This weekend, my boyfriend and I attended a Hindu wedding ceremony.
On Friday night, we went to the Vedic ceremony at the Hindu Sabha Temple. The room was full of circular tables for the guests to sit at and witness the marriage of the bride and groom.
My boyfriend and I stood at the back of the room, carefully contemplating which table to occupy. I saw one table that was empty and offered a great view because it was close to the front. I pointed to it and we headed over.
We sat down, and the ceremony began shortly after. But as a first-timer, I was so excited to see the ceremony that we moved a few seats over to get a better view. When I moved, I heard some huffing and puffing going on behind me. I turned my head to see that I was now in the way of a little girl’s view. The girl, about 11, gave me a series of dirty looks, making it obvious that she was annoyed with me.
At first, I felt bad for impeding her ability to see, but as she continued to huff and puff, obviously trying to make a point, I was reminded of a book I read in grade eight.
The book was called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. One of the seven habits that stuck with me throughout the years was how to be proactive instead of reactive. Essentially, had she had read the book, she would have known that in this case, rather than huffing and puffing and readying herself to blow a house down, she should’ve simply got up and switched seats.
With this reminder, I was able to watch the bride and groom perform the rites and marry each other-guilt free. My boyfriend and I even joked about it; every time we shifted in our seats we looked at each other, as if we feared for our lives and listened for her loud, exhaustive sighs.
The second night of the wedding was the reception. It took place in a beautiful banquet hall. After dinner and a few speeches, the DJ asked the crowd if we were ready to party, to which everyone in the room replied a roaring yes. But when the music started, I was reminded of just how much my boyfriend hates dancing.
Despite being ready to fly over to the dance floor, my date needed a couple drinks in his system before busting his moves. I learned very early on in our relationship that this is just how he is.
I was annoyed. I sat there wondering when on earth he was going to be ready, because I sure was.
“Go dance,” he suggested. I rolled my eyes. “By myself?” I shot back.
Just as I was about to huff and puff, I remembered the little girl from the night before. Just as fast as I was able to diagnose the problem of her being reactive instead of proactive, I was able to realize that I was being reactive, too.
I asked myself, “Are you upset that Renaldo isn’t dancing? Or are you upset because you’re not dancing?”
The issue the first night was that the little girl’s view had been blocked. Rather than get up and move to one of the many empty seats, she made a commotion to get our attention and hope that we would pity her and unblock her view.
The issue the second night was that I was ready to dance and my partner wasn’t. And so I too, sat there, getting ready to huff and puff, hoping he’d feel bad for me and get up and dance. But what type of dancing would that be?
On that second night, I headed over to the dance floor. I didn’t know anyone, but I knew how to dance. So I did. And after a few more drinks, he came and joined me and we danced together.
So many times, our emotions cloud our ability to identify the real issue. We’re unable to see what it is that’s really bothering us. And more importantly, we’re unable to see that the solution lies within us, and certainly within our control.
In both cases, the solution, and the lesson, was the same.
Sometimes, all you have to do is get up and move.