MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “friendship”

Live with a grateful heart

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We should be grateful for friends to whom we can turn and say “I’m gonna moan for 20 minutes straight” and they’ll just make you comfortable and listen to every complaint you make.  We should be grateful for people to whom talking feels like therapy. For the family we choose to support us when life turns upside down.

We should be grateful for so much more than we actually do.

Because we don’t realise the instability of the modern world. How things may change in an instant. How plans rarely work out and how we’re often forced to forge different paths ahead.

When we get too comfortable to move, alter, or evolve, life will usually find ways to push us out of it.

We may need to reassess our entire theory of the world, but it will probably be for the best. If we’re not obliged to exit our comfort zone, we will never realise the potential we have.

This social-media-driven world has manufactured a mentality where everyone – every single person out there – has a voice that they too often than not use to proclaim how perfect and outstanding they are. Yet, it is those who have nothing to say that usually shout the loudest, and those who have nothing to show for that proclaim their greatness. Others simply try to prove their worth in actions, not hollow speeches.

We live in a contemporary state of constant disappointment but not surprise. Because we’ve learned to expect the worst, despite fighting for the best.

Regardless, however, there are so many things to still be grateful for: our good health, the family around us, the friends who embrace us, and the love we receive from the people we truly cherish.

The red lines we cross

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We all have them. But it’s only when we cross them that we perceive their significance.

Red lines are like raising the alarm; that something is wrong.

We all seemingly know at what point something becomes unacceptable to us. But you never really believe you’ll reach that point, or surpass your limits in an often dangerous manner.

We dream of life to be perfect, with as few problems as possible, with disagreements being restricted to a minimum with our colleagues, partner, friends, or even strangers. Hoping whatever row we have may be trivial five minutes later, when we eventually cross those red lines of ours and tensions rise and voice levels increase, we are stunned ourselves. Because this point of no return was never our intention. And it usually becomes so obvious in how it leaves you drained, emotionally exhausted, and psychologically unable to think straight.

We exceed our limits when we accumulate emotions and thoughts for too long without expressing them; when we’re fighting a battle on our own and trying to conceal it from everyone else; when we’re pressing ourselves too hard to appear that everything is fine when it’s really not; when we want someone to stand by but are too proud to ask.

When our mind is too clouded to be able to think clearly, we can only see problems rather than solutions to them. That is when we need a support circle the most. To help us restore reason in that chaos-creating head of ours. It’s not easy. Nothing of value ever is. It would be too boring otherwise. We sometimes need to transcend our own limits – and our comfort zone – to awaken to everything else that can happen if we rattle ourselves up a bit.

For the record and as an interesting fact: The origin of the phrase ‘red line’ in English traces back to the “Red Line Agreement” in 1928 between largest oil companies of Britain, the USA and France at the time of the end of the Ottoman Empire. At the time of signature, the borders of the former empire were not clear, and to remedy the problem an Armenian businessman named Calouste Gulbenkian, took a red pencil to draw in an arbitrary manner the borders of the divided empire. The expression remained significant to global diplomacy and was reused during the UN’s founding after the WWII, especially in the English-speaking world.

Coffee stop

©Ted Strutz

It was a four-hour drive to Minnesota. A very long period of time to not speak to each other.

Can we stop for coffee?” she said softly after about an hour and a half passed.

He nodded; “Of course, at the next stop”.

It wasn’t the drink itself that was a necessity for them both. It was the act of reconciling over it.

Coffee, no matter how much a requisite for some to start the day, is a means to enjoying each other’s company. It is the pretext of getting together and sharing views.

Of enjoying life with one another.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The troubles of the world

It’s consoling to feel you are being heard. To know there is someone there who will allow you to lash out, to yell, to moan, to cry if needed. We need those air pockets once in a while to enable us to breathe. Because we can’t keep everything suffocating inside for too long”.

She paused and smiled. Marian could feel zia Giulia’s gentle gaze look right through her. She didn’t need to say much around her favourite aunt. It was as if she had a super-intuition through which she could perceive every emotion, every perplexing thought.

I’m glad you’re that person-to-go-to for your friends. But the problem arises when you allow all those problems you hear to drain into you and you add them onto your own”.

Marian sighed. Zia had struck spot on.

We need to listen, to comprehend, to offer advice, support, or even nothing more than our company and the reassurance that no one is alone. But you also need to know how to turn the tap off. That is how to allow the troubles of the world to slip off your shoulders. Each of us has enough of their own worries to carry those of others too. It’s not selfish. It’s self-care. And it does not mean you’re not being a good friend if you’re not constantly anguishing over the other’s hardships”.

She could sense the confusion, so she lightened the mood and added:

Even a camel will eventually shed you off when you become too heavy to carry. But that does not mean that it won’t accept to carry you back on again after a short while”.

