Tag Archive | Coexistence

Your Space – My Space – Our Space

Is the space around you all about yourself or does it have space for others to co-exist too? Or is it all about others and not about you?

There’s nothing wrong with thinking about the other, so long as there’s space for you. There’s nothing wrong with thinking about oneself, so long as there’s place for others too. For mutual coexistence, it is important that we are aware of each other’s space. It is even more important that we respect the spaces. As we are aware, our freedom ends where the other person’s nose begins. But sometimes we think that we can twist and turn the other person’s nose if it doesn’t match our requirements. That is not only possible but also disrespectful and harmful for a relationship.

Think about all the environments where we exist. At work, because we manage people as leaders, do we in the name of feedback and career growth expect people to change their very nature to suit our space?

What about at home, would it be upsetting if someone doesn’t eat the way we want or talk according to our criteria? What do we do then? Do we want to change them?

People may or may not be mindful of your space, but you can be. And if you are, you can ensure that your space is your space. No one needs to give you your space so long as you know to graciously occupy your space. For that, the first thing is to accept, recognise and respect yourself as an individual and that your space is just as significant as anyone else is in this world. If we keep letting others take our space, they will always continue. If you want it to stop, it is vital to communicate that you would appreciate some space. No one takes offence to that. People don’t feel hurt if you tell them you respect your space. They may feel hurt if we tell them we want their space or that we disrespect their space. People may not magically realise that they have been encroaching your space. But you can make that magic happen. A gentle, yet firm communication on what’s important about it will go a long way in establishing a respectful space. Where there’s space, there’s growth, freedom and respect.

You can be gracious of other people’s spaces too. If you are having conversations, is it all about you or what you want to talk about? Or are you mindful of different people and their interests too? There was a man who once said, “I am sorry, I have been talking about myself for a long time. Now let me pause and you can talk about me”. 🙂

Are your jokes WITH people or AT people? When we joke with people, we aren’t making fun of them or their identity. When we have fun at other’s expense, we may cross the lines of respectful boundaries and attack a person’s core self or identity. That no longer remains our space.

Don’t you like to be around people who respect you and give you your space to exist freely? Whatever you want others to be, you can be an example and lead the way. No one likes to be around a person who is always about themselves and wants others to dance to their tunes. They may find temporary acquaintances or fair-weathered friends but not the ones who stand by through all weathers. Sooner or later, life catches up. If you are all about yourself, you will have no one but yourself to care for you. And I m sure none of us want to be in that state.

When we correct, suggest, advice, get angry or irritated at people – it is good to be aware if that is because they are not matching our criteria or if there’s genuinely something wrong with what they are doing or saying. If we can’t respect kids and give them their space to make their choices, their mistakes and have their learning, how would they learn to respect us and our space in our old age? If we can’t respect our elders and their space and their limitations, how could we expect others to be mindful when we age? Can we give people the liberty to exist freely?  Just because someone is my spouse, friend, child, parent, colleague or subordinate, they don’t have to be someone they don’t wish to be. And just because we are one of the above, we don’t have to cease to exist what we truly wish to be or have the potential to be.

Let’s speak to the extent that we remember to listen
Let’s listen to the extent that we remember to speak
Let’s live in a way that we can co-exist
Let’s co-exist in a way that we can love!


Or we have And

How often have we found ourselves stressed because we had to choose between one or the other? Those cross roads where we had to choose only one road that might take us some place….

I used to sweat on this – those difficult choices and their consequences. I always thought it had to be this OR that, black OR white, me OR them, right OR wrong. And true enough, I added quite a bit of stress to my life thanks to constant crossroads and choices. Until one day when a dear friend spoke to me about the ‘And Strategy’. It was like a breath of fresh air. It’s like making the best of both worlds. I tried this and it has been a fulfilling experience, to say the least. I realized I was, until then operating with ‘Or Strategy’.

I often felt stressed for having to choose between two things that I loved equally – like learning to dance versus learning to paint. Suddenly, I applied ‘And Strategy’ – I decided to learn both. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is. Yes, time does not permit me to attend classes for both. So, I learn piano in a professional environment while I learn to paint at home through YouTube videos. It is delightful to be able to do both the things that I love. I did not have to let go of one thing to do the other!

There was another decision about working in a corporate versus being a trainer. I just could not choose. They both were important. I decided to do both! They have been wonderfully coexisting for a while now. Love it! I can’t imagine how big a decision it would have been if I had to choose one.

When my opinions were different from others….

In a different angle, I used to think that if someone is right; someone else has to be wrong. It has to be true or false, right or wrong!  I then realized that it may be appropriate with facts but not with people and their perception. I can be right and you can be right too!  And someone else can be right too. They are just different perspectives that can certainly coexist. For black to be black, there’s a definite contribution from white!

What’s my right could be someone else’s left. And what’s left can take you to some place right too.

There’s just one life. Wherever possible, I first check if “And” strategy would be possible. If I can make it work, nothing like it. It has worked in more places than I ever imagined it could. The few places where it was not be feasible I went for the “Or” strategy gracefully.

It’s not that ‘And’ is better than ‘Or’ or vice versa. Both have their own merits depending on situations. What is important is that there are certain times when we sweat trying to make a choice between this or that when both could be possible. Life is not all about difficult choices. It is sometimes about having the gumption to understand that there are more roads that lead to Rome than we know and that we could use a road and sea and air in parts to reach Rome.

An attitude of coexistence:

‘Or Strategy’ is good. At times, ‘And’ is better. It doesn’t always have to be this or that. Coexistence is the name of the game…and “And” is the word that represents our coexistence. There’s a joy when we can co-exist’, when certain dreams can co-exist. People who have this attitude of coexistence (‘and strategy’ as a way of life) will have the attitude of inclusiveness. Their default thinking will be ‘how can I do both?’ and that only expands their true potential and helps them discover that they had all the resources already within to be able to do both.

Once, Goddess Kali appeared before Tenaliraman and asked him to choose between a bowl of milk and curd. Kali told him that the bowl containing milk represented knowledge, and the bowl containing curd represented money. After thinking carefully, he asked the Goddess how a choice was possible when he did not know the taste of either the milk or the curd. So Goddess Kali extended both the bowls to Tenaliraman, who instantly grabbed the bowls and drank the curd and the milk. Goddess Kali was annoyed at being outwitted. She asked him why he drank out of both the bowls. Raman replied that knowledge without wealth was useless and wealth without knowledge was dangerous. The Goddess was pleased with Tenaliraman and blessed him with both wealth and knowledge. He was undoubtedly an exemplar in adopting ‘And’ Strategy.

Say, when the journey AND the destination can be good, why just choose one of them?

Now, if you are thinking between ‘And Strategy’ and ‘Or Strategy’ which one to adhere in life…It could be both – depending upon unique scenarios.