MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “chasing happiness”

Moments of time

There are 86400 seconds in a day. But one is enough to change an entire life.

An instance is what you make of it – it can last entire minutes, losing track of time itself when you’re having fun; or it can be so small that it cannot even be measured when something tragic occurs.

It’s all a matter of perspective. And what we do with what we have.

William Penn had said that “time is what we want most, but what we use worst”.

Lao Tzu in turn uttered that “time is a created thing; to say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to’”.

We often spend our days appearing busy, too much even for our own sake. We make lists, set schedules, post-its, reminders, afraid of missing something, of not having time to do everything we need to or want to. We miss calls from family and friends, postponing their return-call or desired meeting to a later time when we won’t be so pressed. We cram as much as we can in those 86400 seconds of the day, and we still feel they are not enough.

But when something happens – when those few seconds suffice to capsize everything, what matters the most? The clients we gained, the money we earned or the friends we lost and the moments we sacrificed along the way?

It only takes an instance to make us stop and reconsider everything we do. What is of true value, what is significant in those seconds we waste or exploit in our daily lives?

It is up to us to prioritise what we spend time on, how we organise the seconds we have to keep our minds and souls healthy and thriving.

Occasionally we have to make time; we have the way if there is the will to do so. Otherwise we will come to regret the time lost, the time we could have spent with loved ones, making memories and filling our days with joy; and that is something we cannot retrieve.

Remember: time is not measured by clocks, but by moments. Particularly those in which you feel happy to be alive.

It is what it is

©MCD_Budapest

You know that nothing can kill you more than your own thoughts, right?” He looked at her sharply. Once again she was drowning herself, choking up on makeshift scenarios. He needed to be harsh to snap her out of it.

We make up disasters in our heads, because we build too much expectation and then become devastated when it’s not fulfilled. Just let things be”.

My grandma once said: The key to happiness is letting each situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be”.

So live the moments; it’s what composes life and it’s what you will remember”.

They say happiness doubles when shared. But what about sadness? Does that halve in magnitude? Because we tend to keep our misery bottled up, especially when we consider that everyone has problems of their own, many of which are more serious than ours.

But what if we choose to live those fleeting moments – those phantom pleasures that last only a bit – and we keep them to ourselves and only share them with a few close confidants?

What if when we return to reality, they seem like a dream? What if all we have to account for them are the photos we took but never uploaded anywhere? What if the only documented evidence of our fun was how it made us feel? How long will it last? And how will we make it endure for longer?

Why is it that whenever something good arrives, we have an innate fear that it will overturn, and that something bad will come to upset it all? Why do we allow ourselves to fall into that spiralling circle that messes up our minds? What if we just send out the optimism and positiveness we hope to receive; would that make fortune return to us?

Life is what it is. But that’s not always easy to accept. No matter what anyone tells us to do.

Village air

©Sandra Crook

When he said he wanted to withdraw from the hectic routine his life had become, no one really imagined this is what he meant.

Months after being off-grid and out of range of all communication, his friends finally found him in a rural village driving a truck full of hay.

He had grown a beard that made him look somewhat more scruffy but in a charming way. But he seemed so much more relaxed and genuinely happy.

“I like it here,” he said, and for the first time he wasn’t pretending. It was true. The village air had rejuvenated him.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Mind games

Life, it is said, is a mind game; you’re limited only by your thoughts.

Consider this, how many times (even in a day) do you make up scenarios in your head about the development or outcome of a situation, forecasting what will happen without allowing time or evidence to play their part? How often do you jump to conclusions, lured by that pessimistic devil in your head? How soon do you judge without really knowing the facts?

We are subject to the tumultuous voices in our heads that speak only to us and highlight our greatest fears, concerns, and speculations.

We fall victim to our own overthinking. We sabotage ourselves, often out of fear that if things go too well, there is some disaster lurking in the corner.

We’re afraid of allowing ourselves to find happiness because in effect we’re led to believe that it doesn’t truly exist or that it is too rare to find.

We play mind games on our own selves. And that is the hardest thing to overcome.

