Relationships: Mending fences

Mummy looked up from her cup of tea and cast a worried look at Umair. He was not his cheerful self for the past few days and seemed to have lost his appetite. Lost in thought, he sat at the breakfast table nibbling at his French toast.

“What’s wrong son, you look so glum and depressed. Tell me if there is anything I can do for you,” mummy asked.

Umair looked up from his plate and burst into tears, “Mummy I had a fight with my best friend and I feel that I was too harsh on him. I don’t know how and when things will again be the same between us. I feel so guilty.”

Umair went on to tell his mother how Ali had borrowed his science journal to complete the work he had missed during his absence due to fever. While returning the journal, Ali apologised to his friend that accidentally he had spilled some ink on it.

As Umair was very particular about his books, he flew into a rage and picked up a quarrel with his friend, accusing him that he must have spoiled the journal on purpose and that Ali was jealous of his good grades.

“We are not on speaking terms for a week, but I want to be friends with Ali again. I realise that I was unfair and I don’t want to lose a true pal,” confessed Umair.

None of us can claim that we have never had any differences with people who hold an important place in our lives. We have quarrels with siblings, friends and classmates; sometimes on minor issues and sometimes on major ones. But it is not possible for most of us to stay away for a long time from the people we love dearly. Even if we stop talking to them and do not communicate in any other routine manner, i.e., text messaging or interacting on social forums like Facebook, Skype, we cannot keep them out of our thoughts. And a yearning to mend the fences keeps us restless and unhappy.

Some of us maybe too stubborn, making the difference a matter of our ego and waiting for the other party to make an advance to normalise the relationship. But more often than not, most of us are too soft-hearted to prolong a fight. We know that making up quickly after a quarrel brings in peace of mind and a sense of serenity as we realise that a relationship is too strong to be adversely affected by a petty difference.

How do you mend fences with a near and dear one after you have had a bitter argument, called each other names in a fit of anger or, worst still, brought up past and long settled issues? Instead of sulking, spending restless nights and worrying your parents by refusing to eat properly, try out the positive ways to make up with your near and dear ones. Although it may take a lot of courage, the best option is to admit that you were wrong. The easiest (and for some the most difficult) way is to go ahead and say ‘I am sorry’. These are the magic words which often and easily settle petty quarrels in a moment and you retrieve your cherished relationship.

There may be some of you who find it hard to apologise but still you want to show your regrets. There are many simple and warm gestures which can help you out in this difficult situation.

Write a note

If you can not directly say that you are sorry for losing your temper and picking up a fight, just send a handwritten card. You can make a simple card yourself or buy an easily available one. You can quietly slip it into your friend’s schoolbag or place it on his desk, and in the case of a sibling, keep it silently in his/her room.

Say it with flowers

To make up with a friend after a quarrel, you do not need to send an expensive bouquet. A single flower picked from your own garden and neatly tied with a piece of ribbon or a colourful string can prove to be a gesture which will salvage your friendship.

Send a gift

A gift is a caring way to tell a person that you want to be friends again. A friend’s or sibling’s favourite chocolate or any other small gift can do wonders to melt the ice between you and your cherished one. They would understand that you feel sorry but cannot muster enough courage to say so!

A positive gesture

Sometimes a warm smile, a hand extended for a shake or a hearty hug does the trick. The person you had differences with gets the message that you want to make up for your rudeness or insensitive behaviour.

Tempers usually cool down quicker than the speed with which they flare up.

At the end of the day, you come to realise that a relationship is more important than your ego and losing a close friend on a petty issue is much worse than losing our pride!

D(ANGER)! http://dawn.com/2011/04/03/behaviour-danger/

            Anger is as natural an emotion as happiness, grief or fear. In fact, it can easily be called one of the most common human emotions. 

           Nobody can claim that he or she has never been angry in his/her life. We are often angry when we can not control our circumstances or with people who do not come up to our expectations, or have hurt us with their indifference or bad attitude.

We have the right to be angry when we have been provocated emotionally or physically. But we do not have the right to be cruel!  Often, in white hot rage, we forget the fact that there is a very thin line between being angry and being cruel or rude. It’s a common sight to see angry people throw away all norms of civilization to the air. They utter words or sling allegations which they do not really mean; words which they regret bitterly when their temper has cooled down. But often it is too late, because they have caused an irreparable loss to their relation with the person on whom they have vented their fury.

Some times frustration and disappointment is building up inside us on a particular person or circumstances, but unfortunately in a fit of rage we target the wrong person. And the unsuspecting victim of our fury is hurt beyond words! A close friend Salima’s only son has settled down abroad and she feels let down and disappointed as she and her husband have to live all alone at their age. Her caring daughter daily carves out time from her responsibilities to help out her aging mother. And as she is a teacher in a reputed school, this is not an easy job for her!

Last week Salima called and told me in an anguished tone, “I don’t know what got into me that day. I had been asking Seemi (her daughter) to take me to my doctor as my arthritis was getting worse by the day. But she could not come immediately as her husband was down with high fever. After a particularly restless night, I called her in a fit of anger and told her that it was good that she had no children. When she didn’t have time to look after her sick parents, how could she have taken care of her children? Oh! How could I be so unkind to my darling? I told her later that I was sorry and she still comes to help me out. But she is no more her cheerful self, just stays tight lipped as she carries out her usual chores, but I can clearly read the pain in her eyes.” Salima’s distress reminded me of a quote, “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret!”

