12th February 2005, 5am
Mahabaleshar (7th Day after our wedding)
I woke up to a strange sound.
I saw my husband Swapnil sitting on the floor with his eyes closed. He was doing Bhastrika a form of breathing exercise where both inhalation and exhalation are forced. For the next half an hour I saw him do different breathing exercises and yogasanas. After an hour he pulled me closer and said, “This is my morning routine. Hope you don’t mind.”
Wow! He is so health conscious, I thought to myself.
However as years passed I started hating this habit. Every day Swapnil spent at least an hour exercising and then he left for office. I spent my mornings in the kitchen preparing breakfast and lunch. As he woke up early, he preferred to sleep early. I worked in shifts so we ended up meeting each other only on weekends.
During weekends I was busy with the household chores and chose to catch up on my lost sleep. This meant no connection and no conversation. We both weren’t investing in our relationship and gradually we felt disconnected. We ended up fighting over trivial things and sometimes I felt marrying Swapnil was the worst decision of my life.
However things began to shift when I decided to walk on the path of personal development and came across this statement from my mentor, ‘What do you value the most? List it down’
At that point of time, this was my list
‘Are your behaviours in sync with your values?’ my mentor asked
That’s when I paid close attention to my values and my behaviours. I valued freedom the most but I never stood up for myself and operated from that space of freedom. I had placed my family in the second position and my relationship with Swapnil on the 6th position. Naturally I wasn’t spending time with him, instead I’d keep dusting the house, cleaning and cooking meals (back to back) and doing over-time in my office. My health was last on this list and I was already exhausted most of the time.
‘What do you value the most?’ I asked Swapnil.
At that point of time, his list looked like this
Health topped the list and his behaviour was aligned to his value. All his behaviours were in sync with his values. That meant congruency and when he operated from a congruent state of mind he was able to express himself in a better way.
However I was incongruent. My values, behaviours and expectations were conflicting. This led to all the chaos. We sat down and decided to work on the alignment. I understood that he values health the most so instead of nagging, I gave him that space to exercise and meditate. This gave him fulfilment and he was emotionally available for me.
He realized that I value freedom the most so he gave me the space to do and decide things on my own. This freedom fulfilled me and I was in a better space mentally. I shifted my health to the second position and relationship to the third. When we gifted each other what we valued the most, our respect for each other grew and the love strengthened.
We started observing a deep shift in the way we connected and communicated. This led to fewer disagreements and added a deeper meaning to our lives.
Each one of us has a certain set of values and if our behaviours and decisions are not in alignment with those values, the conflict arises. As a therapist since last six years, I’ve worked with couples and families and introduced them to this value system. Families and couples who listed down their values and worked on the alignment, consistently, have experienced a shift in their interpersonal relationships.
As an organization you can use this exercise to build better performing teams. You can also use this to set and achieve your goals. I’ve detailed this process of aligning your values with goals in my YouTube video.
If you too want to experience such a deep shift in your relationships, then I invite you to try this exercise. If you need any guidance feel free to drop an email to email@example.com
The comment box is a great place to start the conversation. Share your views on this in the comments and let’s take this discussion ahead.
Lots of love and gratitude