Call it ‘complications’, ‘technical difficulties’, ‘unsurpassable obstacles’. For anyone in communications, it’s the simplest way of not naming a problem: just give it a vague definition.
We tend to do this with life itself. Things come our way that we do not really know how to handle or deal with – at least not at first. We find ourselves drowning in our sea of problems, of stomach-churning troubles, of migraine-inciting predicaments, we have no idea of how to solve.
Yet if we calm down just a bit; if we talk to someone just to get a clearer view, we realise that there are no real complications. In fact, we ourselves are causing the complexity to begin with.
There are only two ways to move ahead in life: you either want to or you don’t.
And the best method to decide is to listen to yourself – those body signs you often ignore: if it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. But if you’re thinking about it so much, it probably means it also matters enough for you to go forward with it.
Whatever you do, remember this: it may be better to live with remorse than regrets, but things are just as simple as our minds allow them to be.
Everything starts and ends with a healthy mind, a healthy attitude, and a healthy mentality.
“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.
“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.
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.
We all hide a whirlwind of emotions inside, just waiting to
be expressed. Often women more than men go through a series of alternating
sentiments even during one single day. Perhaps we pay too much attention to the
little things, overthink excessively and try to find connotations in every
The problem though lies with tolerating too much. With
burying emotions inside in the hope of forgetting about them, of extinguishing
their force and of somehow making things better. We all nurture that illusion
that things will change without action from our part. As if magically the world
will improve in the way we want it to.
There comes a time, however, when our feelings take over our
reactions. Either because we are tired, hungry or simply exasperated by
everything, there comes an emotional explosion that is sometimes out of
character. We can’t always control what we feel. Like Elizabeth Gilbert said, “your emotions are the slaves to your
thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions”.
It is during those explosions that we need people close, no
matter how far we push them away. We need to feel loved even in our toughest of
times, when we are being difficult, obstinate and insecure. It is at our worst
that we need the affection. To believe that it is just a phase and will pass,
that we will come out stronger, and that, in the end, everything will be better
“Sometimes the worst
place you can be is in your own head”.
Why? Why is it so hard to talk to someone? To tell them what you feel, what you think, or exactly what you want? It shouldn’t be this hard. It’s not “normal”. You shouldn’t have to plan out and rehearse what you want to say, always waiting for the opportune moment, because that moment will never arrive. It simply doesn’t exist. But why does the fear embrace her soul every time she wants to say something?
Marie stood there, staring out the window with her eyes misty and depressed. Nothing in her life was what she wanted. It was not the life she dreamt. Not what she wished for. Not even worth living. There was nothing that made her truly happy. Without any worries. She couldn’t even feel relaxed anymore. Her routine had overwhelmed her and stress had taken over her very being. She couldn’t even eat or sleep. And it wasn’t because she was in love. It was because pursuing happiness is so much tougher than everyone makes it out to be.
And then, every time she wanted to speak to someone, to let out all these feelings, to relieve some of the pain at least, she just couldn’t. Why was it so hard? Why did she feel so alone and invisible at times? So unwanted and unappreciated? What had happened?
Clouds drifted quietly and covered the sun. For a few minutes it grew dark even though it was the middle of the day. That was how Marie felt too. At least the sky could understand her. That meant something too…
She stood there silently, playing out different scenes in her head. Letting her mind drift to the past, to the future and then back to the present. But to her, there was nothing worth fighting for there. She knew she had to keep going. Persistence and struggle would in the end get her what she wanted. What she dreamed for. But it was hard and she needed the support that she felt was so lacking around her.
Then for a moment that seemed to last a lifetime, the plate she was holding, that pretty plate with flowers on, flowers that symbolized love and peace and harmony, fell from her hands, hitting the floor and scattering into pieces, shattering her heart along with it. She stood there in what seemed like minutes on end, looking down at it. A dark cloud had swallowed up her core. She was trembling. Fear had encircled her and was standing right there with her. And she just stood there not knowing what to do. And a tear trickled down her cheek…Silently stating its presence…