MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “behavior”

People-watching

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It’s called “people watching”. When you sit for hours at a café on a sidewalk, gazing at people passing by, at the world unfolding, as you passively enjoy a cup of coffee.

It’s seemingly doing nothing. But more often than not, it’s actually very interesting to observe people as they go on their way unknowing that someone is watching them.

It’s not really gossiping or weirdness, it’s curiosity about our social behaviour.

People tend to act differently when they think no one is looking at them. We tend to be lighter – in our walk, our posture, our attitude in general. Because we’re not compelled by some unwritten code of conduct or some social norms we must adhere to. We even talk to ourselves, or adjust the rhythm of our steps to the music we’re listening to, or simply let our minds wander as we allow ourselves to automatically go on our daily routines.

Watching people is enlightening. Because every person has a character of their own. Sometimes even more than one. Because it’s that side you don’t usually see that really tells a lot about a person.

It’s that third face you show to no-one that is your truest form.

A kind of bug

© Miles Rost

When someone asks you to describe yourself, what do you focus on? Your achievements, personality, character? We often regard ‘me’ people as egocentric, narcissistic or show-offs.

Yet, we usually undervalue our successes and we don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve. We don’t promote ourselves enough. And it is usually only when we hear others talking (positively) about us that we truly realise how much we’ve accomplished. When we view ourselves in the eyes of the right people, we comprehend the greatness we’re capable of.

But in the end, it’s all marketing: you’re either a ladybug or simply a bug.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

A battle of histrionics

He had been accustomed to tantrums since he was a child.

His histrionics were the key to getting his own way.

They continued as he got older.

People would give him what he wanted to simply stop the wailing.

Until she came along.

He had met his match.

Also part of Weekend Writing Prompt #181

Right is right regardless

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We, people, are too concerned about appearances. About what other people think. About how we may seem to others; the image we portray.

We are often more concerned about the impression we give, than about acting right and with integrity. We lose ourselves to please others, but, worse, to fit into social confinements.

There are certain ways of acting that we can realise on our own if they are right or not. No matter the norms of social behaviour, we can discern if it is acceptable to shout in public, to speak badly to service workers, to be rude to anyone. They are part of those things that frankly should be common sense.

But what most people fail to comprehend is that just because everyone does something doesn’t make it right or even acceptable.

Similarly, just because certain people act in a similar manner around everyone – e.g. flirting or being overly effusive – doesn’t make that behaviour acceptable or appropriate either.

There are some things we need to respect when it comes to friendships and social conduct.  We need to take into account the people we have before us and adjust our manners accordingly.

But essentially, it is one single thing: don’t do unto others what you don’t want done to you. If you want to be respected, treat the people next to you with respect. It will elevate you much more than anything else you could say or do.

Remember, “right is right even if no one is doing it. Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it” (St Augustine).

A rattling realisation

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It is said that it takes something rattling to reveal who you truly are and what you want. But it takes something equally dramatic to shake you into realising who you truly have around you. We don’t really know the people in our lives. We only know as much as they allow us to see.

We often spend years thinking of a person as our closest ally, someone with whom we share our darkest secrets, our most intimate thoughts and our sincerest dreams. Only for a time to come – an incident to occur – that will serve as a slap in the face and we will come to see that they were nothing of what we thought. People we consider friends turn out to be snakes – deceitful and sly, sometimes even stabbing us in the back while all the while smiling widely and offering us support.

These are the worst kind of people; those who act as close associates in life, but tend to behave in the exact opposite way of how they advise you. They are usually the ones who blame others to you, yet hypocritically befriend them as if nothing ever occurred. The ones who see how others have wronged you but instead of – ethically, at least – taking your side, continue to have more communication and flattery-exchange with the former than with you.

There are people whose behaviour you cannot understand simply because it is completely contrary to the way you would act. Not everyone shares the same mindset or beliefs. And certainly not everyone has the same heart as you. Perhaps that is the most difficult to acquiesce or apprehend. That sometimes there is simply no answer to the question ‘why’ and we just need to accept the reality of things, let go, and move on.