Chasing a perfect life

https://ilearning.pt/sites/default/files/Psicologia%20Positiva%20Ilearning.jpg

Do you ever wake up after a bad night’s sleep and you’re angry with the world and everything in it? There are certain moments during the day, week or month, when the slightest thing can make us snap and lose control. We need moments to alleviate the tension we’re building up inside by holding everything in so as to be ‘proper’ and sane. Or at least to appear to be calm and, well…’normal’. But what is normal, in a world that so forcefully tries to convince itself it is embracing difference, uniqueness and diversity?

People interpret words and circumstances differently. It is unavoidable. And it all comes down to how each of our minds functions.

We are so used to complaining and moaning about all the problems in our lives, most of which are created by our own negative thoughts. We fear of letting them go, of taking a risk and being happy, because we are unfamiliar with that sentiment. We have clenched such a strong grip on the unpleasantness in our lives that anything else seems too much of a leap into uncertainty.

It’s almost as if we persuade ourselves that this stance of misery is the norm. That this is how it should be and we inflict shame upon ourselves for not being someone else, for not being more or less of what we picture as an ideal, of what society illustrates as how people should be. And that shame brings numbness to every emotion. Because, as we try to block out our feelings of grief and embarrassment and irritation at not being perfect, we also numb those of joy, satisfaction and lightness. We refuse to accept our vulnerability, out of shame, and instead shut ourselves down from the inside, alienating everyone around us in the process.

In searching for meaning and purpose in our lives, we may turn to self-help. We think we can fix ourselves and be happy if we follow certain books of wisdom and guidance on how to live. It’s an industry worth $11 billion, but does it actually help? In her witty, poignant and inspiring book Help Me!, Marianne Power goes through a dozen self-help books in a quest for perfection and happiness. But she also goes through a breakdown – or ‘spiritual awakening’ – as she gets too close with the thoughts in her head. She discovers that humans have an innate need to love, be loved and belong, and rejection hurts because we rely on the approval of the group for our survival since our cave-men days. She notes that self-help creates “unrealistic standards about how great life should be, puts unrealistic pressure on yourself to change, and creates self-obsession”; but the more you try to improve who you are, the more you are aware of the flaws, and the more you chase happiness, the unhappier you become.

In “The Power of Now”, Eckhart Tolle reassures us that we all have a voice in our head, which is usually mean and talks us down. It is one that takes us away from the only thing that is real and will give us peace – being right here, right now. If we can quieten down the voice, we’ll realise we are perfectly happy in this very moment. And like British playwright Dennis Potter said: “We tend to forget that life can only be defined in the present tense”.

In her very inspiring TED speech, Brené Brown explores the depth and source of human connection, understanding vulnerability, feeling empathy and confronting shame. She explains that we’re all constantly afraid of not being good enough, with the underlying fear that we won’t be loved, and so we strive harder to be perfect. But instead of chasing perfection, she says we should be seeking connection, to empathise and understand each other, to talk honestly and openly about our fears, insecurities and doubts. “Healing comes from sharing your story with someone who is worthy of hearing it”, she states. “Connection is why we’re here; it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives”. And it all centres around this. For shame, is the fear of disconnection, of not being worthy enough; the “gremlin who says you’re not good enough”. But for connection to happen, we need to allow ourselves to truly be seen, to expose ourselves and be vulnerable. Those who achieve this are whole-hearted people, ones who are courageous enough to show their authentic selves (‘courage’, after all, derives from the Latin word ‘cor’=heart), who acknowledge they are imperfect and who demonstrate compassion by being kind to themselves first and then to others.

The path for a whole-hearted living, according to Dr. Brown’s research, is to be willing to let go of who we think we should be in order to be who we are. To be willing to plunge into something where there are no guarantees, to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out, to practice gratitude in times of terror, to believe we’re enough, and ultimately to simply stop controlling and predicting life and just…live it. She concludes that “joy comes to us in moments – ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary”.

And like Marianne Power eventually realizes – happiness depends on getting up in the morning and being a decent person. Or like her Irish mother, eloquently put it, just “do no harm”.

In the end, there is a truth that when we stop pursuing happiness and the ‘perfect’ life, we will encounter all that matters and we need.

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