How much does your neighbours’ third cousin’s uncle’s opinion matter to you?

Love this quote by Will Smith.

“Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind and feelings and emotions. ” – Will Smith (Link)

And of course people who do care, would not want to control their loved ones’ minds and feelings. Do you agree? And yet, we seem to hear much more about how much a willingness to (pretend to?) ‘be somebody else’ is an indication that we care.

Like if one person likes wearing jeans but agrees to live in saris, is that an indication of their devotion to the person who (for some reason) wants to see them in saris? But why does one person wearing a sari (or jeans, salwar kurta etc) makes another person happy? Does it really make them happy?


22 thoughts on “How much does your neighbours’ third cousin’s uncle’s opinion matter to you?

  1. If people don’t accept you the way you are, they won’t like you more when you try to “adept”. The problem is not you, the problem is them. Once you have removed the clothes they dislike, they will find something else to critisize about you, if only to justifiy their own way of living.


    • Exactly what I was going to say. If they need you to change yourself in order to like you, then they aren’t really liking you, are they; they’re liking this *other* person who *isn’t* you.

      As for your actions making them happy, I admit, once in a while, its nice to do things for people, but not at the expense of losing yourself on the way.


  2. I totally agree with you IHM. I rather be myself. There are days when i wish i could just speak my mind– especially to my in-laws. With my parents i do speak my mind, with my in-laws–it becomes one game–i moment i speak my mind i’m labelled as ungrateful, dominating, and oh so many adjectives.
    I told my in-laws I didn’t want a saree for my sis-in-laws upcoming marriage, my reasons were simple–i don’t like sarees, have too many already(all my wedding ones) and didn’t see any reason why they should spend more.
    My MIL bought a 21k saree for me. I was so bugged, and i said 2-3 times that i didn’t want it. Apparently by doing that my FIL feelsI’ve insulted them. I should do my duty and not argue.


  3. Very True… I have been in a relationship where i changed a lot untill one day realisation hit me. He was born and bought up in a very conservation environment where every single details of the family members day has to be narrated to each other. No, i am not saying that it is not a bad thing, but none the less he never waited till i was free. I had to call up and inform him where i am going , with whom, for how much time. I had to call him up to ask if he had lunch/dinner and vice versa. Initially i felt really trapped with all this, but eventually got used to it.

    And, one fortunate day realised that he is trying to mould me his way and i am lossing my self.

    So i understood that even if my parents care for me, they never control me in any ways…


  4. Well unfortunately we live in a society where evaluating someone else is kind of like a part of ones daily entertainment. These evaluations lead to perceptions which in turn leads to an opinion forming among the society about that person. So one needs to unfortunately care about what people around them think or else you end up sending the wrong signals and this is all part of social living.

    I try to say that i don’t care what other people think of me and do what i want to do and say what i want to say but all of this ends up having a profound impact on the people around me. So even if i don’t care about what effect it has on me I need to care about the effect it has on the people around me since I care about them.


  5. my neighbours’ third cousin’s uncle’s opinion does NOT matter to me.. but then, i am living in an urban environment. I walk around the house in a Tshirt and capris when i visit my in-laws place. I do that, because they are good people, who dont really care what i wear or not wear.. when i go to my parent’s place, i wear salwar kameez.. because my dad is very traditional, and he gets upset if i’m not at least in traditional clothes. no one in our locality under 40 wears sarees except for special occasions, so that is lucky for me, i guess.

    yes, i wear salwar suits when i go to the market.. jeans and a kurti when i travel by train.. pretty western clothes if i’m going somewhere upscale. I Do wear these depending on the destination.. but not because of what people would think..

    I dont care what people think about my clothes, because my husband does not care either.. if my husband were a stickler for imagery(dikhawa) , maybe i would have more fancy traditional clothes.. yes, my family and its image in my locality does not matter to me, because me and my husband takes these decisions together.

    a great deal can be said about choosing your husband wisely. if i plan to be living with him 24/7 (or whatever fraction thereof) for the rest of my life, i need him to be someone i can be myself with.. and i am glad i was lucky to find him.

    and this is one reason i strongly urge every couple to start a nuclear family 🙂


  6. This post reminds me of the lines from Jagjit Singh Chitra Singh song “Aey Hain Samjhanay Log Hain Kitnay Dewanay Log ……..Jaan Ke Sab Kuch, Kuch Bhe Na Janay Hein Kitnay Anjanay Log ……..Waqt Pe Kaam Nahi Aatay Hain Ye Janay Pehchany Log
    Ab Jab Mujhko Hosh Nahi Hay Aaey Hein Samjhany Log


    • You’re right. I have noticed it too. I also noticed that people who Judge and comment harshly on others are also uptight and never really have any fun because they try so hard to feel “morally” superior for doing the right things. (Notice they don’t do the right thing because it is right but because they like feeling they are morally superior for doing so)

      Must be so exhausting. Don’t know how they do it.


  7. Well, human social development has always stressed on public acceptance, so nearly everything we do in life is about edging towards that acceptance. This includes the clothes we wear, the language we use, how we eat, the schools we sent our kids to, the cars we drive, the homes we buy and how we furnish it, etc.

