MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “negative”

70,000 thoughts a day

Experts estimate that we make around 70,000 thoughts a day. Most of them are obsessive-compulsive. And that incessant mental chatter steals our energy and drowns our focus. We’re pushed into creating scenarios about things that probably won’t even happen, interpretations that don’t stand, and events that aren’t true.

Yet, these are still thoughts that occupy our minds.

We have a tendency to gravitate towards the negative. If we hear ten positive things and one not-so-positive, we will automatically focus on the latter. Call it our innate instinct of survival, it’s what we feel threatens us and we need to act to fix it.

Perhaps the problem, however, is that we stick to how we think people should act. And that’s what makes us react so much to everything. Because we have in our head a whole list of actions that we are expecting others to make: to check up on us without any particular reason; to send a good morning text simply to show they’re thinking of us; to show up at our doorstep with a bowl of hot soup when we’re sick; to just sit with us when we’re not feeling well and all we want is some company to watch TV with. We long for things that others maybe don’t even think of: a goodnight call to make us feel loved before we end the day; attention when we’re upset; a smile when we’re frowning; the sharing of good news; a walk together to clear our minds. For us, we’re not asking for much. But nothing is obvious, and we shouldn’t expect others to act as we would. Perhaps that is the most difficult and troublesome thought of all: that we cannot expect others to behave in the way we would anticipate them to. We can’t compel people to change; they’ll do so if they truly want to.

We demand more of ourselves and oftentimes we force that upon others too.

We think too much and we perplex our minds with situations that sometimes don’t correspond to reality. But those thousands of thoughts soon take over our feelings. And that is the most dangerous of all. For we feel even when we sleep; when we spring awake from a nightmare, when we smile from the love we dream. We feel constantly. Some more than others. Not everyone can be as insensitive as not to realise when they’re causing trouble to others, or as empathetic that they carry the burden of others’ troubles. We need to find a balance. But the weight of our endless thoughts often hinder us from doing so.

We’re caught in an endless stream of thoughts that exasperates when we’re tired, stressed or worried. And this further adds to our exhaustion – both mental and physical. But like this article notes:

  • Just think how much energy and time you could have saved, if you could reduce the number of your thoughts.
  • Just think how much better focus you could possess, if thoughts did not bother you.
  • Just think how much inner peace, calmness and happiness you would have enjoyed, if there was a way to stop all these thoughts, which add nothing to your life.

Let me ask you, do you keep the engine of your car running after arriving at your destination? You certainly switch the engine off. So why not do so with your mind?

Some thoughts steal our peace, and in time, our lives too.


A missing drop woke up in anguish. There was so much to do and so little time. What if he didn’t complete everything today? What if something went wrong? What if…. There was so much negativity in his thoughts that it was as if he had failed in his mission already. He worried too much and exhausted his energy trembling over things that could be unsuccessful, rather than focusing on what he could do to accomplish what he had set his mind upon.

Natalia was also like that. Every time she met someone new, be it as a friend, an acquaintance or a love interest, she would agonise over things that could break the relationship apart. As such, she could never really enjoy the time she spent with these people. And she never managed to build upon her human relations.

It is natural for people to worry. We do it all the time. Parents worry about their children constantly, no matter how old they may be. Couples are concerned about each other when either is not well. Friends support each other through the hard times too.

We worry about things we can’t control, and those we can. And it is really useless to go about telling people not to worry because unless that person decides by themselves to change their perspective, there is not much you can do about it.

We worry because it is a way of showing we care. That we are not insensitive to other people, to the world in general. We may worry too much at times, about things that don’t matter. And we will always find other people who have far greater troubles and worries than ours. But all we can really do is remind ourselves that among the 7 billion people on this planet, we are but a small drop in a vast ocean, but, like Mother Theresa had said, “that ocean would be less because of that missing drop”. Wouldn’t you prefer a calm sea, rather than a turbulent one?

So, whatever the situation, we need to believe and hope that everything will be OK in the end. We simply need to work towards achieving the positive, rather than realizing the negative that we’ve created in our head.

Worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it never gets you anywhere”.


Also part of Daily Prompt: Drop

Exorcising the black cloud

dark-cloudIs it true? That if one thing goes so wrong that plunges you into pessimism and depression then a whole string of things will follow? As if the entire universe is somehow conspiring against you?

Why doesn’t it ever conspire for you?

Maurice was pondering these thoughts as he stared at his half-burned down apartment.

He had burnt the toast this morning – the toaster was already broken, so he placed them in the oven instead, but miscalculated the time needed. So he threw out the two black squares and went out to the bakery at the end of the street to get something fresh. On the way, he stopped by the kiosk to get a newspaper and had a 5-minute chat with the seller there. But by the time he got back, it was already late. Apparently, the oven had not been shut-off properly and a burnt piece of toast had managed to creep its way into causing enough trouble.

The rest of the week was horrible for Maurice too.

He missed a deadline at work and was heavily scolded at. He got food poisoning from not defrosting properly some fish. And he couldn’t sleep at night because of all the thoughts swarming in his head.