A true incident related in a magazine by a devastated father moved me to tears. This fellow had bought a new car after years of savings and was very particular about its maintenance. One day, he found his seven year old writing something on the car with a sharp knife. In a fit of rage, he hit his son so hard that the little boy fell on the road and gashed his forehead.  The father’s anger vanished when he saw the blood flowing profusely. He rushed his little boy to a nearby hospital where he got seven stitches on the cut. The doctors further said that they would keep the boy under observation to rule out any internal brain damage. Feeling ashamed of himself for his cruelty to his son, the man was staring with a dazed look at his cherished car when suddenly he burst into tears. His son had written on the car, “I love my Dad and his awesome car!” The son was released from the hospital after a few hours, and in a couple of days was hale and hearty but his father kept wondering whether the emotional scar he had created in his son’s soul would ever heal!

To hold our temper in provocation needs a lot of courage. A famous saying goes, “The strongest man is one who can control himself when he is angry”. This does not mean that we should not be angry at all. Although we are taught from our childhood that it is a part of good etiquette not to exhibit anger openly, pent up anger is like a toxin which harms our physical, mental and emotional health. The point to remember is that we can either scream at the top of our voice when we are enraged or express our displeasure in a calm voice. According to Lyman Abbott, “Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry!

The next time you are angry just remind yourself that you should not enter the danger zone. The zone when in utter rage you hurt the people you would not even dream of harming in normal circumstances. Because according to Aristotle, “Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way…. that is not easy!”

 

 

 

(D)ANGER!

                            

          Anger is as natural an emotion as is happiness, grief or fear.  Nobody can claim that he or she has never been angry in his/her life. We are often angry when we can not control our circumstances or with people who do not come up to our expectations, or have hurt us with their indifference or bad attitude.

We have the right to be angry when we have been provocated emotionally or physically. But we do not have the right to be cruel!  Often, in white hot rage, we forget the fact that there is a very thin line between being angry and being cruel or rude. It’s a common sight to see angry people throw away all norms of civilization to the air. They utter words or sling allegations which they do not really mean; words which they regret bitterly when their temper has cooled down. But often it is too late, because they have caused an irreparable loss to their relation with the person on whom they have vented their fury.

Some times frustration and disappointment is building up inside us on a particular person or circumstances, but unfortunately in a fit of rage we target the wrong person. And the unsuspecting victim of our fury is hurt beyond words! A close friend Salima’s only son has settled down abroad and she feels let down and disappointed as she and her husband have to live all alone at their age. Her caring daughter daily carves out time from her responsibilities to help out her aging mother. And as she is a teacher in a reputed school, this is not an easy job for her!

Last week Salima called and told me in an anguished tone, “I don’t know what got into me that day. I had been asking Seemi (her daughter) to take me to my doctor as my arthritis was getting worse by the day. But she could not come immediately as her husband was down with high fever. After a particularly restless night, I called her in a fit of anger and told her that it was good that she had no children. When she didn’t have time to look after her sick parents, how could she have taken care of her children? Oh! How could I be so unkind to my darling? I told her later that I was sorry and she still comes to help me out. But she is no more her cheerful self, just stays tight lipped as she carries out her usual chores, but I can clearly read the pain in her eyes.” Salima’s distress reminded me of a quote, “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret!”

A true incident related in a magazine by a devastated father moved me to tears. This fellow had bought a new car after years of savings and was very particular about its maintenance. One day, he found his seven year old writing something on the car with a sharp knife. In a fit of rage, he hit his son so hard that the little boy fell on the road and gashed his forehead.  The father’s anger vanished when he saw the blood flowing profusely. He rushed his little boy to a nearby hospital where he got seven stitches on the cut. The doctors further said that they would keep the boy under observation to rule out any internal brain damage. Feeling ashamed of himself for his cruelty to his son, the man was staring with a dazed look at his cherished car when suddenly he burst into tears. His son had written on the car, “I love my Dad and his awesome car!” The son was released from the hospital after a few hours, and in a couple of days was hale and hearty but his father kept wondering whether the emotional scar he had created in his son’s soul would ever heal!

To hold our temper in provocation needs a lot of courage. A famous saying goes, “The strongest man is one who can control himself when he is angry”. This does not mean that we should not be angry at all. Although we are taught from our childhood that it is a part of good etiquette not to exhibit anger openly, pent up anger is like a toxin which harms our physical, mental and emotional health. The point to remember is that we can either scream at the top of our voice when we are enraged or express our displeasure in a calm voice. According to Lyman Abbott, “Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry!

There are times when we realize that our angry outbursts are affecting negatively our relationships with family and friends. This is the perfect time to seek out and follow anger management techniques, something which will change the way we express our anger.

Count to ten: This is a very old technique but it works. When you feel that your temper is rising, (before it gets the better of your senses), count slowly from one to ten. At the same time take deep breaths and try to relax. More often than not, you will have cooled down considerably by the time you reach ten.

Move away: Try to move away from the person who is provocating you. Go to another room for a while, sit down in a comfortable chair and try to think of ways which could improve the situation. Writing down the reason for your anger is also helpful as you calm down when you pen down your emotions.

Exert yourself physically: Going for a brisk walk, jogging or engaging yourself in any other physically activity, dampens your temper as you get a physical outlet for your emotions.

Do not accuse: Often in a rage we sling accusations at each other which detoriates the situation. For example instead of saying vague things like, “You never understand my feelings”, be specific and tell the person you are angry with the reason for your anger i.e. “I am upset because you forgot my birthday”.

Do not bring up settled issues: A blunder most of us make when we are angry with some one is that we remind them of quarrels long settled. Instead of arguing about past differences and making the situation more volatile, focus on what the issue is at present and try to thrash it out with a cool head.

The next time you are angry just remind yourself that you should not enter the danger zone. The zone when in utter rage you hurt the people you would not even dream of harming in normal circumstances. Because according to Aristotle, “Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way…. that is not easy!”