MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “change”

When we say we’re fine

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When people ask each other “how are you?”, the response is a reflex answer of “fine, and you?”. Rarely does the question delve deeper into how the other person actually is. We ask about our news, our novelties, our gossip, work, relationships etc, but hardly does anyone actually look into how we really are; how we feel, in what mental state we are in.

This year (2020) has been hard. Almost six months have passed, and we have but a few days in which things actually progressed and we have something to show for them. Otherwise, all we have done is stayed at home, explored our neighbourhoods, developed our cooking skills, irritated the people we live with, become depressed at being alone, and wasted an obscene amount of time on Netflix and social media.

Undeniably, even doing a bare minimum – or absolutely nothing – takes a toll on our mental health. We tell each other we’re fine to believe it is true. Because if we don’t overanalyze, we won’t have to admit to ourselves that deep down we are not as great as we want to appear. We are lacking security, the freedom of movement, the capacity to make plans again, having something to look forward to, the prospect that we will get to see our loved ones again soon in a scheduled time and date without the fear of risking a new lockdown or quarantine measures being imposed on you.

We’re only as fine as we believe ourselves to be. Yet, we prefer not to talk about what is bugging us in an attempt to override it. It’s like sweeping the dust under the carpet. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Mood swings and mental breakdowns don’t necessarily need professional help to be overcome or healed. Sometimes all we really need is people around us who care enough to offer the help we don’t dare to ask for. It’s enough to know that there are friends and family there who can offer a hug, a random talk when needed, and a simple confirmation that we’re not facing things alone. Because in the end, what we all need is the sentiment that better days are coming no matter what, and the incentive to garner the patience to deal with it all.

The value of a lockdown

©MCD

So we’ve spent perhaps one of the strangest Easters of our time. But we managed to celebrate it as much as possible, with people who are far yet near with the aid of technology, with love and wishes that know no borders, and with optimism and positive vibes that everything will pass and we will meet again soon.

The truth is that if you’re not in hospital, if you’re not sick, if you’re “stuck” at home with your family, if you even have a home, if you’re not entirely alone in a house away from your loved ones, this Easter in quarantine was not your worst Easter. In fact, it may even be your most memorable one. Because it taught you lessons you so far failed to see.

How to spend time with the people you share your home and life with; who matters and who cares enough to be around even if they can’t see you in person; the importance of exchanging wishes and words of encouragement even if no physical interaction may be involved. But most importantly, it revealed the reinvigoration of going outside for fresh air, for a walk in the park, or around your neighbourhood – parts of which you just recently discovered. How to spend time slowly, relishing every moment of it, to pause, to breathe, to enjoy things that we missed or didn’t have time for.

The lockdown is actually forcing us to slow down our pace of life and in the process to actually live our life.

And as we relax, inhaling the cleaner air around, we wonder why we haven’t lived like this for so long. Why this wasn’t the normal we are all longing to return to.

There will come a time when we will reminisce the weeks we were forced to stay home, learning to value the time we have and appreciating the small things that we miss, despite our constant moaning about our confinement.

Wouldn’t it be great if we would have learnt something out of all this and changed some of our habits?

“In the rush to return back to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to” – Dave Hollis

When all this shall pass

© MCD

For you to see the stars, you need a dark sky. That is the only allegory suitable to describe how to remain optimistic and patient in order to see the positive in a gloomy and tragic situation.

Staying positive, doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time. It means that even on hard days you know that better ones are coming”. That is something we need to remember now more than ever.

Because around the globe, restrictions of movement, closed borders, bans on public gatherings etc, are all commonplace at the moment. We are all self-isolated….together. We are all in this together. Most of us are called to fight an invisible enemy in an unprecedented war from our couch. Others are on the frontline working night and day in hospitals, witnessing the painful consequences first-hand. All we are called to do is to #StayHome, #StaySafe, so they can help us out of this.

Viewed in another perspective, the whole world is frozen at the moment. As if someone pushed a ‘pause’ button and ‘regular’ life simply stopped. For how long, nobody really knows.

Sometimes even the hardships serve for a higher purpose. It is during the hard times that we realise how strong we truly are. (“We all have an unsuspected reserve of strength inside that emerges when life puts us to the test” – Isabel Allende) And we acknowledge what truly matters. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has proven that everything around us is so temporary. Things we revolved our lives around: our work, gym, cafes, malls, cinemas, society itself, have all become irrelevant as we are now learning for weeks to live without them. It has taught us that we are so technologically advanced we can actually work from home, i.e. anywhere, and we can remain more connected than we believe. It is in our own homes and families in the end that we will remain safe. We learn that distance cannot keep emotions away.

But when all this shall pass – because it will – we will come out reborn, we will have learnt (hopefully) to not take anything for granted, to appreciate everything and everyone we have more. Because it is in this distance and isolation that friendships will be tested and relationships will either be reinforced or shattered.

Like Victor Hugo said, “even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise”. Every day is a lesson: the good days offer happiness and the bad ones, experience.

No storm lasts forever. But if we can stay positive in a negative situation, we win. It is up to us how to manage the situation we are in. “Fear has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours”.

We can’t change how all this started. But we can change how we deal with it from now on. And certainly what we will learn out of it. To become a bit more humane, empathetic and less selfish. To value the little things in life. To be kind to everything that is alive. And above all, to wash our hands.

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.

Mentality is a way of life

©MCD_Agrigento

There is a saying that we travel not to escape life, but so that life does not escape us. Going somewhere different not only breaks your routine and revives you, but it also allows you to open your eyes and mind to things you never even considered before.