Know your limits. And don’t be afraid to set them”.

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

The power of distance

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Distance has the power to show you the value of a person.

So does silence.

When you stop looking for them, who comes searching for you?

Friendship – and any type of relationship – is a two-way affair. You can’t be the one constantly chasing people. Heck, you shouldn’t be chasing anyone to begin with. We attract those we deserve, and the energy we emit is what returns to us. So relax. Whatever should, will come to you in time.

Don’t forget that the best stocktaking on life is made on the move – in trains, airplanes, and automobiles. It’s when you’re leaving that you realise what you miss most, who is looking for you, and to whom you want to return. The truest reflections come to you when you’re trying to escape life. It’s when you acknowledge what you’re longing to go back to.

Happy state of mind

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There are some things you just know; it’s that gut feeling that is almost never wrong. Some call it instinct, intuition, fate, destiny; name it as you wish, but that energy you receive from within actually helps direct your decisions, even unconsciously.

He felt it as soon as he shook her hand and she smiled brightly at him, her eyes sparkling like stars in the darkness of the room.

The music around them was loud, but they heard nothing. For that moment, it was just them. That’s how you block out the world. When you reach a true connection with someone.

It’s inexplicable how and why. How we meet these people during the ‘right’ time in our lives; how we never met them before even if we hang in the same circles and with the same people; and why we come across them when we’re ready to truly unite on all levels.

Be it a best friend who becomes your support, your shoulder to cry on, your harshest critic, but above all your family; or be it your soulmate (if there ever is one), the one who completes you, who makes your heart flutter, and who gets you smiling broadly at the single thought of them; people with whom we connect so deeply are invaluable. Because they become the light in our darkest hours, the people who lift us up when we’re crawling, who make us see our worth when we refuse to do so, who help us achieve our targets, who assist us on our path towards becoming the product of our dreams.

We need people like these in our life, however rare they may be. Because, ultimately, they are the ones who make us the better versions of ourselves. And that matters more than anything. For that is when we are at our most productive, most healthy, and most happy state of mind.

What if we were really ‘fine’?

We search for advice in self-help books, teachings, seminars, life coaches and gurus. As if a resonating, well-put phrase will magically heal us from all our troubles and problems. We search for a solution without even attempting to look for it within ourselves, because we want someone else to handle this burden for us.

We do the same in our relationships.

We expect too much from others, and blame them for not living up to our expectations.

But we also tire easily as we mature. We’ve been through the same vicious circle too many times to still be so tolerant of it. We decide faster and more critically of what we believe we can live with and give a chance to, and who/what not.

Yet in this insatiable quest for social completeness, we often find that what current relationships are lacking is depth. Actually depth. To be able to look at someone and see whatever it is they are trying to conceal. People are hardly ever what they (initially) seem or what they want to portray. And we may spend a lifetime trying to discover their true character and actually failing to. If a person won’t let you in, won’t let you past the limits they’ve set to the outer world, won’t allow you in-depth access, you’ll never really know who they are. And it’s a shame. Because you will never know how connected you can become to a person otherwise.

It’s not just about having fun and filling in the gaps of your social calendar. Relationships are much more. It’s about dancing till dawn drunk, but also about grabbing a coffee and hydrating the next morning; about chatting incessantly for days, yet sitting quietly enjoying a meal together; it’s about sharing your innermost fears without feeling criticised, and feeling safe that you’ll hear a truth that comes from a good-hearted place and is solely for your own benefit. The right relationships help empower you; they make you stronger, more confident, and happier.

And in the end, that’s what we’re all looking for: a reason to be ‘fine’ and genuinely mean it.

Tessellations and all that

Sometimes it’s not that it’s too fast too soon, it’s just that you don’t match at all”. Words of wisdom from a friend. It was another psychotherapy session during a morning coffee routine that proved to be the most liberating part of their day.

The topic was relationships.

When you fit with someone, you tessellate from the start”.

Also part of Weekend Writing Prompt #218

The dawn of an adventure

©MCD_Antiparos

You know that time when the sun rises; when hardly anyone ever gets up to see it, but often some stay up past dawn to witness it before falling into bed? That majestic hour when life begins again as a new day commences. It signifies a new start and symbolises that there is always another chance for things to get better.

A new day is like embarking on an adventure. You don’t really know where it’ll lead you, but you need to get up and go in order to find out.

The hardest decision to make is always the first step you’ll take. It’s like diving into the sea. If you take it step by step the water always seems colder. But if you simply dive in, it’s actually refreshing.

We ponder too much.

All we need is to find the right people to support us, to hear us out when we simply need to babble on for a while, to say something that will soothe and reassure us, to help us get back on the right track when we lose our faith on the path we’ve taken. But mostly, we need people to walk that road with us. Because it’s in the hardships and the little things that we realise who are worthy of being part of our lives.

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