MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “human behavior”

People like handcrafted plates

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“Sit. Take this plate. Look at it closely. Examine it. What do you see?”

“It’s decorated,” Jill replied, her young age obstructing her perspective.

“What more?” her aunt pressed.

“It’s colourful. Artfully decorated. It seems handcrafted. And there are so many details. You need to look closely to see them. To appreciate them”.

“Good. Now throw it down”.

Jill glared at her aunt.

“What?”

“Throw the plate down”.

“But…but, it will break”, she uttered, scared.

“That’s the point”.

Jill let the plate go, reluctantly. It fell onto the ground and broke into numerous pieces of all sizes.

“Pick it up and try to place the pieces back together”.

Jill tried, but there were many smaller pieces that had fractured and were too small to find or stick back together.

“Now what do you see?”

“It’s broken,” Jill sighed, genuinely saddened.

“It’s not the same. It’s not as beautiful. You can see the cracks and even if it is glued, they will still be evident. And the colour seems almost faded because of it”.

“Isn’t it still the same plate, though?”

“I guess”. The little girl seemed perplexed.

“People are like this handcrafted plate,” her aunt finally explained the meaning of this exercise. Everyone is beautiful in their own unique way. You need to look closely to see all those details that make each person special. But people, contrary to objects, have feelings. If they are pushed aside for too long, like a plate on the edge of a counter, they will fall and break. And once they do, they will carry the scars within them. No matter how much they try to pull themselves back together, to survive and go on, the scars will remain, perhaps faded, but they are still there. Time won’t heal them; it will just make it easier to live with them”.

Jill stared, listening attentively to every word.

“Always be kind to everyone you meet. You don’t know what scars each person hides. And treat people as softly and sympathetically as you would want to be treated. Not everyone sees the world the same way, but kindness is universal”.

Searching for allies in our head

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It was a cold, winter day with north winds howling through the window. The cold crept indoors, no matter how tightly shut the airways were.

He was moaning about how freezing it was even inside.

She had her mind elsewhere to pay too much attention. It was just the start of winter; more cold would surely follow.

Each person has random things hovering inside their mind. Things that grasp their attention at times when they should be focused on something or someone else. But we don’t know about them unless they are shared with us. Unless that someone else lets us into their mind, and on condition that we are empathetic enough to understand how and why whatever the problem is, is causing so much concern to the person next to us.

We are all different. It is inevitably so. And as such, we don’t all view the world in the same way. Problems we see as “end of the world”-type disasters, to someone else may be negligible mishaps. It is difficult to find people who share our point of view, our perspective, let alone our values. The meaning of “important” is not the same for everyone. That is why it is often challenging to explain what it is that is draining our energy and our mental health.

And that is why people often choose to bury themselves in a shell, rather than speak out. Because it is easier to shy away than try to make others understand.

He left, once again, as he always did when he couldn’t – or didn’t want to – understand her.

Just an hour later, the central heating in the building was turned on, presenting a strong ally against the cold.

Black shopping

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He was racing with his motorbike on the highway even before the sun came up. It was still quiet in town and in the city he got to in less than half the time he normally needed. It was the calm before the storm.

That day was Friday.

But it was not just any Friday.

It was Black Friday. The day all shoppers go crazy, waiting outside stores hours before they open, then fighting each other inside for items they don’t really need but are misled into believing they are a bargain, and then standing in line impatiently in order to pay for them by maxing out their credit cards.

The worse thing about this day was that everyone found something they needed to buy. So the majority of people were out shopping at one part of the day or other, leading to increased tensions, rows, noise and an incessant irritation that seemed to be diffused in the air.

He set out early, exactly because of this.

He wanted to get in and out of a store he found a large TV he had set his eyes on for weeks now. He had saved money and done his research.

He was prepared.

But not enough for how the day would turn out…

The Scrooges of this world

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His favourite character was Scrooge. Either McDuck or Ebenezer, it didn’t really matter. It was the trait he admired. That of being stingy, a cold-hearted miser and filthy rich because of it.

He wanted to have it all. But all was never enough. There was always more.

He lost friends as quickly as he acquired them, because his arrogant style that undermined everyone else around him immediately became evident.

Yet, he didn’t care. People like that seldom do. Arrogance, it is said, is a camouflage for insecurity. People adopt a conceited attitude and raise their voice to be heard, no matter if they’re wrong. They try to dominate every situation to show they’re in control. But what they try to hide is their fears that they cannot conquer.

People cheat and steal from each other, attempting to demonstrate they’re cleverer and more astute. Paraphrasing what the ghost said in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, they wear the chains they forge in life. Yet, in the end, all they achieve is to create a society in which the truly smart people want to escape from, because they are the ones that see through the corruption and lies. They are the ones that read beyond the deceits and the feinted arrogance. They are the ones who distinguish between arrogance and confidence and the ones who understand when it is right to stand up for what you believe and when it is just necessary to go with the flow.  As long as the flowing river is one that leads to an ocean – a greater good – and not one that drowns everything along the way.

