MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “perspective”

Still new

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It’s the people you meet who change you. Who make you who you are. Who help you see the world differently.

Every person comes into your life and gives you something. Maybe it’s not obvious from the start, but you’ll soon realise it.

We often see ourselves through the eyes of others. And that alters the way we view life.

We too are like pre-loved toys. Previously used, but still new.

Also part of Weekend Writing Prompt #223

Empathising difference

All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”, wrote Leo Tolstoy in the beginning of Anna Karenina in 1878.

Misery has many forms. And this is true for all people.

We don’t realise how insignificant or trivial our problems are until we hear what someone else is facing.

But what we often fail to acknowledge is that we don’t understand what other people are going through no matter how much they (try to) explain. It’s usually because we don’t really want to empathise. We’re better off worrying about our own microcosm-shattering problems: where to go out, what to do to pass the day, who to call for an outing, what to watch on TV, where to go on holiday. We quarrel among ourselves because we can’t coordinate to have fun, yet other people are facing evictions, money problems, job security; actual issues of survival.

It puts it all into perspective, doesn’t it?

Well, it should.

There is a truth in that in order to survive you need to be thick-skinned. You need to be somewhat insensitive, allowing things to slide, and refusing to be affected by them. If you’re too perceptive and impacted by everything, you’re the only one to lose.

Because no one really cares if you’re struggling – with work, with family, with pretty much anything. If you can’t follow suit in the fun and the expenditure, you’ll soon be cut off. And no one really cares what or how you work. It’s simple: if we don’t understand what you do, we’ll consider it as not very important, so you can always ‘leave it for later’ – but certainly not for the weekend or a holiday, or for when we already have plans.

We have a tendency to only view life through our own lenses. We obstinately refuse to walk in someone else’s shoes, or even make the slightest of efforts to share their perspective of reality.

And it’s a shame. Because united we could achieve so much. Instead, we ravage each other as if we’re trying to free up space in this world we’re destroying.

Instead of lifting each other up, we’re surreptitiously trying to tear each other down.

A kind of bug

© Miles Rost

When someone asks you to describe yourself, what do you focus on? Your achievements, personality, character? We often regard ‘me’ people as egocentric, narcissistic or show-offs.

Yet, we usually undervalue our successes and we don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve. We don’t promote ourselves enough. And it is usually only when we hear others talking (positively) about us that we truly realise how much we’ve accomplished. When we view ourselves in the eyes of the right people, we comprehend the greatness we’re capable of.

But in the end, it’s all marketing: you’re either a ladybug or simply a bug.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Mob mentality

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There was an inexplicable feeling that something was wrong. As if the entire scenario of what they were experiencing had an innate defect. One that no one was yet able to prove or discern.

It was a crisis like no other. One which had eradicated all sense of what was logical, rational, or simply a common understanding of the slightest of things.

Misinformation was being spread out from the source and diffused like ripples in a lake. It only took two-three people to begin to replicate what they heard, without questioning anything, wholeheartedly believing that their arguments were valid and true. Fear was being disseminated like logic, although few resisted and dug deeper into their investigation of the truth.

But mob mentality is a difficult thing to permeate. Because it is true that united, there is a greater force.

Even when it is fighting on the wrong side.

Even when it is manipulating (hidden) facts.

Even when it is wrong.

Also part of Your Daily Word Prompt

Reprogramming a lifestyle

You know why we refuse to accept something we cannot control? Because we can’t handle uncertainty. We are not wired to ‘go with the flow’ and let things happen. People are impatient. And insecure. We need to know that there is a beginning, a middle and an end to things. Otherwise, we go insane.

This year has been strange and extraordinary in every sense and at every level. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a serious strain not only on global healthcare systems, but on our mental health as well.

People can’t handle so many restrictions and so many recurring constraints.

But most of all, they can’t accept being told what to do, or rather, what not to do.

We can’t breathe with masks on because we’re told we need them. We feel we’re being deprived of oxygen because that is what our mind is telling us.

In every lockdown, we remember the need to go outside, to walk, run, cycle, swim, and sit in the park under the sun. Yet, during our ‘normal’ lives we may hardly even go out onto the balcony for some fresh air, spending the entire day in front of a screen at a an office.

And now, that screen is our way of communicating with the world.

Ironic. Tragic. Call it what you will. But this new reality has caused an irrevocable change to what we consider ‘normal’.  And the things we consider as a given or as common sense.

The world has hit pause and forced us to reconsider everything we considered ‘ordinary’. We need to reprogramme our entire lifestyle and way of thinking, working and living at whatever life stage we currently find ourselves.

The worse thing about the recurring and long-drawn lockdowns is that we’re challenging our own minds, the limits of our sanity, the strength of our beliefs, and the potency of our optimism. The entire situation places us in the unwanted position of not knowing whether to make plans or what these can entail because we very simply do not know and cannot tell what tomorrow may bring.

Uncertainty is the root of our discomfort.  

But no matter how much we resist, complain, moan and react, there are some things that are beyond our control. A global pandemic is among them.

So if you had to answer the question “if you could be anywhere in the world, where would that be?”, what would you say?

Some would answer the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights; others at the top of Mount Everest, at the Caribbean, at a fancy resort, at your beach house, a mountain chalet, somewhere no one has been to before, anywhere you cannot be at this very moment, somewhere different to where you are.

But the truth is, the answer is not a destination. Because in pondering your reply, it’s who you want to be with that springs to mind. As you grow older, you realise it’s not really the place that matters, but the moments and people you spend them with.

