Have you ever had a situation where you have a purpose different to the purpose of a family member, such as a spouse, parent, sibling or child? Has this situation led to misunderstandings, arguments, anger, violence or estrangement? How did you handle the situation? Has it made you become disgruntled about the notion of ‘purposeful living’. I will try to address this issue in this blog post from the limited experience I have had in dealing with such situations.
Recently I had the opportunity of counselling a couple who were facing such a situation; the husband is a successful chief executive of a company and the wife is a senior manager in a bank. They have two adorable children. The family is financially sound with means of passive income. The husband was very caring to the family and they were always happy. The wife had always been supportive of the husband, specially in the early days of their marriage when he was struggling to move up the corporate ladder, while caring for the children.
After some time, both husband and wife realised the importance of being purposeful in what they do. The husband decided he needs to run his own business so that he can be in an arena that he was happy being in, gifted in, struggled in, and could be of service to the world. He decided to step down from his CEO position with the risk of losing of social status, steady income and the corporate support system. This decision also required him to travel a lot and be away from the family for some prolonged periods. The wife wanted to become excellent at being a working mother, give adequate time to their children, continue to be successful in the banking job and to show other women how it is possible to be a happy and successful working mother, as her service to the world.
The husband decided to leave his job without discussing it with the wife and she got worried as it could hamper the closeness of the family and felt left out of his life. She was also concerned a bit about the financial risk, but that was not a major concern as she was having a decent income from her assets and job. Later, when she noticed the husband investing a lot of money in office space, equipment, business trips and staff etc., she started alerting the husband of the dangers. What she did with a lot of love and care came across to him as lack of belief in his purpose, that she was negative and even jealous. Trying to explain this resulted in arguments and this aroused his anger, resulting in arousing her anger too. Sometimes the arguments were intense and body language was aggressive. The children who started seeing this got alarmed as they had not seen this behaviour between their parents. This affected the performance of their son at school and his aloofness made him unpopular in the eyes of his teachers and class mates. He felt cornered. He refused to go to school and the parents forced him to go to school, which he did with a lot of crying and tears. The daughter, who was yet schooling, started getting ill regularly.
The husband and wife continued their arguments as both were driven by what they wanted to achieve, without thinking about why they were doing it. Yes, they had a ‘why’ about serving the larger world, but in the process forgot the most important world; their family. They were at a point where they were not listening to each other and had started to hate each other. Fortunately, during a moment of grace, the husband opened up to me about the issue. Being close friends to them, I invited both for a discussion. After many months of counselling, they started to respect to each other, listen to each other, discuss with each other, ask forgiveness from each other, forgive each other, and appreciate each other. This helped them to come up with a workable solution where both agreed to discuss about pluses and minuses of the various decisions both were making so that they are comfortable with the speed in which they were changing to live purposeful lives. While the situation is improving, they have a lot of work to do.
The takeaway from this is that we need to live purposefully, but in the process make sure it is not harmful to those closest to us. It helps to share ideas, discuss options, listen to and ask for feedback from loved ones and work with a set of noble values, even at the expense of going a bit slow. There is no rush, we need to be in sync with the process of life and the universal energy system. Trying to go faster or going too slow causes depression, stress, and anger, resulting in unhappiness, relationship issues, health issues and other misfortunes.
This new phase in this series on ‘purposefulness’, which I started two months ago, is dedicated to address living issues and struggles related to purposeful living. I hope this short blog post inspires you to find ways of dealing with conflicts that arise when trying to live purposefully.
I wish you purposeful living!