MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “human nature”

Talk to listen

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Humans have a strange characteristic: they can either talk for hours or sit in silence. Sometimes we need to alternate between the two.

A good, long, talk – and sometimes a good cry – is often the best cure for anything that is bothering you. It works best if there is a recipient. A friend who understands you and can soothe your aching soul.Someone who was with you before a crisis, now during it, and will remain even after it is gone. Talking about our problems alleviates our sense of burden,the pressure we feel because of them. But it has an even greater effect when you know that you’re talking to someone who may not be able to relate, but certainly comprehends your troubles. They don’t need to offer solutions. Just to be there and listen. Often, that is more important. Because most people don’t listen. They only hear what they want, all the while preparing their response for when it is their turn to enter the discussion.

Perhaps that is also the reason why it is difficult to have intellectual conversations nowadays. That ability to just sit and talk, about anything and everything. To speak without fear or regrets or limitations. To talk for hours about life and all is challenges and what makes it all worthwhile.

There is a very valid saying related to this: “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people”. Consider what the talk is about next time you socialise. You’ll better realise your level of interaction.Of course, we’ve all found ourselves discuss all three at some point or other. But it is the time you devote to each that matters.

Talking helps us to externalise what we’re hiding inside. It also helps us better understand ourselves and our own needs. What we’re feeling and what we want to do about it. Most of the time we don’t talk so that others can offer solutions, we talk so that we better acknowledge our problem and find the way to solve it ourselves and help us heal. Support, however, is always welcome.

The thing is, to choose to talk. For whenever we say “I can’t”, “it is not my fault”, “I’m not responsible”, “there is no other way”, we are merely lying to ourselves. There is always a choice. And it is one made by us.

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A woman’s silence

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She would often wander in a world no-one could understand. The real world made no sense anymore. She would retreat in the attic and later in the bedroom or living room. She would watch the time run by as she lost herself in books or let her mind gaze at TV series. She didn’t care anymore if she was alone. Now, it was something she actually looked forward to.

In the cold winter days, she would sit on a couch wrapped in a warm blanket with the company of her fluffy soft-toys. In their big glimmering eyes, she would find comfort. In there, she saw the reflection of who she wanted to be; who she was striving to become; who few would appreciate or, even more, understand.

Perhaps that was what was most disappointing. That no matter how much she explained her point of view, hardly anyone would see it. It is easy to put the blame for everything on someone else; it is even easier to dismiss all their views as wrong simply because they don’t agree with yours.People only listen to what they want to hear. And whatever you say, they will only focus on what they think is important, rendering everything else unsaid. She was tired of having to repeat herself so often, and not being heard. She was not understood. And that was perhaps worse than not being appreciated.

So, she drifted away. She had grown weary of trying to change a world that so adamantly refused to do so. She stopped insisting. Her grandfather once told her that people should fear a woman’s silence, for a woman who stops moaning and more so talking is one who has simply given up. A woman’s silence is her loudest cry. But few can truly realise that. Even fewer are bold enough to do something about it.

It’s easy to keep demanding that everyone else changes. The real courage is to admit that you need to change too. And to do it.

How are you…you?

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What if you woke up one day and found someone had stolen your identity? How could you prove you were who you say you are? What truly makes you…you?

Yes, sounds familiar. If you’ve seen Unknown, the scenario reminds you of this.

But think about it. How would you describe yourself? Don’t think professionally, so no CV references and all that. Think adjectives. What makes you stand out from the crowd? How are you different from every other person on this planet?

Whether we like it or not, we are different because of what we experience, but more so, because of what we feel.

We may not want to pose this question – of what makes you you – to other people, out of fear of what they may say. Some people worry about what others think of them. What they truly and sincerely believe, not merely what they show. Because all of us have an opinion about others. It is formed from the very first time we meet the other person and it evolves according to the development of our relationship.

So, others can speak of you, even if you don’t want to.

But how do you describe yourself? And not in that narcissistic sense where you see everything on you as close to perfect.

What distinguishes you? What makes you worth the meet?

And deeper of all – how would you defend yourself against someone who had stolen your identity?

“We live in a world full of people who are satisfied with pretending to be someone they are not” – Tommy Tran

“Unless we base our sense of identity upon the truth of who we are, it is impossible to attain true happiness” – Brenda Shoshanna

Everywhere and nowhere

https://cottagelife.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/3034764-slide-s-20-tk-of-the-worlds-most-jaw-dropping-rural-cabins-and-hideouts.jpgThere is a ‘dare’ going around online, prompting you to consider if you could live in an isolated cabin without internet or TV for something like six months. The prize would be one million dollars (or euros or whatever your currency is). To some this seems like torture. It is an unthinkable feat not designed for the modern age. Because nowadays our mobile phone runs out of battery and we run around in panic like headless chicken searching desperately for a charger, something that will keep us connected to the (virtual) outer world.