In essence, everything we need is here – within us – we just haven’t acknowledged it enough so as not to worry about what is beyond our needs and control.

It’s not the place or circumstances that need to change. It is our entire lifestyle and mentality.

Independent confinement

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Tom was frequently likened to a cat. Mainly because, whenever he could, he slept for most of the day.

He didn’t mind being compared to a clever feline. He rather saw it as a compliment.

Cats are perhaps the most independent pets around. They can take care of themselves and act as if you’re living in their house rather than the other way around. They are the beings for whom the problem during lockdown is that everyone else is staying home with them. But they can also teach you so many things on how to manage self-confinement. They know how to adopt a slower pace of life as the norm; to seek out the sunny spots in the house; take stretch breaks; stay curious and always discover new things making each day exciting; contact a human every so often; keep a tidy space and clean yourself often.

Cats are the embodiment that life is easier when you’re not too busy with what others are doing.

The problem with people like Tom is that they can’t be like cats for too long. Everything in life requires a measure, a balance to be complete. And even though it is healthy to spend time alone; to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person, happiness has greater value when it is shared.

And in order to be able to live fully, we need more people (or animals) in our life. People who share our concerns, and who will seek us out whenever we choose to disappear in the most incredible hideaways.

We will meet again soon. For the time being, choose to shine; it’ll soon become a habit.

Quarantine news

©Douglas M. MacIlroy

I had a visitor today! Wait, I’ll show you. I managed to take a photo”. She scrolled through her photo gallery on her phone, while her friend was patiently sipping his coffee on the other end of the line. He smiled at her through his screen as he saw her eyes light up with enthusiasm at the news.

It was their daily teleconference. Well, the morning one. Others would follow during the day.

It was the new quarantine routine. Some moan about it, while others do their best to show that distance doesn’t matter and it can’t keep us apart.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Jasmin’s Prince

Her name was Jasmin. She was named after her mother’s favourite flower, one symbolising love, beauty and good luck. She had blue eyes and long black silky hair.

When she was young she was thrilled to discover that one of her favourite princesses bore the same name. She believed she was destined for greatness and always strived to achieve it.

But this had the disadvantage that, on this account, nothing (and often no one) was good enough.

So when she met her prince, she stifled him because the reality did not fit the perspective she had imagined. It was the problem of having too many expectations. They caused too great a heartache and too much disappointment when they were not met.

Unlike her gentle and kind character, she began to get angry too often. In her head, it wasn’t this difficult to be with someone, to communicate, to get along. She was enraged that things were not turning out the way she hoped.

And then his behaviour made it all worse. He began to pull away, talking to her less and not spending time together. She despised that he was lying to her. Even for the simplest of things under the pretext of “not wanting to upset her”. It made everything worse. Because she knew what the truth was and how he was lying about it. It made her feel as if he didn’t think she could handle the truth or that he did not trust her. She had always wondered, if people are doing things that they have to lie about, then why do them in the first place?

She was a person of discipline and order, and uncertainty did not fare well with her. So she began to walk away too, giving up trying to reconcile their romance. But in her heart she still hoped he would see clearly and claim her back. He always knew how to do that at first: it only took a flower, a kiss, a kind gesture, and she would melt in his arms. Princes have that ability: to charm you.

The world through a lens

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We all have a magnifying glass through which we view the world. The events, the circumstances, the people that surround us. But the thing is, we all have the illusion that we all view the world in the same way, because “our view” automatically means it is the “norm”. We each have a different lens, and thus a different view of the world, a different interpretation to life events and a different perspective on all experiences and people.

What we don’t understand or don’t agree with is usually feared. But because fear is a feeling that contradicts our egoisms, we tend to demean everything different to our own view. We treat it with contempt, spite, even anger and dislike simply because we have a different “rulebook” of how the world should work.

When it comes to people, we become hypocritical, showing a positive attitude on the exterior but inside boiling with rage against them. This is often the source of our negative behaviour towards people we dislike, disagree with, or simply cannot communicate well with. it is the reason why respect is not something that can be demanded but rather it is earned. We tend to reciprocate the attitude and behaviour we receive.

Unfortunately, though, not everyone has the same heart as us. Not even the same mind. Thus, it is unrealistic to expect that we’ll get back what we send out. Because not all people have the same lens. And if it is blurred, the world seems a little foggy and more pessimistic than we hoped.

We all get what we deserve in the end. So let’s try and be kind even to the people we dislike or who treat us badly. Karma will take care of them.

Hidden thoughts

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We all have hidden interpretations of things others don’t see. And it is usually the ones that cause a conflict. Because people find it hard to see with others’ eyes. We can’t put ourselves in others’ shoes, nor interpret things their way.

There are symbolic meanings to everyday behaviours. Meanings that are affected by our own perceptions of the world, by our prejudices, by our mentality, by the way we were raised, by the things we read, by our own experiences and thoughts.

It is these very perceptions that give rise to our hidden thoughts. They may be misinterpretations of certain incidents. But they become so rooted in our minds that to us they are established as the reality we see.

We refuse to see a different perspective, an alternative view, because it seems illogical, irrational, in total conflict to our own. And in essence, we are too stubborn, head-strong and selfish to do something that requires empathy on our part. It requires setting aside our own beliefs to comprehend what makes others react or act in certain ways.

Such absolute perceptions and hidden thoughts make our relationships dysfunctional. They cause us to become defensive even hostile. But worse of all, they lead to disappointment when we realise that our expectations are not met.

The mind is like a parachute: it only works when it is open.

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