The Empathetic Space to Parents or Any Close Relations
This is a real story, with name changed, to hide the identity. Samarth was born to a mother, who was not mentally fully stable. There were yet behaviors in her which were not reflecting the maturity of her age. Her parents had got her married. After Samarth’s birth, her husband (Samarth’s father) divorced her and re-married to an another lady. Samarth, along with her mom, grew up in her maternal grand parent’s house in a village. The grand parents weren’t economically well settled. Though there were other relatives, there weren’t any who would take care of him. He was almost left to himself, with some care from his grand parents. Now, he is an adult and in his 20’s . A few years ago his mom died. During the time in his teens, he had developed few habits like smoking, drinking, gambling, some even say-he has been going around with prostitutes. There wasn’t any parental figure, who would stop/model him. Grand parents had there own issues. His dad still loves him and calls him to come and stay with him and step mother, who is also kind enough to make him part of her life.
Now, when his relatives talk to him or talk of him, they talk with contempt. They perceive him in a lower strata. The question stands as: Was it his fault that he was born in such a family – where his parents couldn’t live together, his mom wasn’t fully mature, there wasn’t good economic support and so-on? Considering the impact of all these, the way his personality has come out isn’t surprising! There are several ways in which his personality could have developed and one of them is as above. Seeing him in this background, enables the empathy in the viewer. It becomes easier to separate ‘person’ from his ‘deeds’ and stand in the space of ‘I am OK, you’re OK’. The deeds, are still not socially acceptable or pardonable. And when interacting with him, it is THE deeds that are to be looked into and not the whole person – Samarth.
The same is applicable for many with not the socially acceptable behaviors like thieves, murderers, rapists, gamblers etc. In no way, there actions are pardonable. However, a consideration for their background is imminent in changing them and bringing them in the healthy part of the society.
There is a challenge though! For an outsider and the one not related to Samarth, it becomes easier to apply the above and see him in an empathetic space. Is this easier for someone who is closely related or been deeply impacted by Samarth’s deeds? Yes, but, difficult.
Further to extend the same, each one’s personality is influenced by the upbringing, may it be economic condition, parental relations, number of siblings, familial issues, neighbors, teachers, immigration, society, culture, religion and so-on. Would it be possible to give a thought to the upbringing of someone, whose behavior/s or are very nagging, particularly, the close relations like – husband, father, mother, sister, brother? All this would do is to separate the deeds of the person, which are not acceptable(nagging) and keep our love and respect for THE person. In the movie Dear Zindagi, Sharukh tells Alia to see her parents as human beings and not just in parental role and assess the whole of them based on their deeds. And in the next scene, Alia is able to do the same and becomes happy. Realistically, is it possible so easily?! I doubt, considering the depth of these close relationships, which are developed over years/since birth! This is something that’s achievable, but, with considerable practice and willingness to separate and see.