If anything, for our own peace of mind.

If you left…

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You told me that if you left, it would be because something made you; some higher force pushed you through the door. But I don’t believe that is possible. I am convinced that the actions we do are the result of our conscious decisions. We are the ones controlling what we do. Our behaviour stems from ourselves, our thoughts and our inner peace.

You told me you were suffocating. That you couldn’t continue like this. I held you in my arms and assured you I was here, I wasn’t going to go anywhere, we would get through things together and everything would be alright.

You seemed like you believed me. Then. When you fell asleep in my arms and you woke up the next day telling me that it was the calmest sleep you had had for days.

You smiled and the whole room lit up.

I missed your smile. I still do. That cheeky, childish smile that transferred the glow into your eyes. You were genuinely happy with me once. We were genuinely happy.

I always thought ‘together’ would be our happy ending. I never saw anything different. In the planning I made for future endeavours, everything in my life included you. I thought the same was true for you. How could I have been so wrong?

And then you just left. And you took the pieces you broke my heart into with you. I never understood how people could behave so coldly. Perhaps because I could never bring myself to act as such.

And then I sat there blaming myself. I couldn’t understand if the problem was not doing enough for you or rather caring too much.

A few days passed and you returned as if nothing happened. As if you hadn’t broken me. You never told me what happened inside you, if anything. What had occurred during that time. What you were thinking of now.

But I can’t return to how things were. Because it is not the same anymore. Now I’m the one who feels suffocated by my own thoughts, my own unanswered questions. And you still refuse to say anything.

I never understood how someone could just get up and leave. Until now. Sometimes to save yourself you need to let go of everything dragging you down. I gave you my heart and you shred it to pieces. I can no longer feign that did not happen.

I’d never thought I would be the one to leave. But there seems to be nothing else left for me to do.

He left the note on her nightstand and walked out the door.

A forbidden apple and a box

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It all started with an apple and a box. Both forbidden.

Because had Eva not eaten the forbidden fruit, disobeying God’s orders, she and Adam would not have been thrown out of Paradise – the Garden of Eden. Similarly, if Pandora had not opened the box she was given as a present on condition that she would never look inside it, the world would not have been filled with all the terrible things it contained: illness, misery, despair, malice, greed, old age, death, hatred, violence, cruelty and war. The only thing she managed to keep inside the box when she hastily closed it was hope. It can be likened to the way we as humans behave to the Earth that has given us plenty in abundance, yet we brought upon ourselves harm by destroying everything valuable and genuine that exists: nature, animals, humanity, even our own dignity. And all we have left is hope.

People are always enticed by the forbidden. They are tempted by everything prohibited and actually enjoy doing the opposite of what they are told. Perhaps it is out of curiosity, or a reaction, an act of revolution, a desire to stand tall and appear in control of things, a show of strength. For various reasons, we wish to dare what we are told we shouldn’t. We want to see for ourselves if the forbidden fruit is indeed the sweetest.

When something is prohibited, it registers in our mind as most important because we focus our attention on it, searching for the reasons why it is placed out of limits. It thus becomes something we ‘must’ do. At the same time, we believe that something that is not readily available and is more difficult to attain has also a greater value, so we are willing to reach extremes to possess it – e.g. consider the price paid for objects at an auction.

But, perhaps the most important reason why we like to chase after the non-permissible, is because we don’t like to be told what we can and cannot do. We don’t like to feel we are controlled in any way. This behavioural resistance explains why we stubbornly refuse to comply with various laws or our need to carry out rowdy and intense protests every so often.

Beyond that though, we actually enjoy the game of hide and seek, the adrenaline rush from hunting the theoretically unattainable, the yearning of wanting something that does not belong to you or that you are not entitled to have.

And here comes another issue of human weakness: we are rarely happy with what we have and we are always looking for something else or something different. We get bored easily and we are difficult to satisfy. Perhaps if we truly observe what it is we actually have around and inside us, we would realize that we are richer and more complete than we would like to believe. And that some of our possessions may be those which are forbidden to others.

