MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “challenges”

Let’s make a pact

You know those New Year resolutions we already forget in the second week of the year? Well, what if we were consistent in keeping them? Or rather, what if we set more feasible goals that were easier and more plausible to implement?

We have this hope – or expectation if you please – that what we’re doing on the first day of the year is how we’ll spend the rest of the year too. So, we put on our most elegant clothes, choose the company of our most loved ones, and try to be as happy as possible having fun. But is that illusion realistic? That we can maintain this atmosphere and emotion all 365 days through?

Life has its ups and downs and that is a reality we cannot ignore.

Stress is inevitable, as a psychiatrist friend highlights, we’re bound to be thrown off balance, but the emotional anxiety it is accompanied with is something we can be trained to manage.

When we allow ourselves to fall into unprecedented bursts of anger it’s because we’ve been suppressing too many feelings for too long, of the sentiment that our viewpoint is not being understood no matter how hard we try to explain ourselves. Panic attacks set in because we’re not able to promptly manage the stress that surrounds us. But what if we could train our minds to be as happy, calm, and serene as on that very first day of the new year? It’s not easy. But it’s not impossible either.

When something goes wrong, we are bombarded with a myriad of thoughts, mostly negative. But what we most lament is the time we lost. We feel that we are in a constant race against time in life and when things go south it’s the first thing that comes to mind and causes additional anguish. The time we allow to pass without doing the things that help us grow, things that we enjoy, being in places that calm us, being embraced and pampered by the people we love.

When we’re having fun, we don’t pay attention to how quickly time passes. When we’re not, that’s when it becomes more obvious. Because we miss things. We miss the things that bring a smile to our face, the people who make us laugh, but most of all the person we are when we’re with them.

What if we made a resolution to be stronger this year? To tolerate more but also less, to set healthy boundaries (which is always not as easy as it sounds), to laugh more and sustain yourself as best as you can?

What if we made a pact to make the most of every single passing minute?

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Peace from mind

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There is a concept called ‘emotional leakage’; it’s about letting your emotions overflow into your external behaviour. In simpler terms, you show exactly what you’re feeling.

Like this article notes: “For overcontrolled (OC) people who tend have a lot of impulse control, showing a flood of emotion externally and in a situation where others can see it, might be very uncomfortable or shame-provoking. Emotional leakage happens when an OC persons self-control has failed and their inner feelings are revealed and expressed more intensely than preferred. Emotional leakage isn’t a problem per se, except when it’s followed by self-criticism.”

This leakage, however, is often expressed in negative terms – in psychosomatic symptoms which our body uses to raise the alarm, to signify to us that something is wrong, that the entire system is not working properly and we need to change something.

If you think about it, when we’re happy, when we’re satisfied with work, we have a steady income, a stable life rhythm, everything seems to be going perfectly and the whole world appears wonderful in our eyes. But when an adversity strikes, when unexpectedly you’re forced to search for another way of surviving the increasing expenses and nothing seems certain, you view the world much differently and not so idyllic.

We’ve all been on both sides of this spectrum. But we tend to forget it or overlook it.

Happiness itself is fleeting,” says Rob Dial in this fantastic podcast titled “You don’t want to be happy”.

He explains that happiness is an emotion. And just like any emotion, it will be passing and gone eventually. Emotions change. So, what we want more than happiness is peace. Because peace is a state we enter in, and it’s harder to get in and out of a state rather than in and out of an emotion.

In the moments of our greatest happiness, we’re in our moments of greatest peace. Because we’re right there in that moment, thinking of nothing else. In our highest moments in life, we are so present in them that nothing outside them exists. You’re not thinking of your to-do list or of past mistakes or future challenges. Your mind simply goes quiet. And that constant story inside your head doesn’t seem to be screaming at you. That dumb story you’re telling yourself about who you are and why you’re that way is quiet in your highest moments. You reach a state of euphoria.

We want that peace from mind. From our thoughts. From our own self.

The mind is an extraordinary organ. It tries to protect us by fast forwarding about what’s going to happen and projecting into the future – it’s how we survive. It considers potential threats in order to keep us safe. But if you manage to focus in the present moment, your mind goes quiet.

