We are such complex beings hence human relationships are complex in their nature. We live in an interdependent world where differences and conflicts is the norm but we need to find ways to lead a harmonious life.
First, appreciate that being right and wanting to be right does not create harmony then realise that your point of view can actually be wrong or it is just different. Like an opinion of an artwork, it could vary from genius to crap depending upon the person's point of view developed from many factors.
I was in an art and framing shop in Los Angeles and was commenting to the owner how proud a parent must be framing up his child's artwork. He corrected and promptly educated me on the artwork of Joan Miro. Still looks like a child's painting to me!
I have learnt to minimise conflicts in my quest for harmony in my life. Strategies I would have loved to put into practice when I was much younger, but better now than not.
Since I had two marriages, it was either I was not good at it or the women I married were not in synch with my values. Looking back, I realise that my superficial value of beauty and inexperience made me blind to some of the characteristics of my partners but the outcome of my gorgeous kids and life experiences that has helped refine me as a person means I willingly accept the choices of my past. Or perhaps the problem lies with me!
Being ''in love'' is a temporary state with the flush of hormones that would pass in time but developing a deep love and respect for each other is the important part. I believe finding the ''right'' person is the most critical step to a good relationship. Far too often people are just not discerning enough then it is only a matter of time that the relationship will breakdown, with statistics indicating that a third of marriages are unviable.
Fairy tales during the early stages of our mental development have a lot to answer for, as it creates the illusion of ''happily ever after''.
I am thinking of writing; ''The book after 'happily ever after'.''
Supporting our loved ones is most important. A friend of mine did not attend his stepdaughter's wedding as he had a disagreement with her. I mentioned to him that he should have attended the wedding for the benefit of his wife and not allow his petty disagreement with his stepdaughter to put wedge between his wife and him.
Sometimes people's lack of wisdom astounds me and then the same people wonder why their life's full of dramas.
I also know of friends who have conflicts with their sibling's partner which result in their sibling having challenges maintaining a relationship with them.
My strategy is, keep those difficult relationships courteous and do not ever bite back if you value your relationship with your immediate family members. If you cannot make things better, just don't make it worse and keep it neutral.
Also helps if you do not allow alcohol to loosen your tongue. Fortunately for me, I don't drink, as with my provocative tongue-in-cheek humour, I would be in so much more trouble.
It is inexplicable how we can say the most horrendous and hurtful things to the people we love most. It is now totally unacceptable to me to verbally attack my loved ones with acerbic words or for that matter, most people.
THE SILENT scream in my mind!
I have suggested to many of my young female friends; ensure that the father of your children is at the very least kind and generous as in case you do separate, the father would continue to support financially.
I can never understand the selfishness of separated fathers who do not provide financial and physical support.
Knowing what I know now, I would have been a far better parent when my kids were growing up. I have apologised to my kids for my past mistakes which I cannot undo but what is important is to ensure my ongoing behaviour and actions are supportive, coming from love and care, and never hurtful.
I once sat next to 2 gorgeous little girls and their mother at a restaurant and I was appalled by the mother's behaviour of impatience and curtness to her daughters. The same mother in the future would then ponder why her relationship with her daughters are so poor.
Similarly, at a sports day when my son was at school, I sadly witnessed a father engrossed in his Saturday newspaper instead of being interested in his son's sport activity. It must deflate his son's spirit to see the disinterest by his father.
Children need their parent's love, care, support and guidance provided with patience and encouragement, and not admonishment. ALSO learn from your parents' mistakes, and don't pass it on.
Just as importantly is to accept your parents' past mistakes as they were doing their best with their limited knowledge, upbringing and experiences. If a parent is continuing with their bad behaviour, well that's a whole different story.
I STRIVE to live my life with my mantra of, ''Life is not simple but don't make it complex.''
The last time I was in lockdown was in 1969, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, because racial riots broke out...