“The world is your oyster. It is up to you to find the pearls” – Chris Gardner

The vicious circles we feed

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There is a place in the heart of the city where people go to disappear. It’s a place you often pass by on your daily route to work, shopping or whatever else you choose to spend you time, money and energy on. But you don’t realise they are there. You pretend not to see them. Not to know that these neighbourhoods are different.

We fear different. We oppose and react to whatever we don’t understand.

We don’t even try to change things. We simply acknowledge that they are not how they should.

And so, we continue our lives, and more people simply disappear out of theirs.

Because it is not easy to actually live. To have a life that fulfils you and completes you. People are used to existing. And documenting their existence to prove to others that they are doing things worthwhile. In reality, trying to convince themselves that they matter.

We close our eyes to those who need help. Because we don’t want to assume the responsibility of change.

And then we protest that nothing ever changes or improves. Like a vicious circle we ourselves feed.

Another’s vocation

©Roger Bultot

When you sit in a doctor’s chair, do you ever wonder what it’s like to be the one carrying out the patient examination?

When you pass through an architectural marvel, do you ponder about the person who had the idea and ability to create it?

When you read a book or see a film, do you admire the pen that wrote it?

Do you ever find yourself thinking of what it is like to be in another person’s shoes? To have another’s vocation or calling?

Every person is gifted, but some never open their package to find out their talent.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The people around us

One of the best advice to pass on to others is to surround yourself with people who empower you to become better. Be picky about who you keep around you, because personalities, words and traits do rub off naturally. The people around you reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel. Their energies are contagious.

Surround yourself with smart people who will argue with you. Not those who will tell you exactly what you want to hear. Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you even at times when you don’t see it yourself.

We need people around us who will lift us up, no matter what.

We want people in our lives who will help us grow, who will develop with us, with whom we will share experiences and be comrades in life.

Not people who are still too stuck on their guardians they are too afraid to build a life for themselves, those who are not capable of evolving because it means stepping out of their comfort zone, those who don’t even consider taking any life-changing decision.

We need people around us who don’t ask “what if I fall?”, but rather “what if I fly?”

Between the words we say and don’t

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Between the words we say and those we meant to say, we lose all those that truly matter”. She told him that after they had both calmed down from their last fight.

People tend to say a lot when they’re angry. They now knew that very well. Rage makes you say things that you may not mean, but mostly ones that are exaggerated. Things your mind regurgitates and convinces you that are true.

He tried to make her see how she was driving herself crazy by her own thoughts. How each person drew their own conclusions and saw whatever they wanted to see.

But just like you are the only one who has control of your feelings and your life, they had to eventually see that the only ones and only thing that mattered was what they did for each other, how they behaved to one another and the words they exchanged. Not what anyone else thought or said.

For it is true that sometimes the heart knows a truth the mind does not.

“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.” – Khalil Gibran

A social condition

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They called it a condition. He called it honesty. But sometimes it made him seem rude. He couldn’t tell the difference.

He was used to speaking his mind without camouflage or fake kindness. If he didn’t like something he would say it, if he disagreed with someone he would point it out. Simply said, he couldn’t feign politeness in a world filled with people wearing masks.

He wasn’t the one to hide; from anyone or anything. But that often got him into trouble. Because not everyone appreciated the sincerity in which his words were uttered.

His belief was that if people couldn’t handle the truth, they shouldn’t be doing or saying things that were contrary to it.

In fact, he was convinced, that if people followed the norms of proper social conduct, so many fake masks would not be necessary.

But that was simply his thoughts. He lacked tact but that did not make him any less of a person than anyone pretending to be his friend.

Endless chatter

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There is a difference between saying too much and not enough. Just as there is a difference in knowing when to speak and when not.

It is Plato who said it best: “wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something”.

In an age where self-promotion is the norm, people speak more than ever. The problem though, is that they do not know when to pause.

A Zen saying goes “do not speak unless you can improve the silence”. Unfortunately, nowadays few can do that.

We observe it daily: in the ride to and from work, people are stuck in trafficking and feel the constant need to talk to someone – co-passengers, on the phone, to random strangers, salespersons, anyone they bump into – simply to consume the words they cannot suppress inside.

It may be seen as an insecurity, wanting to constantly draw attention onto oneself by speaking endlessly. But people need to realise when this becomes tiresome for others more than for themselves.

Those who speak limitlessly also tend to be those who are not comfortable in their own silence, and who subsequently try to find ways to avoid it. As such, though, they lose out on the healing process some minutes of quiet offers not only to others but to their own soul as well.

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