MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “challenges”

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.

Zitti e Βuoni

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People often have a weird tendency of not saying what they want at the time they’re supposed to. We tend to come up with all the right comebacks and arguments much after an incident occurs; the so-called l’esprit d’escalier (the predicament of thinking of the perfect reply too late).

Often it is much easier to say nothing in fear of provoking an argument. And as kids, we are usually told to be quiet and behave no matter how wrongly or unfairly we feel we’re being treated. We grow up with that attitude. With the notion of saying nothing because it’s ‘frowned upon’ or due to concerns of what our reaction may incite. So many movements have grown nowadays exactly because of this mentality. The most recent #MeToo incidents have sparked the question of why now and not then; yet regardless of the answer, there is the concern of why we don’t speak out at all, not only when or even after things happen. Things that are worthy of our voice being heard.

Italy’s winning song at Eurovision 2021 sent a loud message that difference matters and that making some noise may sometimes lead to something good; a change that everyone longs for but few actually act upon. In a performance that literally rocked Europe, this group appeared in controversial clothing and make-up to state that “vi conviene stare zitti e buoni” (“you’d better shut up and be quiet”), but adding the truth that people often don’t really know what they’re talking about (“Parla la gente purtroppo Parla non sa di che cosa parla”), and recognising that “Siamo fuori di testa ma diversi da loro” (we’re crazy but different from them”). Perhaps it is this boldness to be different that most appealed to the European public.

Because we all want to make a change. But few are courageous enough to do something. It’s easier to be quiet and concede to the norms, rather than speak out and disturb the status quo.

Brewing excitement

©Na’ama Yehuda

You know that feeling of anticipation that you can feel brewing inside you and tingling even your toes? That’s how I felt the first time I arrived in this country”.

Weren’t you scared? I mean, you literally left everything to start afresh somewhere you’d never been before”.

Sure, beginning anew is always hard and challenging. Fear lurks in every thought you make. But there’s also something magical about it – all the opportunities and new prospects that await!

He looked at her and she still blushed after all those years.

He smiled widely.

Love gives you the power to do anything”.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

When it’s over

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When the worse is over, you’ll hardly remember it all. Trust me, people tend to forget the hardships they suffer, when ‘normality’ is restored”.

She stared at her aunt emitting words of wisdom. Her eyes were still puffy and red from the crying, but she had no more tears to shed. She was drained of energy and too exhausted to even speak.

We’ve all been there. In some form or other. People experience all sorts of adversities in their life. It may be a separation, a loss, having to search for a house and move, having to build a life from scratch, dealing with bureaucracy, managing the lack of inefficiency or communication; all kinds of things. Whatever you can imagine. For each person, a challenge or a difficulty is interpreted differently. But there is one thing in common for all: whatever it is, however much you suffer, you always endure and come out stronger. The toil helps us become better people”.

There is a truth that you find out who your real friends are when you’re in need of support. But the most profound truth is that in difficulty you discover yourself too. Who you are. And you’re amazed at how much the human spirit can withstand and survive”.

So don’t despair. It will all pass. And you’ll look back, recalling the details you’ll soon wash away from memory, and you’ll laugh”.

She cracked a smile and her eyes sparkled again. Her aunt always had a way of making everything seem brighter. Even in the darkest of times, there is always a brink of light shining somewhere. She just needed someone to help her see it.

Forces of Gender

It is a proven fact that men and women react to stressful situations differently. It’s not all about gender, though, it also has to do with a person’s character. But judging from the men in my family and workplace, they have a more reserved way of dealing with things that women usually lose control over.

Females have an innate tendency of shrieking their lungs out when their irritation hits alarming levels. It’s as if we’re giving up on trying to make sense of anything anymore and have surrendered to exasperation, releasing all the tension that has built up like a volcano gathering lava. We’re also severely more impatient, needing solutions here and now, and certainly more sentimental, allowing emotions to take over rational thinking at times.

It’s not easy remaining calm in adverse situations. And the more you tell someone in such cases to “relax” and “calm down”, the worse it gets. We know that’s what we need to do; but that doesn’t mean we can.

In movies – slapstick comedies in particular – we see the recurrence of actions that irritate a character for the sake of witnessing their reaction and laughing at it. But consider the person experiencing the incident. It may be funny to an outsider – or even to the same person after a while – but at that precise moment it’s literally salt on an open wound.

We need to lash out every so often to get rid of the tension we aggravate inside about everything – our lifestyle, our environment, the policies that govern our lives, the things we can’t control yet so deeply affect us. But we need to find healthier ways to release that stress. And we need people around us who understand, who actually help keep us sane, and who can maintain freak-out levels to a controllable intensity.

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