MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “decisions”

Alternating circles

Birthdays, a good friend told me, are the perfect date to set new goals, to rethink your stance, to start anew, because it is on this day that your life began; that you began. It is on our birthday that we realise how many things change in a year. How different our lives are now from 12 months ago, or from simply one month ago. Time passes by rapidly and if we are not careful, life will pass us by.

It’s not to ponder on the past and forget to live, though. Strength comes from constantly moving forward, continuously evolving and wanting to improve every aspect of yourself and your quality of life.

Hope springs from standing in the dark and looking for the stars. It’s the pressure we impose on ourselves to never give up because better things are coming and the need to believe this is true.

We need to change habits every once in a while. It’s part of the circles that close and new ones that open. To find new people that will enrich our lives and make us better, who will match our level.

Unfortunately, not everyone who comes into our lives stays. And we realise that the people who we thought we couldn’t live without are no longer a necessary part of our lives. There are those who never fought for us, who could live without us first and who left on their own accord. Those who proved they were unworthy of all our love and devotion because they didn’t know how to appreciate or reciprocate it. Those who blamed us for their own inadequate behaviour and demanded things they themselves could not provide. Those who make us regret ever giving them a part of our lives, our world, our heart. Because in the end, those who matter are those who value us, who remain no matter what, who always remember you on your special day, who are there regardless everything else and who love unconditionally.

Each person is responsible for their own attitude and the way they behave – be it their reactions, their words, their actions or inaction, their decency (if any).

It takes time to realise things we were so used to overseeing. Because it takes time for the mind to change course, to alternate its circle of thinking. Time won’t heal your wounds, it will just make it easier for you to live with the scars.

Birthdays are a chance to evaluate where you stand in chasing your dreams and the life you desire. To set new goals, to get back on track with what you want. And what most people want are simple things: to be healthy, happy and loved.

A new birthday year offers 365 new opportunities to do that. To find our way again and make it a better year. Let’s do our best to make it worth it.

Roundabout questions

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So, what do you feel like doing tonight?

It’s a question that entails the freedom of decision, the willingness to abide by it, while also placing the ‘burden’ of finding something to do on the other person.

For indecisive people, this is a challenge.

“I don’t know, perhaps see a movie? We can either go to the cinema or order in and watch one at home”.

He smiled. She wasn’t finished. So he held back his reply a little longer.

What do you prefer?

The question-bounce-back, that returns the responsibility of choosing an activity to the original question-setter. Like a boomerang returning to the one who threw it.

If the person who initiated the conversation continues the questioning of the type, “whatever you want” or, even worse, poses another option, their indecisive interlocutor becomes lost and even more agitated by the daunting task of having to pick an entertainment. And doing something fun suddenly becomes a chore.

Let’s go out. I know you want to see the latest blockbuster and go for a stroll around town tonight”.

And just like that, peace is restored, tranquillity reigns and the smile returns to her face.

He was used to reading her mind even when she herself couldn’t.

Conserving the summer vibes

©MCD

It isn’t really the return that hurts the most. It’s the crash landing that you feel you subject yourself to when the holiday ends. Because now you have to return to everything you were trying to escape from, to hide from, to pretend they don’t exist. You have to garner the strength to face it all. The reality, the routine, the “normality” you allowed to fade away while you were enjoying the sun, the sea, the fun, the new relationships and experiences the season brings.

We easily fall into depression when the summer ends and we are forced to return to our “ordinary” lives with whatever that entails. Because “normal” has a different definition to each person.  And we strive, at least for the first couple of days, to maintain that optimism and joy the sunlit weeks brought upon us. We struggle to maintain not only the memories of the most enjoyable season of the year, but the mood it brings along. We hope it won’t fade as soon as our tan-line does.

But the thing is, every season has its perks. There is something to enjoy every month of the year – every day, even. We simply need to have the determination to put all those dreams we make when we’re relaxed into concrete actions at any time. Our goals aren’t really seasonally. We can dream and make plans and set targets all year round. And if we’re decisive and courageous enough to take the risk, we can make them happen. We may even be able to conserve that summer optimism and cheerful mood.

The signs we choose not to see

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In everyday life we are surrounded by all sorts of signs. Not only literally, but metaphorically too. In most life-changing decisions we take, we unconsciously look for signs to reveal to us we are on the right path, or to help us choose which route to take, what move to make.

