The allure of independence & freedom-mental, emotional, and financial is one that comes bearing with it, huge promise. The halo around it mesmerizing, almost reeling us in to be spelled. That freedom however comes with a huge price, a price known only to its bearer.
The cultural expectation in India is for the woman to be the torch bearer at home; which means she holds responsibility for the well being of each person at home, nutritious food, family values and virtues, good and clean household, making sure everything stays organized and in place, and the house runs seamless. Besides this she is to remain her spouses’ best friend, passionate lover, doting mother, loving daughter-in-law, maids lending ear, caring daughter, affection sibling and so on. She essentially becomes a wheelbarrow carrying not only the happiness of her entire family on her shoulder, but also their waste, running on a single wheel most of the times, that of hers alone. You might think, she is in total control, but unknown to her, her life tethers in the control of the handler- those very people that she is giving up her life for. Depending on the situation, any one of those people can be single-handedly responsible for changing the direction in her life.
So why is it that the Indian woman continues to fight for the people in her life, sacrifice her dreams and desires to fulfill those of her spouse and kids, be the one to compromise, be the first person to wake up and last one to sleep just to make sure her home is in order and so are her loved ones. Expectations! Our life’s happiness revolves around our expectations. When they are met, we are happy. When expectations run awry, issues crop up, some strong enough to cause rifts.
Amidst all it, throw in a working woman. Someone who must precariously balance being a working wheelbarrow at home and independent intellectual at work. If only as a community, we would be more compassionate to this form of goddess Durga herself and hear her out. Give to her that lending ear, she gives to others; that shoulder to rest on, that she provides to her loved ones; that helping hand, she goes on a limb to provide; that spine that stands tall and strong making sure her family is happy and at peace.
Sometimes instead of providing support, when we start questioning, nagging, hurting, we are pushing that woman into a deep hole of insecurity. We are striping her down of her individuality and putting all our sludge on her. We alone are responsible to make ourselves weak by making her responsible for all our failures. Can you imagine doing what she does day in and out? How long would you last?
The worst is when she is emotionally broken and needs help, we make fun of her and call her names. We call her weak and mental? Someone who has fought with her dreams and individuality to make you succeed, is not shown the respect she deserves!
All relationships good or bad, are a consequence of thought and effort. Its about understanding what each one is going through. It is about changing your perspective to build understanding. And for some reason when that does not happen, seek help. It is not a weakness but a step in the right direction.
Harleen Bagga Multi-disciplinary Psychotherapist, Psychologist. Life Coach.