The mind is an amazing yet complex tool. But we’re not taught how to use or control it. And instead, this tool becomes the master when it’s supposed to be our servant.

We have millions of ways to distract ourselves constantly – screens of all sorts, abundant information everywhere – it all stimulates our mind and keeps us wanting more. We become addicted to the temporary high.

However, there are various techniques to help you reach that much-needed state of peace. Meditation, for example, is tyring to get you to a state where you’re free from your mind. Allow yourself to calm down. It takes time, but it’s worth it once you get there.

Mindfulness is to place yourself in situations you find peace of mind as often as possible. Focus on that very moment and disregard everything else. It will help reduce stress, lengthen attention span, maximise awareness, decrease anxiety, etc. Our mind is like a computer – in some, like myself, there are at least two browsers running with a dozen tabs open in each. At some point, it will start being held back and running slower.  We need a restart every now and again to reboot and refuel.

Fear, stress, anxiety, and worry are all programmes of the mind. We need to cultivate silence as much as possible. To silence our thoughts, place things in order, and see things a bit more clearly.

If we take things one steady step at a time, perhaps they will work out more effectively and without harming our health in the meantime.

Dive head-on

We often lament that things change. But the truth is, they’re supposed to.  It’s how we improve, evolve, and grow.

Just think of the constant updates for all those apps that keep popping up every so often on your devices. It’s how they improve bugs and get the system working better.

We need the same for our lives too.

We need to be creating and choosing change for ourselves. To delve into challenges head-on so that we test ourselves and expand our limits.

Growth is always outside our comfort zone. It occurs when we dive into the unfamiliar, into unchartered waters, unprecedented situations, and the like. We will only find a different path if we tread into the unknown. And just maybe it will be the best decision we’ve ever made.

Rain in a playground

© Roger Bultot

Happy thoughts are colourful. Like waking up to sunshine pouring through your windows. They are as fun and joyous as a ride at a children’s playground. They emit positivity and grant you an aura that makes you vibrate at a higher level, boosting you with confidence.

It is easier to create that happy mentality than to maintain it, though.

The latter requires effort we often fail to acknowledge. Or we’re too tired to do the work.

When adversity happens, our minds become mystified like clouds preparing for rain.

And when the thunderstorm strikes, our thoughts bring chaos to our world.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Don’t spook

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We’ve been through a lot these past couple of years. Things we’d never even considered possible. Our way of life radically changed. Our routines, our habits, our ‘normality’. We’ve learned to expect nothing because everything can change from one minute to the next. And we’ve learned to anticipate the worst, because…well, we’ve seen it happen. We’ve seemingly lost hope but not the will to carry on.

But we’re spooked.

Because doubt and uncertainty have taken over us and our daily lives.

We spook too easy nowadays, precisely because we don’t know what to expect anymore.

We’ve been so used to the weird, the strange, the bad, the irregular, that when something ‘proper’ comes along, with no evident flaw, we’re scared. Afraid that like a bubble it will burst in our face and someone will be lurking around the corner ready to laugh.

We’re spooked because we know we deserve better but are too fearful of acknowledging that value in ourselves.

We’ve been through so much, yet we’ve survived it all.

Now we must show courage, in resisting the things we fear the most and walking straight through them. Good things are bound to happen. And perhaps everything we’re looking for is exactly on the other side of that paralysing fear.

When it happens to you

You see it occurring all around you. You read about it, you question if it is as exaggerated – over or under – as they say. Then as it begins to happen all the more, you wonder how come you’ve been off the hook for so long. You’re almost convinced that it’s just a matter of time until it happens to you.

Until it does.

And the initial surprise is shed by the question of “OK, so now what?”

You think you’re prepared, but you never are, until it happens to you.

The challenges we face in life are not the problems per se, but the way we allow ourselves to respond to them.

Sometimes we affect our own fate, and our mentality plays a great part in that.

Stay positive (unless it’s a Covid-19 test). Think positive. Attract positive vibes.

It’s so simple

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“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Let that sink in for a minute.

Think about it.

Really consider it.

Because the possibilities are endless.

If you didn’t allow your mind to block you, to obstruct you from moving outside your comfort zone, from doing something out of the ordinary, from taking a risk, a leap into the unknown, what would you truly be capable of?

