Sunday 7 May 2017

Changed roles of Today's Women

Over and over again anger against each other is the most typical indicator. Anger is always an expression of hurt and pain within. It is very imperative to comprehend and recognise. The hurt must be soothed for the anger to be gently washed away.

Indian women who express anger and lack of enthusiasm towards family members feel that they are not being valued an adequate amount by other family members for the effort they make. Their observation of themselves and their role in the family tends to be different from what other family members expect out of them.

Today Indian women work in challenging settings with long work hours, tight deadlines and professional pressures in cut-throat environments. The expected inclination for anyone dealing with a busy day would be to turn home to relax. But for women, parenting duties and household work make it complicated to find this legroom at home.

Often for the elderly members of the family, the Indian woman’s conventional role – that of a homemaker is of primary importance. Which in turns means she probably doesn’t get her time out even after returning home on most days? This as expected creates annoyance and over a period of time, anger and despair. Slowly but surely, the woman’s being unable to contribute as much at home is talked about, discussed and emphasized upon much more than the efforts she puts in at work. What she is unable to do gets unintentionally more focused on than what she slogs at. She then feels her family is being unfair to her and feels angry and rejected.

Furthermore, the woman herself has been exposed to norms which tell her that she must take on household responsibilities and be accommodating of her husband’s, children’s and in-laws’ requests. She also feels at fault for not being able to fulfill their expectations, disillusioned because she feels like she’s struggling alone and finally very negative and let down.

Other family members also grapple with their own struggles. Since the husband also works in a characteristically demanding setting like his wife, he is better positioned to understand her need to relax at home. However, he feels caught up between his wife and his parents and other family members. He has his own equation with his parents that dates back to a time when his wife wasn’t around. In turns, it becomes difficult for him to step in. As a result, the woman feels her husband takes sides or is by and largely unable to support her. This leads to disagreement between the couple, where both feel the partner is unable to help or understand them.

It’s also understandable why the elders have different expectations. They had a different life, with fewer facilities and a very different work environment to face. This generation gap brings us again to a no win situation.Despite the fact that the children of the house may not be directly involved in the situation, often we find that the parents in such a set-up are not able to be there psychologically for the children even though they want to because a lot of energy is spent in trying to resolve the struggles at work and within the family.

Often suggestions from others like ‘these things happen, what to do’ or ‘you need to adjust a bit, they have old ideas so accept it’ is common. However, even if this is inevitable and happens in a good number of homes, we still need to deal with it. Merely blaming each other and thinking ‘you will never understand’ doesn’t make things any easier. Unless each one of us chooses to actively work on ourselves for our own happiness, the negativity continues to stay in our systems, taking some joy out of the day, every day!

The majority of us, unknowingly, have a propensity to grumble and not express. Complaining focuses on the opposite person. We use sentences like, ‘you are unkind’, ‘you don’t understand me’, and so on. Expressing focuses on ourselves or the ‘I’. When we are expressing, we use sentences like ‘I feel tired when I return from work, ‘I feel I must help when I see mom-in-law cook’, and so on. Without a doubt expressing what you think and feel about yourself is a much healthier way of communicating than focusing on the opposite person.

Inspite of knowing how much our mind and body can take, we over and over again don’t respect the limits of our own ability. While dealing with issues in the family, it is important not to abandon yourself. You are an essential part of the family and if you are exhausted and tired, even for the sake of living up to others expectations, it isn’t really going to make anyone happy. Be kind-hearted and gently caring for yourself. Accept your tiredness and stop when you need to. Not doing so leads to complying irritably or guiltily with others’ requests and then blaming them.

Your family doesn’t find fault with you only because they want to, they do it also because they identify with things differently from you. Your in-laws probably want you to do housework not because they hold it against you, it’s because they consider that household duties are to be designated to the woman of the house. Despite the fact that it would be naturally painful for you to hear them complain, not taking their nagging in person as an attack on you would help.

Be aware of that you cannot have power over how others act in response to you; you can only try and have some control over your own response. Just as you accept your limits and stop when you are tiring yourself out, similarly you accept the limits of your family members and their feelings about you. To make receiving work, try not to judge who is right or wrong but as an alternative attempt to neither blame yourself nor anyone else in the family for the tricky situation. Chances are this will eventually reduce the tension in the family environment over time.

Mindfulness is a simple perception of living life as it is, of being in the present. If you think about it, the complaints and arguments with family members last for a limited degree of time, maybe when you come back from work. We unintentionally upset so many other moments of our life by worrying over it and complaining to ourselves!

Being in the present allows you to know-how these other moments as they are. It means noticing how the bread packets have been shifted to another shelf in the shop, how your child has managed to solve profit and loss correctly, how the little plants swing when the train passes by them. Whenever you catch yourself thinking away about something, gently remind yourself of where you are. Take a few breaths, and feel your breath as it enters and leaves you. Feel the breeze as it caresses you. You will in due course realize the treasure chest of moments that are not really problem ridden, that are fairly nonaligned, but positive.