Not to be taken for granted.

Today I was reflecting deeply about the way we take things for granted. We cannot take this planet for granted (thanks DiCaprio!), we cannot people around us for granted, we cannot take our beloved ones for granted. Even the ones who have sacrificed a lot of things and have toiled for us - we cannot take them for granted.

Just like everything else in my life, I found myself at the centre stage of this debate. I was torn apart between these two conflicting notions. The conflict was primarily about accepting favours from people I love. I have long realised that every offer comes with a tag attached. But due to some reasons, I was forced into believing that certain relations are out of this thumb rule - that relationships could be selfless.

Unfortunate enough, I am disappointed; I am proven wrong once again.

The major confusion was that if I should be accepting favours from people who are believed to be close to my heart. Not that they are really close, but at least closer than the rest of humanity.

I wholly own the person that I am, I embrace the fact that not everyone can be in terms with the me. Even I have my own compatibility issues with myself. I believe that I have reached a state of emotional stability where if someone is mad at me, I could brush them aside and move on easily.

But the problem is with the people on the other side of the isle. The ones who managed to get past all the guards and now occupy a place close to me. In some cases, these are the people for whom I have voluntarily downed by guards so that they could walk in smoothly.

I cannot ignore them. I have to be in touch with them. I have to reach out to them. I do get chances to assist them at times and it comes naturally to me to do whatever I can. And that exactly is the problem.

A lot of visceral reactions are at work to decide if I will swing into action or just lazy around about it. I really don’t understand it. But one thing I can make out is that if I chose to get involved, I get emotionally attached to it and find it really hard to leave unless I have a fix for the problem at hand.

Now the dilemma is that what is it that I should be doing when someone offers to help me? Should I be accepting it from them?

The main problem is that I almost never consider the amount of hardships they have undergone for me when making a decision on helping a person or not. I don’t keep a ledger of all the goodwill received in this life.

If I can feel the love inside my rib cage, I end up helping them. If I can’t, I become as elusive as an eel. Sure enough, nobody gets anything done.

So I decided to get it tested today. I ran a small experiment. The results are anecdotal, but I do believe that it contributes toward the inferences I would be making at the end of the day.

I have this friend whom I help a lot whenever she is in trouble. Being close friends, she would call me up when she needs to get something done. If I was the one in need, I wouldn’t hesitate to call her as well. So she comes up to me today to get a very small thing done.

What she needed to get done was very much trivial to me. I could have completed the task easily. But I denied. I refused to help her. She texted in the morning, hoping to get it done by afternoon. And when she found that I wouldn’t help her, she became mad at me.

Now this is something I could easily pass, but that got me thinking. On why would she scream at me for not attaching any significance to her request? Why would she swear at me for refusing to help her?

I started to think. The more I thought about it, the more it became clear. I couldn’t help but notice that the more you help someone out of your love or affection, they more they start taking you for granted.

The person may not be intending to do so. She may even be unaware of the fact that she is taking you for granted. It doesn’t happen all of a sudden either, it is a natural progression of things. Do we care about the oxygen that we breathe in every second? No. Think about the moment we are cut off from its supply. It becomes the most important part of our lives. We won’t be able to live without it.

The way we are stand for our beloveds is strikingly similar. I never thought I would be taken for granted by anyone. I never thought someone would simply assume that I will be there with them even if they never gave anything in return.

More than my personal feelings, I realised that it is one easiest way to ruin a relationship. To help the other person irrationally, to pamper them. I use the word irrational because a rational path favour frugality. Excess is for the profligate and they seldom taste the juice of enlightenment - the feeling of fulfilment.

So to foster our relationships and make them fruitful, we have to occasionally deprive our beloveds of the favours they enjoy. If you don’t, you would the invisible oxygen in their lives whose value they never start to appreciate until the moment you cease to exist for them.

Written on August 8, 2016