MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “feeling safe”

A hug and a hot beverage

When people are upset, the cultural convention is to bring them a hot beverage”. So says Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.There is an intrinsic truth in that a warm drink offers comfort. It soothes your insides like a warm hug and subconsciously makes you feel a little better. As if giving you space and the capacity to breathe somewhat deeper.

The convention, however, lies in the fact that by offering a beverage, you demonstrate you care. And in essence, that’s what we’re all looking for. Someone to be there when we’re not ourselves. We need the assurance that someone is looking out for us when we’ve given up on that. That there are people who care, because we matter.

A hot beverage is more than just a comfort drink. It is like a hug in a mug. And we all know how important hugs are.

Family therapist Virginia Satir once said: “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth”. But even then, they may not be enough. Hugging is an intimate expression of safety. You feel the other person’s heartbeat on your chest and instantly feel comforted and reassured that whatever it is you’re facing it will pass. What we’re really doing – if you come to think about it – is fighting away loneliness. Because that’s what scares us the most. Of grieving alone, of being overwhelmed by sadness alone, of not having anyone to alleviate the suffering you most probably create by overthinking.

So, offer hugs abundantly. And a hot beverage too.

Safe Haven

There is a place where you go to disappear when the world becomes too much.

A place where you feel safe and know that no one will judge, criticise or undermine you.

There is a place with people who always greet you with open arms, and comfort you even at the times you don’t know that is what you need.

There is a place we all have where we resort to when we simply want to forget all our worries, troubles, problems. And just sleep.

There is a place we call home. And it offers all these things for free. With the added bonus of including people who love you unconditionally.

Home is the place we return to – unfortunately – not too often. But it is where we recharge, rejuvenate, and regain the strength to continue fighting for survival in this strange world.

Soothing voices

If you think about it, we become accustomed to the sound of voices even before we enter this world, from inside our mother’s uterus. We hear the voices of those preparing for our arrival, as we are safely tucked away inside our nurturer.

And when we are born, much before we are able to respond to them, we hear all sorts of voices from people greeting us, trying to strike up conversations with us, talking to us.

We associate certain voices with the feeling they evoke in us. Our mother’s voice is one that always generates safety and reassurance. Because you know it’s the source of unconditional love. Our father’s voice is one that offers courage when you’re in despair, but also the one that soothes you and calms you down when you can’t control your outbursts.

For some, the voice of your storyteller – whomever parent it may be – is the one that helps you pacify your agitated state and consequently puts you to sleep. That was the purpose, after all, when you were a child.

It’s remarkable how, as we grow older, the sound of these voices remain imprinted in our memories. And how we continue to yearn for them. Perhaps it comes with growing up, the need to feel as safe, loved and nurtured as you felt as a child. And in the most uncertain and ‘lifeless’ of times, that feeling of childlike innocence, bewilderment and pure joy is what is lacking most.

We should be grateful that the sounds we’ve registered in our minds are those of spontaneous laughter, fun and games, storytelling and amusement. Some are not so lucky, and instead recall the sound of war, bullets flying, soldiers yelling, explosions, ammunition burning and worse.

We should be grateful that we remember what it was like to live freely, without so much concern, stress and worry, without disinfecting every part of our body every couple of minutes; and without the awkwardness of not being able to be close to or hug a loved one.

Ultimately, it’s the voices we grew up with that inhabit our heads. You’re the one who chooses how much to listen to them.

When we say we’re fine

https://www.must.com.cy/assets/modules/wnp/articles/202004/71649/images/b_tourismos_1.jpg

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.

Light up the dark

http://www.brisbanekids.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Brisbane-christmas-lights.jpgAs children, we’ve all spent nights when we wanted to sleep with the lights turned on. We feel safer this way. As if the monsters hiding in the closet or under the bed or wherever else they may be won’t be able to reach us. As if the nightmares won’t come if the lights are on.

Growing up, we still try to illuminate our lives in whatever way possible. We open the windows each day, hoping the sunlight will come bursting into every corner of our house. We go to work, preferably in a brightly-lit environment, knowing that when located in such a one, we are more productive and efficient. We fill ourselves with knowledge reading about everything and everyone online. We thrive in our certainty that the more we know, the safer we feel.

And we get depressed when autumn arrives, with the falling leaves, the cloudy skies and the rain. The ballads and mood-killer songs overwhelm our heads, our rhythm slows down, and we find ourselves seeking more daylight. Since the early afternoon when the sunset is followed by the imminent darkening horizon, we are urged to get up and turn on the lights.

Because in the end, that is exactly what we need: some light to drive out the darkness. That is why we light candles whenever and wherever possible. Or why, come Christmas and New Year’s we immerse ourselves in coloured lights and sparkles. Because we want to feel safe and certain that the future that lies ahead has in store for us nothing but hope, optimism and the positivity that is so lacking in our times.

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