It is very common to hear people say, “Life is all about adjustments. Adjusting in personal and professional life”. This doctrine/narrative transits from one generation to its generation next and so on. It has come to be the Axiom on which entire dynamics of the life of an individual is supposed to be based. It would not be in a sense immodest of me to suggest that people make such statements as a matter of routine, without understanding their full import, like a pre-programmed robot. How far removed is this Hypothesis of Adjustment from the truth of life’s dynamics is sought to be explained in the lines to follow.

Art via themindsjournal


The usage of this word “Adjustment” naturally alludes to a Reference Point/The Ideal as in absence of the latter the former has no existence because its usage ceases to be. Not to forget the context within which it is spoken. Every individual has a private and public life. The domain of private life encompasses one’s nucleus and extended family and friends and that of public life one's place of work.

In one's private life, when an individual claims to have adjusted (compromised) his/her principles/outlook/thought process in order to maintain relationships; he/she at once catapults his/her personality/ whole being to the exalted position of ‘The Ideal’ that, in his/her opinion- everyone around should have strived to reach, but the failure of those around to reach ‘The Ideal' necessitated him/her to “adjust"- that is to lower his/her pedestal to the level of lesser mortals. This mindset smacks of arrogance born out of ignorance about the world/surroundings one lives in and the body in which “Being" is encapsulated; the ignorance is about the fact and truth that his/her body is as heterogeneous as this Universe is and therefore no set/group of animate/inanimate beings could be expected to be homogeneous.

In public life- restricting it to one's work place- there can be no “adjusting" as far as one's work is concerned; the work that one has been trained to do is to be carried out as one's Duty at the place of work and in discharging Duty there can be no “adjusting”. This is as per Sri Krishna’s Upadesh to Sri Arjun in Srimad Bhagwat Geeta. Therefore, when one grumbles about having to “adjust" in office, it, this adjustment, sure is for some personal Gain and not Loss. This willingness to “adjust" is the precursor to growth of financial corruption and decline of professional integrity. While one may lay blame at the doorstep of the official environment propelled by the establishment for such undesired “adjusting", yet it's the willingness to fall in line that is innate in the individual which facilitates this act. Not all fall prey to such machinations because this Creation-of which all are an inseparable part- is not homogeneous.

Art via themindsjournal

To accept the other person as he/she is, is not a part of the process called Submission or Adjustment. It is wisdom for, it opens up the process of interaction and communication that are so essential for a lasting relationship. It is not negation but recognition of the identity of the other person whose attitude and thought process is deemed to be at variance from an accepted Normal in the family and this holds true for all relationships like, parent- child, husband-wife, brother-brother, sister-sister and brother-sister, etcetera. It opens up channels for mutual exchange of ideas that may go on to enrich the mind of each with newer perspectives. It binds the relationship between the two- relationship that doesn't lack content- as free exchange of ideas on any matter of mutual concern leaves no scope for grievance generation much less its accumulation.

In contrast to this wisdom, to elevate oneself to being “The Ideal" is to rob the other person of his/her identity and choke the communication channels for an honest exchange of thoughts on matters concerning both. If the other person is subjected to an environment wherein it is mandatory to reach “The Ideal” then the mutual relationship between two individuals reduces to that of the one between the Man and Machine in which the Operator sets the Ideal (Reference point) for the machine to reach. The communication is always one way and in the form of a command. While the command may get executed, the relationship reduces to the one between Master and Slave much like to the one between Control button and Robot. It's bound to break-up the day/moment the constraints that held it together cease to be.

Art via Pinterest

Acceptance not Adjustment

But not an appreciable % of relationships are known to have broken. And, the fact that families-nucleus and extended- continue to have a healthy existence may be more due to “Acceptance” factor than the “Adjustment" one. For, one cannot keep lifelong adjusting with the circumstances without reaching the snap-point because every animate being has a threshold for all that it can endure, face or confront. Even for the machines the operator cannot keep changing the set-point (adjustment) without degrading its performance.

While to accept the other into one's fold may be a matter of choice and discretion yet backed by an intent to cultivate healthy relationship, the wisdom ordains that the other be accepted as he/she is. Therefore, life is not about Adjustments but about displaying wisdom to harness transparent and healthy relationships.