I watched a host of videos by The School of Life around the time of my nervous breakdown this year. They were a major factor that helped to pull me out of my rut and get back to living. And now, every time I encounter a friend going through a difficult time in their relationships, I have a whole set of earmarked videos that I send their way.
There was one video in particular that dealt with the qualities it took to build and nourish a successful relationship, and instead of love, they largely focused on something else altogether – kindness. About how we need to treat our partners the way we would a child; we have to acknowledge their flaws and be gentle with them rather than showering indignation at their imperfections. This is one of the core messages that have stayed with me after going through all their content. It seems like a simple task, and yet difficult. And so powerful.
I believe it isn’t really restricted to the realm of marriages either. Over the years, I’ve had friends willing to stand with me through lean patches, listen to the ugly stories, see the worst parts of me and still choose to stay. I’ve had daunting secrets form whirlwinds of incessant thought in my head and wreck havoc through guilt and self-harm, cutting me with the sharp splinters of emotional debris swirling through my soul. And every time, I’ve had someone calm the winds with a non-judgmental word, lend me hope and reassurance that perhaps I’m not the first or the last to falter.
The first time it happened was when an adolescent girl’s muddled up ideas of rights and wrongs and misgivings regarding sexuality were spilled one night in a hesitant and drawn out confession, and someone chose to hold her hand in the dark dormitory and say that it was okay. Those three words changed her whole world.
And now, thirteen years later, when she accidentally let slip illicit details and morbid thoughts over an innocent phone call, someone else chose to spend long hours listening to her on Christmas eve and helped fix her broken smile.
And the Grinch in me finally had to admit – perhaps Santa doesn’t exist, but spectacular people certainly do, and as long as they are around, there shall always be showers of blessings and seasons of joy.
Dedicated to AU for bringing me Christmas cheer when I least expected it. I owe you one.