Not everyone thinks or acts the same way we do, and we generally have this ingrained belief that what ‘our people’ do is the norm, the standard against which everyone else is compared or measured.

The truth is though, when we travel, we might find alternatives that may even be better to our way of life. We may see things and people who change our perspectives. We may even talk to locals and find out that they are more calm, relaxed and happy living in what seems like a backward village, than others who live in big cities.

We see people smiling without any particular reason, who always have something good to say and who wish you a pleasant day without knowing you at all. That is just who they are and what they are used to. Kindness is a way of life.

It is these same people who know how to keep calm in every situation, who find no reason in getting angry or irritated at something they cannot control. They follow traditions that they have grown with and see no point in altering them if they still work well.

Because in the end, it is not the technology that makes people advanced; it is their mentality. And that is the most difficult thing of all to change.

Be the Bee

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And there, at the end of a day that touched upon the verge of “this was too much” and “when did it already get dark”, you experience something that changes you. That affects your mindset so much that you begin to see things differently.

In every period of our lives, we tend to seek people who are going through similar issues and have a similar take on things. It is our natural inclination to seek allies, because in them we find the compassion, empathy and understanding we long for.

When we meet people who inspire us, we are mentally and psychologically elevated. We begin to realise our own true value. And that is when we acknowledge that people drown not by falling into the river, but by remaining in it.

So take a deep breath and change things. People either inspire or exhaust you. Get out of situations you don’t like or agree with. We are the only ones who can save ourselves.

Life is unpredictable like that. We don’t always get the answers we seek or think we deserve, and we need to just accept reality for what it is and move on. Because things do happen for a reason, even if at the time we don’t see it. But the truth is, we can survive more than we think possible, and then we’re amazed by how much stronger that makes us.

Things and people come into your life the moment you need them, to help you get on the right path. To help you realise the value of your own worth. The only person who needs convincing is yourself.

There is a saying that people are either flies or bees. The bee will be able to find a flower even in a rubbish dump. The fly will be attracted by manure even in the most beautiful of gardens.

Always be the bee.

Be who you choose to be

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He was small compared to others. Unusually so. And he was made fun of because of it. Even bullied.

But Elliot did not care. He chose not to listen because he knew he was destined for greatness.

Elliott wanted to be a reindeer. A famous one. One that pulled Santa’s sleigh.

The only problem was that he was a pony.

He was lucky enough to have supportive friends. Friends who stuck by when everyone else mocked him and left. Friends who encouraged him to follow his dream and who motivated him to try harder. Because they too believed that he could do anything he set his mind on.

Elliot never gave up. And his chance came, life rewarded him for his effort. He became the littlest reindeer of all. Santa’s favourite; the one who tried hardest and who was the most special. Elliot is the proof that even the underdog can achieve a lot if their heart is set on it and if they try passionately enough.

“Be magic; choose and believe that you can do anything you set your mind to believe. We are who we choose to be” – Will Smith

The Scrooges of this world

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His favourite character was Scrooge. Either McDuck or Ebenezer, it didn’t really matter. It was the trait he admired. That of being stingy, a cold-hearted miser and filthy rich because of it.

He wanted to have it all. But all was never enough. There was always more.

He lost friends as quickly as he acquired them, because his arrogant style that undermined everyone else around him immediately became evident.

Yet, he didn’t care. People like that seldom do. Arrogance, it is said, is a camouflage for insecurity. People adopt a conceited attitude and raise their voice to be heard, no matter if they’re wrong. They try to dominate every situation to show they’re in control. But what they try to hide is their fears that they cannot conquer.

People cheat and steal from each other, attempting to demonstrate they’re cleverer and more astute. Paraphrasing what the ghost said in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, they wear the chains they forge in life. Yet, in the end, all they achieve is to create a society in which the truly smart people want to escape from, because they are the ones that see through the corruption and lies. They are the ones that read beyond the deceits and the feinted arrogance. They are the ones who distinguish between arrogance and confidence and the ones who understand when it is right to stand up for what you believe and when it is just necessary to go with the flow.  As long as the flowing river is one that leads to an ocean – a greater good – and not one that drowns everything along the way.

“The world is your oyster. It is up to you to find the pearls” – Chris Gardner

The vicious circles we feed

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There is a place in the heart of the city where people go to disappear. It’s a place you often pass by on your daily route to work, shopping or whatever else you choose to spend you time, money and energy on. But you don’t realise they are there. You pretend not to see them. Not to know that these neighbourhoods are different.

We fear different. We oppose and react to whatever we don’t understand.

We don’t even try to change things. We simply acknowledge that they are not how they should.

And so, we continue our lives, and more people simply disappear out of theirs.

Because it is not easy to actually live. To have a life that fulfils you and completes you. People are used to existing. And documenting their existence to prove to others that they are doing things worthwhile. In reality, trying to convince themselves that they matter.

We close our eyes to those who need help. Because we don’t want to assume the responsibility of change.

And then we protest that nothing ever changes or improves. Like a vicious circle we ourselves feed.

Some days

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There are some days you wish you could forget. Completely erase them from memory if possible.

It’s those days that have made you realise you were wrong about things you thought of differently until that very point. Days that have shaken up your entire mentality and viewpoint on life.

But they are the same days that shattered you to pieces.

Because every change comes with a cost. And it is often painful.

Some days you want to remember for as long as you live.

Some others, you just want to press delete and rewind. To live them over in a better way now that you know.

Those days are the ones that make you stronger, wiser and help you keep going with the hope you won’t repeat the same mistakes.

Every day is a gift as long as we treat it as such.

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