As social beings, we want to and have to get along with the people in our life because ultimately our situation, whether it’s at our work place or at home is defined by our ability to manage the people in our life. Our Emotional Quotient (EQ) determines our level of adjustment with our environment, particularly our fellow humans. In fact, theories have proved that to succeed in life your EQ is, perhaps, more important than your Intelligent Quotient (IQ).
And, yet, how easy is it to manage relationships given that most people are so self-centred that to centre your life around them can be exhausting. They are all about ‘I, Me, Myself’.
However, our workplace, which mostly runs in hierarchical order, makes it easy for us to mould our behaviour accordingly and give the order its due. Our EQ warns us against overstepping our boundaries and not taking things personally. Those who know this basic rule survive. Their method of survival may vary; it could be that of appeasement or sincerity or both, but the unspoken rule is to respect the order. This, of course, is not a fool-proof method of survival, but there’s still an escape route. You have the choice to join another organisation.
But when it comes to personal relationships, we have no choice. And surviving these is a real battle. We look to them as a solace especially after we have dealt with impersonal relationships. But sadly no matter what we do, it’s a struggle to get the other person to see our point of view. And as we try our best to change the people and the situation that we have been imprisoned with we realise that all our efforts end in disappointments. The people in our life continue in their vague manner, completely oblivious to our needs and demands. Even our requests fall on deaf ears. They carry on in their own set ways and notions as weather-proof (or in their case ‘other’ proof) as the furniture around them.
And we wriggle and squirm while being at the receiving end to their indifference.
So, how does one cope up with the imperfect lot of people who are instrumental in making our environment imperfect?
The reason behind the kind of people present in our life — perfect or imperfect — may be metaphysical in nature, but on a rational level, we need to realise that we are just as much a part of the problem as others are. None of us is perfect but all of us assume that we are ‘perfection personified’. Every person or situation has an obverse and a converse side to them and we are no different.
We also exhibit certain traits and habits which may irritate others, without being aware of it ourselves. We justify our rigid ways as a part of our personality, something that defines us, but when we see such rigidity in others we find it unbearable. Since this stance stems from ego, it’s a sham. People do give up their set ways when it’s inconvenient to them.
There’s no denying that it’s difficult to put up with the quirks and idiosyncrasies of people around us, especially in terms of habits which are easier to change than character traits. But it may also be a time to reflect on our own quirks and habits. If we are sincere in our introspection we will realise that we too have a way of functioning that can test the patience of others. While there’s no excuse for ignoring sincere requests to imbibe good habits to facilitate peaceful coexistence, (we owe that much to people who we claim to care for) but as far as personality traits go, they are mostly in-built.
The best way to deal with the defects of character is to shift our focus on the positives that complement it. For instance, a timid person may shy away from taking charge but such a person would also be prudent in the face of crisis. S/he would not react in an agitated manner or act in haste. Hence, for every weakness or drawback, there is a complementing strength or advantage.
To seek ‘perfection’ is an energy-depleting exercise. You can’t accept the converse and reject the obverse. Our strengths and weaknesses complete us, make humans out of us. The glass will always be either half empty or half full, we can’t change the given but a shift in focus can definitely ameliorate our given situation. In the end it’s all about our perception and acceptance.