Monday, July 29, 2013

80-20 rule

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes (Wikipedia). Likewise in my life, I feel that 80% of my unhappiness comes from people who form 20% of my core support structure. I attribute undue importance sometimes to some things, situations and words.

My birth dad's son is visiting him from Canada and a piece of me already knew that he wouldnt be in touch while his son was home. But I still waited for his emails, his phone calls. I sent him my half marathon pictures, no response. I knew and I still felt bad. I know I do not have a place in his life, I am always someone he will turn to, when he has time or the whim to write and I still expect and still feel bad. What does this man have to do with my life anyways except for biologically being the reason I am here today. He has turned his back and walked away from me and our paths would never have crossed in our lives had I not gotten up and changed the course. I am done with trying to nurture this relationship, always taking the efforts to stay in touch, always calling, always writing. I give up. I accept the harsh reality that I do not matter to him. As I do not have the courage to completely shut him out of my life, I can at least change myself and stop expecting and treat it as an acquaintance relationship..

Nowadays I feel that people never change. It is very hard to get someone to change. Try to change yourself and you will find out. But what you can do is to make sure you do not allow yourself to get hurt over and over. Choose your own strategies to make sure you can stay happy and make the best of the situation.

My strategy with my mother in law is working very well for me. I do not know what she thinks or feels. But I have long given up trying to make people happy. I am actually seeing her in a new light. Once I have decided that none of her comments/words are directed at me personally, its almost like having an out of body experience and watching a movie. I have observed her and the remarks she makes and realised this is who she is. She will not change. You cannot teach a person to be at peace. For some, mental turmoil and dissatisfaction is inherent. I am also trying very hard to shed my ego. I have accepted it to be a given that she will always praise food made by someone else and I will never have a good word for all the hard work I do. I have just accepted it. Even if she might think it, the thoughts will never be transformed into words. I actually feel bad for her. I wish she had close friends and family who would steer her in the right direction, teach her how to be happy and at peace.

I have also decided to be realistic about myself, my strengths and my limitations. Everyone has 24 hours in a day. How you choose to distribute it is up to each person. Who you choose to focus on, what thoughts you allow yourself to consume with, whether you allow enough time for prayer and meditation, if you just sit down and laugh with your children; its all up to you. I am done trying to have everyone in my life like me.

My parents always say that I am an excellent child, an excellent daughter to them. We are perfectly in tune. P's Uncle and Aunt say I am a wonderful daughter in law; the daughter they never had. But would my birth mother or mother in law say the same thing? For different reasons of course. I have never been the daughter that my birth mother wanted - the obedient diligent daughter who would have agreed and listened to all her directions without a question asked. I do not regret it - even if it was the price of our relationship. I have never been the daughter in law that my mother in law wanted. Actually I am not sure anymore what she wants except for me to say "Stay here with us and do not go back to India". I think I know what would make her happy - asking her recipes, standing at the stove and asking her to direct me and cooking under her eyes, listening to all her self focused stories and appreciating them. And I am trying it in baby steps but it is not what interests me and therein lies the problem. I have given up trying to make her happy. All I hope for is to move towards a relationship where we are comfortable in each others presence and I do not get upset by her words.

Life gets hard sometimes with unmet expectations, unreturned love, politics at work, challenges with your children, the struggle to make time for your spouse, trying to focus on your own body and mind and then after all this too, sometimes I feel what have I done for my community or for my spiritual advancement, its a thousand things to do and not enough time. But it is necessary to take a deep breath and count out the handful things that mean the world to you, for which and for whom everything is worth it. And then shift your focus on them and let the others fade into the background. My husband, my children, my parents, my best friends, my siblings, my physical health, my mental health......I count my blessings and realise I am the happiest person on earth!


  1. Very well written post and like always its from your heart. There are a lot of emotions in this post and lot of learn from your life. You are doing the right things and managing it exceptionally well. Keep them going and Stay happy and blessed.

  2. Hugss Sonia! Stay blessed :)

  3. Waiting for post on marathon girl. As much as it is easy to say than do, pls try and take your thoughts away froma ll this negativity. Do a post on the marathon, it will make you feel good. And post pictures. :) Hugs.