However, no matter how many signs are thrown our way, we usually only see what we want to see. Often we ignore even the warning signs that things are not going well, the ones that serve as precautions, as awakenings trying to draw our attention to something, calling us to change.

We choose to ignore the signs that try to help us because we don’t want to see them at that moment. We want to believe in something different and we refuse to accept that sometimes things don’t always turn out the way we hoped or planned.

That is until one sign hits us hard like a slap in the face and we are forced to see what we’ve been pushing aside for so long. It’s a sign we can no longer ignore, revealing that a cycle has been closed and we need to find the courage to close the door to it and move on.

 It’s only when we’re ready to see the signs that we accept their presence. We just have to be brave enough to let them guide us, but not dictate our next moves.

Second chances

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If life gave you a second chance, would you take it? Would you choose a different path? Would you do things differently? Would you take an alternate life course?

Sometimes destiny throws back something from our past to make us rethink everything. Not so much to despair or regret about the path we took, but rather to acknowledge how far we’ve actually come. How many things have happened since then, how much we’ve achieved and how much more we can accomplish because of all those experiences.

We are given a chance to review our lives in order to regain our lost confidence. To realise that we are worth and capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for. Something we usually only understand if we view ourselves from someone else’s point of view.

We chose the course we did for a reason. Perhaps it was not obvious then, perhaps it is not obvious not even now. But there is one. We become stronger from what we go through, what we are called to deal with, the difficulties, the challenges, the fights. Our successes also arise from our failures.

So, in reality, we should live a life not regretting of the past but being grateful that we managed to survive everything that was thrown our way.

We are not supposed to start over, even if given the chance. Because we are not supposed to quit in the first place.

The monster under the bed

https://pre00.deviantart.net/96eb/th/pre/f/2013/150/0/1/the_monster_under_my_bed__by_jcmaziu-d5oebc3.jpgShe was there ever since he was born. Omnipresent in every aspect of his life. She allowed him to think he was autonomous and independent, but she was always just a step away.

She lurked in the shadows and clung onto him. But he failed to see it.

He may have matured in many ways but there was one thing he refused to see. His partner found her ever-presence over-bearing. But, the latter did not seem to care. And he didn’t seem to mind.

He couldn’t see the monster under the bed.

But it haunted his partner’s dreams and there was nothing she could do about it. Because it was not her battle to fight.

She tried to make him see, but every time he woke up, the monster had found a different hiding place.

He told her she was insane and imagining things. Because he refused to see what was before his eyes.

He insisted there was nothing of the sort. That the monsters were only in her thoughts. But she knew better. She saw it even when he was not there. Because the monster had a way of being everywhere some way or another.

When it became too much too tolerate, she gave up trying. And she just left. Leaving him alone with the monster under the bed.

She left him only a note that read, “There’s a difference between somebody who wants you and somebody who would do anything to keep you. Because, in essence, all you really want is someone who would put you first at all times, and who would make you feel important no matter who or how many others are in the room. If you truly love someone, you will never let them go no matter how hard the situation is. You try to work things out. And you fight to do so”.

It was up to him to choose to react.

The maze reshuffle

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RqdbxMGkQpI/UDhAenCh6dI/AAAAAAAAAtM/-arzm8l6Ty4/s1600/P1200633.JPGAndreas was trapped in a maze. He didn’t know how he got in there. Ever since he could remember, he was trying to find his way out. He was surrounded by high walls; by turns that led to dead-ends; by paths that kept closing in on him.

Every time he thought he saw some light at the end of a corridor, at a turn, something strange would happen, as if the entire maze would reshuffle itself.

And the way out changed location. Again.

Andreas grew tired. Nothing seemed to work. He would never get out.

He took a few moments to calm himself down. He looked around and saw the high green plant-covered walls stare imposingly down at him.

Suddenly a rainbow-coloured bird flew over his head.

Andreas stood up. That was his ticket out.

He raced behind the bird, eager not to let it out of his sight.

It seemed like hours he was running after his winged ally, when finally he felt the sun’s rays penetrating through the maze walls. And just before another rearrangement occurred, he was out.