The problem is that a few decades ago, people did survive without internet and TV. In fact, they probably had a better quality of life too. We don’t appreciate that, let alone acknowledge it.

We feel the urge to be everywhere at once, to do everything even when it is beyond our capacities. We want to show that we are around, doing things, being places. But in the process, we are everywhere and nowhere. We do things simply to cross them off our lists, or to post them online, or simply for the sake of doing them. We don’t enjoy them, though. We don’t revel in what we’re doing. We drive and think of the other things we need to do in the day. We go on a trip and consider what we need to do when we get back. We dream of holidays but don’t experience life.

It is a shame. Because in the age where anything is possible, where we have the infrastructure, resources and technology to do so many things to help us move ahead, we choose to remain backward. Both in mind and in society as a whole.

Admitting to the problem

https://img.fotocommunity.com/sehnsucht-nach-meer-e5071e7c-1c5a-4ce7-88e1-8e87a1f6e2ce.jpg?height=400They say that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. In fact, it is true that more people would learn from them mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them. In the same light, in order to begin to find some peace of mind, we need to acknowledge that we have none.

In our modern age, being (too) busy is a problem. But the thing is, we think that it is a privilege, an asset, or even something to be proud of – we actually boast of being busy. Of not having time for anything, not even of living.

We have lost touch of the things that matter. Instead of talking to each other and trying to help one another, to learn from each other and mutually improve, we have become so competitive that what dominates our relationships is hypocrisy and shallowness.

What is more, we don’t know how to relax anymore. We have become so obsessed about constantly having something on our minds and in our hands that we turn into inexplicably nervous freaks when we are faced with “doing nothing”. Keeping calm is not a concept the modern world understands. Yet, we so love to cant about it everywhere, we have drawn numerous gifs and images and posters and anything you can imagine, that begin with “keep calm and…”.

Let’s face it. We have become a troublesome kind. We are so afraid of being left out of pretty much anything that we create trouble where there is none, do things we don’t really want to do, and adopt styles that don’t fit us simply because they are the current trend. In the process, we choose to follow the crowd than stand out in our own unique way. And, like everyone else, we criticise or adore whoever and whatever is ‘in fashion’ at the time.

We don’t think anymore. And that is perhaps the most pitiful and severe problem of us all.

The language of communication

language-barrierIt’s a strange feeling not being able to communicate due to language barriers. It’s something like feeling helpless and incompetent; as if somehow you are found wanting in certain circumstances. However, this is not always your fault.

Barry found himself abroad on his first trip in years. He had finally overcome his fear of flying – as much as possible to be able to take a quick trip to the neighbouring country he had heard so much about. The target was to relax and get away for a couple of days. To regroup and return stronger and rejuvenated.

But instead… the opposite occurred.

There are some people who see it as a matter of nationalistic pride to refuse to speak in a language other than their own. No matter how much their economy needs tourists, they do not seem to care to put on a smiling face or to even demonstrate the minimum amount of courtesy. In their view, they are not paid enough to serve others. At least not the way they should – politely and brightly. They see foreigners as intruders that come to disrupt their own routine and who inconveniently what things done differently. So many even refuse to speak to them in a language different than their own, one that is universally understandable.

Barry had never faced a similar situation before. In the seven languages he spoke, he always had one way or another to talk to almost every one he met. But here, everything was different. It was almost a stubbornness, a not wanting to communicate. They spoke in their language and their interlocutor could simply sense the tone. Or see the gesture. S/He would get the point sooner or later.

Barry felt unwanted. It was very bad to feel so inhospitable in a country you invested money into going. You were injecting cash into their economy, the least they could do was show they appreciated it.

In the end, relaxing was not as much as trying to remain calm. The best he could do was acknowledge that he was not going to be the one to alter an entire mentality or culture. Being upset about things you can’t change won’t help. All you can do is decline to fall to their level, and maintain your own dignity.

 

The biggest lie we tell ourselves

http://www.trueactivist.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/photo_2016-11-28_02-10-26.jpgSociety, they say, is a reflection of its people. Of their mentality, their habits, their behaviour. Similarly, rulers, or rather the ruling elite, the leaders on top, ideally represent the people they ‘serve’. Regardless if they eventually convert to serving and satisfying their own needs at the expense of the populace.

Carl Thomas, an American journalist, had said: “in a free society, government reflects the soul of its people. If people want change at the top, they will have to live in different ways. Our major social problems are not the cause of our decadence. They are a reflection of it”.

People are seen as naïve; no matter how educated they want to believe they are. Because in the end we all prefer to believe comforting lies than inconvenient truths. And in the case of the populace, history has proven that they will support the person who gives them the biggest lie. Because it covers up more of their life’s dissatisfaction.