The actions we do voluntarily

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Every time you bend down to pat a cat or a dog, to take care of a wounded bird or an animal that needs you, you grow taller as a person”.

Daisy’s uncle was a vet and he had witnessed many examples of human cruelty. Behaviour he could neither explain nor understand.

He used it to teach his niece about life in general.

People always say a lot. They announce promises they don’t intend on keeping. And make statements simply for pleasing others. They tend to speak what they believe others want to hear”.

As Daisy grew older, she understood more of what he was trying to say.

It is people’s actions you should look for. How they behave when they have nothing to gain in return, what they do to keep you happy. It’s their actions that define who they are. Not the words they say”.

With the onset of her first heartbreak, Daisy realised that it is the simplest of things that can touch a person’s heart. Just like the attention you give to a stray, people too want to feel loved and cared for.

It is the “good mornings” and “good nights” you exchange with someone you love regardless the distance that is between you.

The fact that you tell them how much you miss them and all of a sudden they appear shortly after unannounced at your door so you won’t feel that pain any more.

It’s that hug you so long for after a difficult day when you feel broken and insecure.

It’s the things you do without being asked that show how much you really care.

Her uncle used to say, “In every relationship, be it with humans or with animals, the magic only lasts as long as you maintain the effort and believe in it. Indeed, ‘forever’ only has the duration you assign to it.

Life is the moments we spend being happy. Everything else is just a waste of time”.

Cat-like

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Women are like cats. They like attention but not too much and on their terms, are independent and self-sustainable, move around a room like they own it, like to sleep as much as possible, like to cuddle but only when they want to, and can disappear for hours doing their own thing with no-one really knowing what that is.

Women are like cats in that they can claw their way out of a fight, just as easily as they can start one.

But most of all, they are like cats in the sense that they can reciprocate the love you show them and be the source of your serenity.

Charity was the most cat-like girl Jessop had ever met. He could almost swear to hear her purr when she fell asleep in his arms. She fought for her autonomy and demonstrated that she could handle her affairs on her own. But every now and again she would crawl to his side and press into his chest for a tight hug, something that would make all the troubles she didn’t share just go away.

Jessop liked that she was dynamic and feisty. But he loved it more when she became the vulnerable, chirpy girl he fell in love with. After all, every man adores being the protector of his girl.

But over the past weeks, something happened. It was as if the cat inside her curled up and hid from the world. She wouldn’t talk much, her smile had faded and she barely ate. She wouldn’t respond to his questions, even getting agitated by them and would retreat to her bed, sleeping more than the usual hours.

One morning, Jessop woke up to find a note on his bedstand:

If I show you I need you, take it seriously. It means more than just the words you understand. I do whatever I can to never have to depend on anyone, to avoid showing weakness and fear. But if I tell you I need you by my side, it means I am trusting you to catch me when I fall”.

The note was stained with droplets of tears.

Jessop sprung out of bed, got dressed and left.

He knew where she was. Cats always have a safe place. Somewhere they think no-one knows about, but if you follow them closely they’ll let you find them.

Unconditional true bonds

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She woke up excited but didn’t know why. It was the third day in a row that little Madeleine woke up before the alarm clock, bright and early without any particular reason. Her nights had been tormented by strange nightmares whose signs she could not read in the morning. But she always tried to retain her optimism, just like her parents taught her. After all, if you smile at life, it will eventually smile back.

In her backyard, the stray cat she had taken under her protection, provided for and fed for the past few months, had a surprise for her: three adorable little kittens. They were all running around playfully in the garden, under the watchful eye of mama-cat.

Madeleine couldn’t help but grin widely at the sight. She was thrilled that her cat family had expanded. It meant more friends, more living creatures with whom to create an unconditional bond.

Mama-cat walked over to where Madeleine was sitting watching them. She meowed and comfortably sat in front of the child’s legs. She began to purr as soon as Madeleine touched her back and began to pet her. A short while after, the three kittens joined in. They were fluffy little creatures, full of awe and excitement with the world.

She looked as they stared into her eyes, their small eyeballs gleaming in the sunlight. If only it were as easy to form unconditional, mutual and lasting bonds with people.

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