He couldn’t believe it at first. He looked around and saw a large green field, hills on the background and fresh air breezing around him.

Then he heard a voice calling, “are you alright? Are you OK?

His girlfriend was gently shaking his shoulders as Andreas revived from the hallucination. He had fallen from the ladder he had climbed as they were renovating their home. An intense disagreement they had made him slip off a step after she left the room.

The maze dream made him realise that things in life are always going to be complicated. And the more we search for answers, the more life will change the questions. So what we can do is try to worry less, argue less, stress less and laugh a bit more. When we calm down, we will find the way out of any situation.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Maze

Blink or Think

blinkThe real purpose of books is to trap the mind into doing its own thinking” (Christopher Morley). Some books excel at it. And it is not just the ones that engage you into travelling away from reality, but rather those that make you think more of it.

In Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell manages to do exactly that. He makes you consider how those first thoughts you have are the ones that matter the most and are often more correct than if you think thoroughly through something.

The book points out that “the key to good decision-making is not knowledge. It is understanding”. That is why, for instance, when people talk, we listen to their words and watch their eyes in order to pick up the expressive nuances that reveal if what they’re saying is true.

Through a series of stories and case studies, Gladwell attempts to “understand this mysterious thing called judgement – the kind of wisdom someone acquires after a lifetime of learning and watching and doing”. “From experience, we gain a powerful gift, the ability to act instinctively, in the moment. But it is easy to disrupt this gift”, because we live in a world saturated with information and sometimes that works against our judgement. Those subtle influences from our surroundings, our background, our experiences, our network, often very much affect the bias of our unconscious. As such, we are already prejudiced in our decisions, particularly if we dwell hard on them.

These are the “unexpected costs of knowing too much”. That you allow your judgement to be clouded by too many things – often stereotypes. “We are inundated with information and we have come to confuse information with understanding.” That is why, as the book very eloquently explains, “sometimes we can make better judgement with less information”.

The impression you form in a blink – in milliseconds – is in fact more truthful than the one you allow yourself to form after thinking a situation through and permitting the stereotypes in your head to barge through. The point is not to listen with your eyes, but with what your instinct tells you. It is the power of first impressions, of rapid cognition.

It is true of course that “there are some situations where the human mind needs a little help” – where more information is required to form a proper decision. After all, “truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking”.

But, in the issues that matter most, perhaps the decisions that stem from the unconscious are the ones that will in the end make us happier.

Think about it. Maybe next time just trust that ‘blink’ you get as a first thought and see what happens.

The “or” in choices

http://simplymusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/fresh-perspective-1024x336.jpgThe day began a bit strange. Because it should have begun the way it usually does. With the alarm buzzing and her hand emerging from under the covers to slam it silent. Then she would roll over the other side. And two minutes later jump out of bed having just realised she was supposed to get up and go to work.

But today it was different.

The alarm didn’t go off.

Or rather. It did. She just didn’t hear it.

And she suddenly found herself wavering between options. Or rather dilemmas. She could get up and go to work, making up an excuse for her tardiness. Or she could stay in bed and call in sick. But then she should also cancel her coffee appointments, in case somebody from work happened to see her. Or she could change them to house calls instead of café meetings.

She could chose to get up and deal with the world. Or she could stay in bed and pretend it’s all hushed away.

Either way, she had to make a decision.

We all do. There is always an “or” in whatever choice we need to make. It just depends on the perspectives we see things at any given moment. And how we choose to react to the options that lie before us.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Or

The robbers of our thoughts

http://www.chinatour.com/uploads/1404895010.jpgWe think too much. So much that having second thoughts seems natural. Only they come for almost everything and steal away the thunder of the impulses we make as first thoughts. Then slowly the excitement of what we first considered begins to fade away, transforming into doubt and allowing those second thoughts to question all the actions and choices we make.

Euripedes had said, “among mortals, second thoughts are wisest”. Sometimes, however, dwelling too much on a decision to take will only fill you with even more doubt, to the extent that you will never be truly satisfied with whatever choice you finally do make.

Sometimes we just need the impulses. To spice up our lives. To discover that not everything needs to be planned. And to realise that, for whatever reason, there are things that just happen. And we are happier because they do. With no questions, no doubts, no second thoughts.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Second Thoughts

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