MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “character”

Clean Slate

© Na’ama Yehuda

Love stories of the past are like wilted flowers. Their time – and season – has ended. They were wonderful while they lasted, but they had a due date. And it has expired.

We need to let them go. Throw them out so that we have space to bring in new ones. Fresh, colourful, scented, alive. Ones that remind us that there is a bright future ahead and it’s up to us to make it prosperous.

We can remember, but it should not affect us. Perhaps that is the hardest to master.

Some flowers last forever; those we should nourish.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Judges of character

© Dale Rogerson

You can tell a lot about a person from their library. What books they read. What worlds they delve into. What thoughts occupy their minds.

Like Robin Sharma said: “Ordinary people have big TVs. Extraordinary people have big libraries”.

Libraries are almost like your portrait; they reflect an image of yourself only few can see.

You can also tell a lot about a person from the pets they keep and the way they treat them. Animals are a great judge of character.

Combine the two, and you have a verdict, right there.

Happy pet and big library means special owner.

Also part of Friday Fictioneer

Quirk of Character

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Introverts have a higher threshold than average for letting people in. Be it in their reading lists, their diaries, their lives, their homes, their minds, their hearts. If an introvert starts babbling away to you, you should know that they trust you and feel safe enough to confide in you. It’s not an easy feat for most to achieve.

Call it trust issues if you may, but introverts believe that the people around you need to compliment your happiness, your self-appreciation, and your confidence. Well, it’s what we should all really expect of others anyway. For if someone doesn’t add value to your life, why keep them there if they’ll only make you feel worse?

The truth is, there are certain instances in life that make you reconsider your friendships; who you consider your friends to be; who really are. Because it’s the ones who stick there through the rough times; when you have nothing to say or don’t even want to; at the times it feels like the whole world is against you and you’re raging against ‘the system’. It’s those who seek you as much as you search for them. It’s those who are willing to stay around when you fall face down and will help pick you up; those who see you at your worse are also the ones who deserve to see you at your best. Because as this excellent article says, “friendships do not have to be transactional, but they should absolutely be reciprocal”. It’s not all about having fun. It’s about being there for each other in every situation.

Each person reacts to life’s problems differently. We are not all the same. We have varying idiosyncrasies, mentalities, responses. Some seek assistance anywhere they can; others prefer to close up in their own shells and wait out the storm alone. It has to do with a person’s character and that’s not easy to affect. Introverts need to be left alone. They’ll come to you for help when they’re ready. But they want to know that you’re still there until they do.

In the end it all comes down to the fact that we virtually befriend hundreds of people on social media, but choose to have only a handful around; the best ones – those who remain no matter how far you unwillingly push them out.

“Beware of those who seek constant crowds; they are nothing alone”. – Charles Bukowski

“I restore myself when I’m alone”. – Marilyn Monroe

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.

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

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.

The lives we don’t see

©Dale Rogerson

No person has the same fingerprints or iris identifications. There is a reason for it. Each person is unique.

Consequently, each person is living a life that is often unbeknown to most; and is essentially very different to what appearances may suggest. Each is juggling their own life lemons, trying to get the most out of them.

Some medics, for example, work more hours than they even remember for a pay that is lower than a private parking meter.

Similarly, musicians are those starving artists keeping us company in the months-long lockdowns during a pandemic – one which medics are fighting.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

A getaway island

He had researched for months before he started planning everything.  In a deeply inter-connected world where anything and anyone can be traced in light-speed, it was literally very difficult to get lost. Especially when half of the world’s police organisations had you on their most-wanted list.

Henry lived a more or less normal life. As normal as one’s life can be, that is. He found it to be as boring as his name.

But then, on that last summer day, something inside of him snapped. He decided to do something completely out of character. Something precisely no one expected him to do.

He quit his job of 15 years without due notice, told his girlfriend he felt too constrained to commit to her, gave out most of his belongings to charity organisations, and then robbed a bank.

He had seen it done so many times in films, TV series, even on the news. It wasn’t that complicated after all.

The getting away part was the tricky aspect.

He had researched for an island to get lost to, for months before he had snapped. It came in handy now. But little did he know then, that even searching for an escape was the pretext and sign of something going wrong.

He had a storm building inside his head and once it expressed itself, it became a hurricane and a tsunami all in one.

Humor me

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Having a sense of humor is a trait not many are able to master. Because it requires intelligence to be able to spark a wit with effect at the right time.

People with a sense of humor are the ones you see laughing most often, even if only by themselves.

They are the ones with the greatest self-acceptance, because they have come to terms with who they are and what life has handed to them, and are brave enough to not only overcome the challenges but even to make fun of them.

They are creative – after all, it takes a lot of mental energy to come up with quick-witted jokes that put a smile on everyone else’s face. It is thus also associated with wisdom and love of learning.

People with humor understand the difference between laughing at someone and with them. They are conscientious in that they don’t need to hurt anyone’s feelings in order to make a joke.

Laughing is a state of life and it also keeps you fit physically and emotionally. 

It could be true that “a sense of humor is God’s antidote for anger and frustration” (Rick Warren).

Humor is one of our fundamental character strengths and an important survival tool. It helps gain intimacy, build connections and often buffer stress. But it is also what helps us remain optimistic. And like Elbert Hubbard said, “do not take life too seriously, you’ll never get out of it alive”.

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.

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