FA 5-Relationship Maintenance
Recently, I took time to call my older sister whom I do not speak to often. We have been hostile to each other ever since she degraded me in public for having failed my college exams. I decided to forgive her and renew our relationship, as she was the only older sister I had. She took long before answering the call and was aloof. However, as I went on requesting her pardon, she broke down and requested I excuse her too. She explained why she behaved in such a manner citing her state of depression as the main cause. She went on sharing her experiences with me. This was news to me, as I was ignorant of my sister’s psychological strain. At the end of the conversation, I was charged to make frequent calls to my relations and to overcome the judgmental attitude I have.
This activity greatly contributed to my happiness this week. Previously, I was ashamed of myself as I thought I had humiliated my family. According to Goffman, “These extremes are something a little more than just the ends of a continuum…” (1973: 254). Both of us were at the farthest ends of emotions; we had tremendous dislike for each other although we were still a family. This activity was therefore very useful to both of us as we were able to come from the extreme cynicism to sincerity of our inward conviction. My sister made me appreciate myself and realize that she had some personal unresolved issues. She was also so much relieved and happy at the end of our conversation. Having cleared the air, we parted on a cheerful mood. This experience confirmed the quote by Mark Twain in Fernandez and Finch (nd: ppt 3), “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up”.
Goffman, Erving. 1973. Performances. Pp. 253-258 in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.
oxford: Overlook Press.
Fernandez, Celestino and Jessica, Finch. Nd. Happiness & Attitude. University of Arizona Press.