Why didn’t anything ever go right for him? Why was nothing ever working out in his favour? And most of all, why did nothing ever happen as he wished?

So how would he manage to exorcise this dark cloud of bad luck that was hanging over his head?

It was a drag and lately he could feel it suffocating him all the more. He felt so crushed by sadness that he didn’t want to do anything. He wanted to leave the house but didn’t have the energy too. He wanted to sleep to forget it all, but couldn’t because the minute his head hit the pillow all these thoughts attacked him like a platoon of angry fighters.

He read a series of articles in the magazines he had piled up in his bookcase and confirmed what he already knew – he was on the verge of collapse. It is not just the physical stress that can do that to you. It is the psychological breakdown that delivers the final blow.

So he decided to adopt something new – to find the positive in every situation, no matter how bad the latter was. He began with the burnt-down flat. The positive was that it was a chance to renovate. And the fact that he was alone while all his friends were away? A chance to do some self-exploring and perhaps even find new friends. He just had to manage to get out of the house without that cloud over his head.

It was the only way he would allow the light back into his life.

Is it really greener on the other side?

Greener grassThe great thing about going away on a holiday is that you get to forget about everything that annoys you in the place where you reside and go on to experience a different lifestyle, with possibly a different culture and mentality. However, a comparison between what you routinely endure every day and what you see for only a short period is unavoidable. And it seems that every time what you conclude is that the grass always seems to be greener on the other side of the fence. That this “neighbour’s lawn” is indeed better looking, healthier and overall greener than your own. Even though in reality you may be just ignoring anything negative about it and downplaying everything positive about your own.

But sometimes it is in fact greener on the other side. When you view and live in a routine different than the one you are acquainted to, it often simply serves to highlight everything wrong about the latter. The better manners, more efficient organisation, and work ethics of the host nation, simply underline the inadequacy, rudeness and corruption that may prevail in your own. And that is when you decide that things need to change.

Perhaps it is true that one person alone cannot change the world. But change starts from within. And an alteration in your own lifestyle may at least help you reach the satisfaction you so desire. If everything around you seems so negative, and everything elsewhere so positive, then perhaps the grass is truly greener on the other side. But how do you penetrate into that “greener” lawn? How do you enter a system which seems to value contacts, rank and background, much more than knowledge, skills and experience? How do you manage to persuade a director to let you in or at least give you an opportunity when you don’t even know anyone who can open the door? Some trends are universal. And the lack of meritocracy appears to be one of them.

It is like the fight between two wolves that an old Cherokee man told his grandson about. It was about a terrible fight occurring inside of him, between two wolves. One was evil – he represented anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other was good – he was joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. “The same fight”, the man said, “is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too”. The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

That is true for every aspect of our lives. If we simply look at the negative in everything, that is all we will know. For as long as you feed your mind with the belief that the grass is greener on the other side, that is what you will forever see. In Greek there is a saying that every obstacle is there for a good reason. Perhaps to make you stronger and better prepared when you finally do cross over to the greener lawn. For when you do, you might finally see its own inadequacies and fading colour…


Also part of Daily Prompt: Good Fences?

Seeing the positive amidst the clouds

In “The Sound of Music” Julie Andrews as Maria sang about all the things that make her smile. In the 21st century it seems that there are a lot more things that bring us down instead. It is so easy to allow yourself to slip into despair and sulk about everything that is going wrong. How things don’t seem to be going your way and how luck is avoiding your door. Depression settles in and then all you’re left with is a warm blanket, and despite the two thumbs, if they’re not pointing up, then Linus’ theory of happiness being a thumb and a warm blanket won’t work.

There is a saying, that when it rains it pours. Similar to what the Ancient Greeks said that from one bad thing, a thousand follow. But that should not be a reason to dampen your spirits and erase your smile. Someone recently told me that a smile is wealth. And it is true, that no matter what the other person is feeling, being greeted by a smile certainly makes their day a bit brighter. Dark clouds appear some time around the year. It is unavoidable. It is the simple nature of things. But even when it is raining, pouring even, that is not a reason to barricade yourself indoors waiting for it all to go away. People are stronger than they think. And their strength is mostly demonstrated in the hardest of times. When that is all you’ve got. But not giving up, not surrendering to the clouds, not succumbing to the depression, is a sign of strength in itself. And to continue with the sayings: the night is darkest just before dawn but every cloud has a silver lining. You just have to be able to live through each situation and be willing to look hard enough to find the positive in every moment. In the end, you may even find the pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow!

It is hard to keep a smile on your face at all times. Hiding from others your emotional baggage and masking your misery. But it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown, so why not conserve the energy and utilize it in doing something you like and makes you happy?

If things do happen for a reason, then that should always be to make us stronger, better prepared for the hardships, and more aware at the fragility of it all. So like the sun rising and disbursing the clouds, we too must retain our positive attitudes that will help light our way to achieving our goals. Even Gene Kelly was Singing in the Rain and he never caught pneumonia, so why should we? 🙂

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