Trust others to listen to you #1000Speak

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
While I was in Pune, a dear friend of mine went through a particularly bad and abrupt relationship breakup after being in a committed relationship for years. Neither party really was at fault... circumstances and differences in certain religious equations which were unacceptable to 'the elders' were at play there.

Heartbroken, the two did split so as to respect their parents wishes. I met the girl a few short months later in town while walking down the street. It should have just been a superficial 'hey, what are you doing here? How is studies? Okay, got to go.' kind of conversation. I really am not the one to actively pry even if I was privy to details about people's relationships.

But she just seemed so despondent that evening. There was not even an attempt to put up a fake smile on the face just to maintain appearances. So standing there in the middle of the pavement, I asked her how she was doing.
It was as though the floodgates had been allowed to open. We stood there that day for over half an hour with hundreds of people walking past us as she told me how betrayed and lost she felt; how her life which had seemed so perfect a few months ago was now completely off track.

In addition to the obvious pain of losing the one she loved (and who loved her back), her parents had chosen to go the 'quick fix' Indian way and get her immediately engaged to someone they found 'right for her' - one of their own religion and caste, a richer guy... a total stranger who they 'just knew' was perfectly compatible with her. 
It may sound weird but sadly, this still happens even today and I do not mean just in movies or in rural parts of the country.  

As for her, I offered her what advice I could back then - to talk to her parents, to tell them to give her some time. She just shook her head, telling me how she had tried all this and been rejected at every step. If she thought she was ready to get married to somebody she loved, then she was certainly ready to get married to someone her wise parents chose. 
I felt sad as we parted ways because I did not feel I had helped in any way at all and those kind of things tend to rankle me. But a day later, I got an long sms from her late at night.

"Thanks for listening, Rosh. I haven't told anyone here about the engagement and I'm sorry I chewed your ear off like that. I have just been bottling it all up these past few months. I needed to get it all out or God knows I woud have gone mad here. After what has happened this year, I don't know if God even listens to my prayers anymore."

As it turns out, God was listening too. And he was not the only one. During the course of the next year, as her engagement to her betrothed hung above her neck like Damocles sword, she would find that she could trust her closest friends with her inner feelings once more. She would find a broken relationship did not make her a bad person in anyone's eyes. She would find out that she was capable of being the same bubbly lovable person she used to be. More importantly, she would find out that she was capable of love and being loved.

Image source: here

In spending time just listening to her, a friend of hers did inevitably see her for the gem she was and declare his feelings for love for her. Scarred as she was after losing a battle against her family just a short while ago, she dared not dream of going against them again, especially with the stakes so much higher now. But then, the heart wants what the heart wants, does it not? 
And lo and behold, when the time came, her family too listened. They may have heard her pleas earlier but they truly listened to her this time around. And they finally broke away from social norms, ending the betrothal to allow their child to win in love.

It has been quite a few summers since that year and the couple are still as lovely as they were when they first fell in love, only now with the addition of two young children to boot as well.  

Often, we hesitate to voice what is in our hearts because we fear not just rejection but because we worry that nobody wants to listen. We fear that we are burdening people with our woes. Worse, we may have had a few bad experiences with fair weather friends who listened to us and then either judged us or worse, avoided us during our times of need.
Here's the thing. Everyone isn't the same. Sure there are people like the ones above but there are also people for whom you truly matter. They want the best for you. Don't paint them with the same shade of suspicion and distrust you painted the others. You just need to identify these people and make them your listening circle. It doesn't need to be 500 people on Facebook... just a single trustworthy ear is enough.

Often, as it did for my friend and so many others across the world in small and large battles of their lives, sometimes just trusting others to listen to the song your heart yearns to sing can give you the strength you need to change your life and chase your dreams once more.

Author's note:
To quote Yvonne"1000 Voices Speak For Compassion is a blogging initiative started in response to violence and alienation in our world. "

This month, #1000Speak focuses on Listening. A thousand bloggers across the planet write in on a topic that most of us have dealt with in the hope of inspiring you to have faith in the good that exists all around you.  
You can also find #1000Speak on Facebook,Twitter, the blog or just by typing down the hashtag #1000Speak on social media.

I had written for #1000Speak earlier this year on:
1. Compassion 
4. Acceptance

I am also linking this to #SundayBlogShare. You can find out more about it here and add your Sunday posts too. 

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Let me know what you think.

  1. I loved the experience you shared. Each one of us had some such experience. We do need to make time to listen beyond words.

  2. It comes down to that perhaps... most people who fear noone is listening suffer after a failure and imagine (incorrectly) that they are unworthy. One of our fellow bloggers wrote a lovely post on it earlier this week that I too want to follow up on...

  3. What an amazing story, Roshan. I'm glad that your friend had you and her other friends to be there for her and make her realize her own worth. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. Vishal BheerooOctober 07, 2015

    It's been so good of you, Roshan to listen to her. Such small things matter to give a fresh perspective and I am happy your friend found love. Respect:)

  5. We all have to be lucky to find the right person who will love us. If a simple act like listening can help someone believe in him/herself again and start searching for love once more, I think we owe it to them to do atleast that much in the name of friendship

  6. Yes, it's easy to think that we have no one who will understand.
    PM me if there's some way I can reach out too. Take care, Roshan.

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