Between history and politics, the latter has also proven to be the strongest. Because it manages to repeat itself. And we seem to be unable to learn from history. We allow ourselves to keep falling in the same traps, even if we know how things turn out – how the post is more important than the knowledge or skills; how clientelism rages everywhere; how civil administration does not work for the people but for those in charge of it; how rulers everywhere seek to primarily further their own aims and then their county’s – if at all. Yet, we prove wanting in many ways and incapable of changing anything for the better. Because improving things takes work. And no one is willing to do it.

We’d rather engage in big talk and criticism rather than act.  And that is our greatest weakness.

Pretending to be

http://www.mitchvane.com/site/assets/files/1191/age-virtual_life-1.480x0.jpegIn a line from the 2014 Australian theatre production of George Orwell’s best-selling novel 1984, one of the characters that works for the Government, otherwise known as Big Brother, says: “The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what’s happening”. Seventy years after the novel was written, this is more relevant and true than ever.

We are so busy trying to appear to be busy – constantly posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and all other social networks that we are not aware of what is happening in the world around us. We are so caught up in exhibiting a virtual life that we miss out on actually living one.

It is as if Orwell predicted the future, way ahead of his time. But in reality, all he did was truly comprehend human nature and its weakness – the fact that it is overwhelmed by apathy, selfishness and greed.

Orwell’s 1984 (1984 (written in 1948) is described as “one of the greatest dystopian novels every written”. “It looks at a future where people are controlled into what to think, how to act and how to live by the Government, known as Big Brother. It uses telescreens, fearmongering, media control and corruption to control the masses”. The main protagonist, however, is an initially apathetic person named Winston who “craves something more than the controlled world he inhabits”.

Crawling out of apathy has actually become a challenge.

In our current world, we are so determined to show that “we are not afraid” that we have allowed our data to be accessible almost everywhere by everyone. We cannot travel without being documented in more than one way, everything we do is entered on databases that are interlinked and our entire existence is available on a screen. You are reading this very text on one such screen.

The point is to get off it. Go out and do something. Create a life rather than pretend to have one. Read, think and live.

The misappreciation of things

http://www.businesscoachmichaeldill.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/value-of-english.jpgThere is a saying that you don’t really appreciate what you have until you have it no more. In a post-apocalyptic world we will begin to understand how lucky we are nowadays to be able to do so many things with so little effort – from house chores to work to travel. Yet, we have forgotten the value of everything that truly matters: family, relationships, education.

We don’t have time – we say – to read books. To feed our minds with something of essence, that may change the way we think and the way we view things around us. Ironically, however, we spend the major part of our days skim reading on a screen pointless articles and posts on social media.

We claim we don’t have time – or energy – to visit a museum or an exhibition, something that would increase our value as people, that would give us some cultural education, that would help us realise where we come from so we can improve where we’re going. Yet, we have the time to waste by taking tens of shots in search of the perfect selfie to post on social networks in demonstration of our idyllic lives.

We know nothing yet act as if we know everything.

We stubbornly refuse to learn and, even more, be taught by elders.

We have become a generation of people who want everything and value nothing.

And it is a shame. Because we are the future of this world. And it is not looking too bright.

Keep calm

https://www.mindful.org/wp-content/uploads/Calm.jpgCalmness is the cradle of power” (Josiah Gilbert Holland), that is why being calm – having a clear mind and a patient heart – is nowadays considered something like a superpower.

Never before did mankind need so many motivational resources on how to be calm, find calm, calm down, and all the likes. Earlier generations considered being calm and having time to relax a given. But in this one, when everything moves so rapidly, when you’re away from a screen for an hour or less and new developments have already taken the course, people don’t have time to relax or slow down. Or so they say. In essence, we refuse to do so out of fear that we may miss out on something. That is mainly why youth are so attached to their mobile phones, checking social networks every so often. It is the very fear of missing out that stops us from actually living our own lives. Of doing something memorable that you don’t need to post on the web because it would lose its significance that way. Not every moment we experience needs to be demonstrated on line. We don’t cease to exist when no one is watching.

That anguish we have of what the world does or sees is also what keeps us so much on edge. Why we can’t stop even if we try. Why we sit on a couch at the end of the day to watch something irrelevant on TV and still find ourselves thinking about a million other things or be skim reading on our tablet or phone. It is also why when we do manage to switch our brains off, we instantly fall asleep. It is an accumulation of prolonged tiredness.

There are a series of “inspirational mottos” about pretty much everything. They begin “Keep calm and…”. Because we need to be reminded and prompted to calm down.

Apple has even created an app for that too. It was named App of the Year for 2017 and it is called “Calm”, offering “Meditation techniques for Sleep and Stress Reduction”.

Isn’t it ironic how we need an application to remind us to “breathe” or “do nothing for 15 seconds”?

Maybe we all do need some “mindfulness”, that “basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us”.

All we really need is to live fully, deeply and constantly and let our mind wander whenever it can. But in the world we live in, being calm and relaxed has become some kind of superpower.

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