2024: Year of resolutions and relationships

There are few places in our lives that we need it as much as we do in our lives as we do in love and relationships, but it is rarely the space that any new year resolution addresses.
Image used for representation.
Image used for representation.

BENGALURU: In many of the Indian regional calendars, the advent of the New Year is tied to some celestial event or the other, and with that event signifying the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one, the celebrations also encourage the symbolic closure of the old and making something new. Food is cooked with a fresh harvest, for example, while the day before the New Year, unusable things are discarded or even burned. The first of January typically has no such celestial linkage, and yet, we typically use the symbolism of the new year to check in on where we are, who with and what we need for ourselves and each other.

There are few places in our lives that we need it as much as we do in our lives as we do in love and relationships, but it is rarely the space that any New Year resolution addresses. The top five New Year resolutions across a wide range of people tend to be about physical health such as eating right, exercising right and getting fitter, or about financial health as earning more or saving and investing more, or maybe a little about general well being such as learning something new, or being more social, and maybe even personal mental health like practising mindfulness or meditation.

Few people make and follow through on New Year resolutions related to love and relationships, not counting wishful fantasies like, ‘This year, I’ll fall in love’, or ‘By June, I will be married come what may’. What we are talking about is to think about how we are, how we are in a relationship and how we love significant others and ourselves.

If we ask each partner to write out a set of resolutions for the other so that they can be happier together, it might not be a very difficult task at all, but to look at oneself and ask what one should change so that there is greater happiness – that takes a fair bit of humility and personal accountability. It is hard for us to admit to ourselves that we are the problem and that we can do better. Even when we see ourselves as problematic, oftentimes we find it easier to either walk away from the relationship or just gloss over the issue rather than take responsibility.

We first need clarity on what’s going on in our loving relationships and how we are contributing to the challenges in it, then to see what we can take accountability for and change ourselves. It can’t be an if-then construct that demands the other changes as well as a precondition to one’s change. It has to be pretty much a unilateral change in one’s own.

Go on and check in on how you are in your relationship and how you love. Maybe you might find you could be kinder, or admit that at times you gaslight a partner, or are not as authentic as your partner might wish. Maybe it is a simple change like ensuring you’ll check in with your partner at least twice a day, or say ‘I love you’, a couple of times a week.

What resolution would you make about yourself for the sake of a greater experience in your relationship?

(The writer’s views are his own)

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The New Indian Express