Love Who We Want

Yesterday, I wrote about a teacher who was fired from my Catholic high school for marrying his partner of 10 years. 

Today, I want to hit a little bit closer to home with my culture regarding a similar issue. How free are we, as Indians, to love who we want? Is it possible to be with or even marry the person we want if they don’t fit into what our culture dictates is right for us? How much pressure do we even put on ourselves to fit into what we think is right? 

I’ve learned the hard way that what is right on paper isn’t what is right for me. But I had to go through a pretty big self-inflicted struggle to understand this. 

Even if we never hear anything from our parents or family about who we should end up marrying, there is this idea that we should end up with someone who is the same ethnicity and religion as we are. They should be equally matched in every way: looks, education, financially. And even if the pressure isn’t directly put onto us by someone else, we put that same pressure on ourselves. We want the approval of our community. And to get that approval, we have to fit into the mold that was shaped out for us and has been shaped out for us for decades or maybe even centuries. 

So what happens when we fall in love with someone outside of this mold? What happens when we realize that a relationship goes past the education and the looks and the families getting along? What happens when we realize that there is so many other aspects to consider that have nothing to do with what we have been taught? 

I have seen it go both ways. I have seen couples split up because one or the other isn’t approved by their family. Instead of fighting for their love, they choose their family and sacrifice their relationship. I have seen couples stay together and try to make their families understand their relationship.

So it’s a choice. It’s always a choice. Unfortunately, we can’t control the idea of what the perfect relationship looks like. But we can control how we react to the opinions of our relationship. There are still going to be times when the world won’t agree with a relationship. Is it worth it to fight for it? Or is it something that should be given up because it’s not “right”?

Should we love who we want? Or should we love who the world says we should? 

Do You Follow the Herd?

Most of us are sheep as one of my friend likes to say.  We do what everyone else wants to do whether it’s what we want or not. We do it whether it’s the right thing to do. We do it because if we don’t do it,  we will be judged, or made fun of, or just not as cool. 

I went to a bachelorette party a few years ago. The emails sent to us provided us with instructions on the usual information. One of the things we had to do was book the flight to Las Vegas.  I’m a chicken when it comes to flying even though I will do it if necessary. Vegas, being a 3 hour drive, didn’t seem necessary to me. I’m also stingy (at the time I was unemployed so I was stingier than normal).  So I told the person in charge of planning that I will be driving myself there.  She asked me for weeks if I was sure.  Anyways, so when I finally got there a few hours later than the people who took a plane,  some of those girls told me that if they had known I was driving, they would have come with me. Apparently, the organizer didn’t mention to them I was driving and no one asked. They just assumed everyone was flying. They followed what they were given instructions to do. 

Now I know this isn’t a life or death situation. It doesn’t change the course of history or help our community at all. My point is sometimes it’s just worth challenging what you are being told or what you know. If we don’t raise our hands and ask the question, there is a chance that nobody else will either. 

We all have thoughts. One thing that drives me crazy is when people pretend that they don’t. Something I believe in strongly is that if there are two people or more working on something together, the best product will come out of that partnership because the crap will get questioned,  more ideas will get shared, and only the best stuff will be approved by both. That only works as long as both people share what they are thinking and don’t just agree to everything that one person says.

Trust me.  If you’re thinking something,  there’s a pretty good chance there are others thinking it too.  So speak up. Maybe you will be judged by the masses.  But does that matter? The masses are the people just following what  they were told to do anyways. Maybe you won’t be as cool or people will make fun of you.  I’ve definitely made some decisions in my life that have caused gossip and rumors.  Haven’t we all? 

But maybe,  for once,  you will get what you want instead of what someone else wanted.  Doesn’t that make it worth taking a chance?  

The Need to be Needed

It must be a human thing. To feel needed or wanted. When we stop feeling like that and stop feeling appreciated, we lose our motivation to really achieve something. We lose our motivation to love and to care and to really put ourselves out there. 

What is it about being needed to makes us feel worthy? Ideally, we ourselves should feel worthy because of what we accomplished, not because someone praises us or shows us how much they need us. That idea of “you can’t function without me” is something that really is detrimental to our self-worth. We want to feel wanted and needed. Which ends up being that we need or want someone to want or need us. Vicious cycle, right?

I don’t know if it’s possible to be so self-sufficient that you don’t ever need someone to validate you and your effort. It would be an ideal place to be. I definitely wish I could assess my own actions and not depend on anyone else to let me know that I’m doing a good job or or if I’m a good person. I would expend so much less energy if I didn’t question my value. 

The other angle is that I know what I’m worth and I need others to know that well and when they don’t treat me how I would like to be treated, then that’s not a good place to be as well. 

Where does this need come from? So there are 2 aspects. One is that we need this validation to know we are worth something and the other is that we need this validation to know that we are being treated right. 

One day, I hope that I don’t have the insecurities to need validation to know my self-worth. I will always use it as a standard of measure to know that I’m being treated as I should be.