If you’re not afraid, it’s usually not important, or not worth the risk.

If it scares you, do it. It’s the only way you’ll grow.

It’s as simple as that.

And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

It is so simple.

We just make things complicated.

A challenging heartfelt wish

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When the last day of a very strenuous year begins with ominous news, you begin to question the very essence of our existence. It’s not only about reviewing everything we’ve been through the past 365 days anymore, or the past two years with a global pandemic still hanging over us. It’s about rethinking our very take on life itself; our perspective on how we march ahead; of what we consider important and prioritise; of what we actually do to live a life; and what even constitutes a ‘life of plenty’, a ‘happy life’.

It’s easy to spread wishes here and there. It’s as simple as saying ‘good morning’ or asking ‘how are you?’. But is it heartfelt? How rarely do we nowadays mean what we say, especially when it has to do with wishing others the best?

We desire health and blessings, happiness and love, strength and success.

What we really want is serenity, someone to lift the mental exhaustion off our shoulders, the safety of having a family nearby – be it of relatives or friends; that secure feeling of knowing that whenever something – anything, no matter how big or small – happens, there is someone there to call. We want peace of mind and of heart, that tranquillity we are so lacking in this modern era, to be able to create the life we want, to pursue the targets we set, to be realistic about what we want to do in our lives, and to have the stamina to live it.

It’s challenging to give out wishes – heck, to even say anything at all – to those who face loss. But encouragement is vital, simply to rest assured that you are not alone; even at the darkest of times, there is always a hint of light somewhere, and true friends/family are there to remind you of it.

So, to lighten the mood on this day and for the sake of hopefully making this a much better year in all respects, here are some genuinely heartfelt wishes:

May all sorrows get locked, and you get showered with the best of the best blessings.

Try to relax in the new year… and don’t think about all of the resolutions you’re supposed to be starting!

Happy New Year! May the coming year be full of grand adventures and opportunities.

May this year be filled with new adventures, good fortunes and surprises for a better life.

May every moment of this year would be unique, filled with pure pleasure and each day comes out like exactly what you want…Happy New Year!

Paddle away

©Krista Strutz

He was searching for the opportunity to stand up on a surfboard and paddle away into the water. It was the new ‘trend’ and he was longing to try it.

A friend told him it was “like walking on water only better”.

And he was right.

Out there, your mind catches up with you.

It was Katharine Hepburn who said that “as one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move”. And he felt that, right then.

For if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

And that’s what we need.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Empathising difference

All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”, wrote Leo Tolstoy in the beginning of Anna Karenina in 1878.

Misery has many forms. And this is true for all people.

We don’t realise how insignificant or trivial our problems are until we hear what someone else is facing.

But what we often fail to acknowledge is that we don’t understand what other people are going through no matter how much they (try to) explain. It’s usually because we don’t really want to empathise. We’re better off worrying about our own microcosm-shattering problems: where to go out, what to do to pass the day, who to call for an outing, what to watch on TV, where to go on holiday. We quarrel among ourselves because we can’t coordinate to have fun, yet other people are facing evictions, money problems, job security; actual issues of survival.

It puts it all into perspective, doesn’t it?

Well, it should.

There is a truth in that in order to survive you need to be thick-skinned. You need to be somewhat insensitive, allowing things to slide, and refusing to be affected by them. If you’re too perceptive and impacted by everything, you’re the only one to lose.

Because no one really cares if you’re struggling – with work, with family, with pretty much anything. If you can’t follow suit in the fun and the expenditure, you’ll soon be cut off. And no one really cares what or how you work. It’s simple: if we don’t understand what you do, we’ll consider it as not very important, so you can always ‘leave it for later’ – but certainly not for the weekend or a holiday, or for when we already have plans.

We have a tendency to only view life through our own lenses. We obstinately refuse to walk in someone else’s shoes, or even make the slightest of efforts to share their perspective of reality.

And it’s a shame. Because united we could achieve so much. Instead, we ravage each other as if we’re trying to free up space in this world we’re destroying.

Instead of lifting each other up, we’re surreptitiously trying to tear each other down.

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