shaped my perspectives :
Shrimad Bhagavad Gita
The Power Of Subconscious Mind - Joseph Murphy
Self Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion - Emile Coue
The Power of Positive Thinking - Norman Vincent Peale
5 Love Languages - Gary Chapman
The Soul Purpose - Sirshree
Molecules Of Emotions - Candace B. Pert
Ikigai - Hector Garcia & Francesc Miralles
Patanjali Yoga Sutras
The Optimism Advantage - Terry L Paulson