    An example : there are a few states/counties in the US where it’s legal for a woman to be topless where a man can (example : beaches and pools), but it’s extremely rare for a woman to venture to do so (except when highly intoxicated).

    If I was a woman in India and living in a city where every other woman always wore a sari, I may feel a strong urge to .follow suit even I wasn’t comfortable wearing one. Of course I am hypothesizing here.


  8. Some people are compulsive controllers and try to self-actualize themselves by extending the circle wider and wider, even beyond their family and friends. So they will tell you how not to be doing whatever you are doing, at times just to keep tabs on you and at others just to pare you down to their own level or even below that if possible. Its best to stay away from such malicious influences.


  9. With respect to this topic, I believe the human kind is divided into two categories: 1. With low self-esteem: Such people always want to seek acceptance from others, get their emotions validated from others, tend to live off other peoples’ energies (good or bad), in short before doing anything, prefer to believe what the society will say and not what the outcome would be. 2. Rational and/or free-spirited: Such people think logically, have a solution, and tend to be more content with what life has offered. Its a personal choice of which category one will want to fit in.

    In my personal opinion “neighbours’ third cousin’s uncle’s opinion” or “society” or “log” do not exist in real life, its something that our mind makes up to give our decision-making process another perspective. What say? (tongue-in-cheek) 😉


  10. I don’t give a damn about most people’s opnion, but we live in a society where everybody else matters above your personal happiness and this does not apply to traditional societies only.

    In traditional societies, this percoaltes into marriages, women’s rights etc and in modern societies it goes into your clothes, job, money, car, house, bf/gf etc.

    It upto you and your confidence in yourself to ignore others if does not add value to your life and use it effectively


  11. I think it’s the human condition to obsess over how another person see you and what may be the neighbour’s uncle’s third nephew in India becomes the peer group/workplace in the West. That being said, the consequences of not pandering to what’s expected are vastly different depending on where you are , and those consequences, rather than whom you are pandering to, ultimately help you decide if you are going to conform or not.

    My own sibling thinks my own parents opinion of me should be mattering more to me- so I’m not the best person to comment 🙂


  12. I have the same quote by Will Smith IHM. You said it right. And you know what? The more I see of life, the more I age, the less I give a damn about what people think.

    On an unrelated note ( or probably related dunno) I have realised how all of us reach our own definition of feminism. In our own way and our own time. Not a second more, not a second less. And how I am turning out to be the feminist who is all pink ribbons and fluffy dresses and a lot of ferocious growls and bites when needed.

    And how having a soulmate who stands by you in all this, makes it all the more confusing for ‘them’.
    No broken marriage, no muscular feminst, no bra burning. 😉


  13. “Log kya kahenge” – how often do you hear this in Indian homes? “are, itna sasta fan liya hain, log kya kahenge? ladki abhi tak maike mein hain, log kya kahenge? kya, shaadi nahin huyi abhi tak, log kya kahenge? Aurat hokar naukri pe jaa rahe ho, hamaare khaandaan mein auratein ghar ke baahar kadam nahi rakti. Tum kaam pe jaana chaahte ho? log kya kahenge?” So, you see, everybody’s opinion on what we do in our lives matters to us. As a society, we care a lot about our image in public, try to adhere to societal norms to make sure we are ‘sanskaari log’. varna log kya kahenge? I know of an acquintance who likes a girl and would like to marry her and it is a mutual feeling. But the guy is finding it hard to convince his family members about the girl because theyhis immediate family thinks he did not involve the elders in the family and is trying to make a decision on this own and above all the girl is few months older to him. His family is worried that if their estranged aunt and uncle and other elders whom they do not even meet on daily basis will be offended if they are not informed of this. Girl likes the boy, boy likes the girl, but the aunt will be offended, so they have to convince her!!!!!! I give up. And yes, I love Will Smith’s quote. We need not care of about what others think or say as long as we know we are right.


  14. I dont understand how wearing red bindi instead of black bindi just because I’m married now and wearing gold n sarees(no black again) all the time because neighbours dont want to see me without them, makes my inlaws happy. If doing and wearing whatever they want makes them happy, shouldn’t they make me happy by them wearing tight top/Tshirt with skinny jeans? Am I not entitled to be happy?


    • I sometimes feel like some day they’ll change me completely so I’ll dress and behave exactly like them, so that I’ll turn into my MIL or my SIL, so then it would be like my husband is married to his mother or sister. When I told this to my husband when the entire household forced me to wear kilos of gold, flowers, bangles (everything should be in bulk and as per their taste) when I got dressed in a simple but elegant saree n pearls, and my MIL commented about my mother who too got dressed simple in my wedding reception, do you know what I got? A nice hard slap on my face! n to think he was my best friend in college(may be I thought so) and told me I could wear anything I wanted after marriage, I simply feel so disgusted with myself for being so stupid n naive.


  15. Pingback: An email: “I cannot stay in this marriage for society anymore. But I’m so so scared of what people will say.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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