MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “priorities”

Disappointed but not surprised

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Every new month we start with the hope that things will be better in the next 30 days. We garner all the optimism we sort of lost along the way during the previous month to start over.

Until it crashes over our head much sooner than we’d hoped for.

Perhaps we are living out a self-fulfilling prophecy in that we expect to be disappointed so we’re just waiting for it to happen. But what if this pattern is a recurring one? What if the circumstances around us simply lead up to that painful loss of optimism? Or maybe it’s just that we hope for a lot.

In the past few months (or even years) we’ve been through so much – so many ridiculous, unperceivable, irrational situations – that we’re no longer surprised by anything. Yet, we’re still left disappointed.

And that is the worst feeling of all.

Maya Angelou had said that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

We desire the people closest to us – to whom we confide our deepest insecurities, thoughts, and dreams – to actually do what it is they proclaim.

Rhetoric is easy. You just tell the others what they want to hear. But it’s in the implementation that most are found wanting. It’s the actions that will prove who you are and how much you care. And it’s in the adversities – when you need a clan around you the most – that you’ll see who truly values and supports you. It’s all bright when you’re having fun, but when lightning hits and you’re called to confront the difficulties, who is by your side?

We rethink everything when the world overturns. It’s a push to awaken when we’re caught doing the same mistakes. When we still believe that everyone loves and cares the way we do; at times, prioritising others’ needs above our own because that’s just who we are.

We expect our people to support us in all our endeavours, professional efforts, and personal goals. To push us to be better and to help us maintain our sanity and serenity. Who will demonstrate their encouragement through the slightest of things: a virtual like on a social media post, a digital heart on our business page, an online follow to keep us going. It’s the people you can turn to at any time – be it in the middle of the day or at 2 am – because that’s when you want to speak your heart out. The people who will understand your burden and who will sit and listen to you despite having a great day themselves. The people who will try to soothe your distress because they respect, empathize, and acknowledge that that is what you need at the moment. Who will use a calming tone to communicate with you because criticism and patronisation won’t help.

Showing you care doesn’t mean moving mountains. Love is in the little things; it’s in the time you devote, the priorities you set, and the concern you show. It’s in making the other person feel safe and cherished, that they’re important and worth fighting for.

The more we mature and the more we experience certain things in life, the better we learn to appreciate the people who stand by us regardless. Unfortunately, we don’t always receive the support from the people we anticipate it the most. And we continue to realise it in a hard way. But we should be thankful that there is a handful who will help us pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move ahead because that’s what we do best. Egoism is bad if it borders narcissism and arrogance, but it is often good if it helps you build confidence and makes you realise your value.

We keep telling ourselves to expect less to avoid disappointment, yet that too is on the list of things easier said than done.

Hearts apart

A good friend once advised me that in any relationship you should not give too much all at once and up front. It will prompt greed, because people always want more but are too selfish to admit it is so.

Unfortunately, some people can’t help being kind, and giving others their all, unconditionally, without asking for anything in return. Nothing other than acknowledgment and respect.

Some things that are obvious for some are not at all for others. But when you have to ask for even those common-sense issues, their value is automatically lost.

We grow irritated and angry when we feel we are not taken into account, when we are not prioritised as highly as we wish, when we witness that our voices are not heard.

Anger leads to rage, and as our hearts grow further apart we yell to cover the distance.

Have you noticed that? We shout when we’re angry even if we’re standing two feet apart, because we sense the other is not hearing us, not grasping what we’re saying, because we keep repeating the same things without any change, without progress. We speak simply for reiterating each one’s position. Not to discuss and resolve whatever issues arise for whatever reason.

We may presume someone else’s worries are petty. But that does not mean we should treat them as such. Respect is seeing the world through another’s eyes. Wondering how you would act in their shoes. And helping them settle the crisis.

Caring is demonstrating that you value the other regardless of what your prior actions may have proven to them. It is a simple as that: show it.

If love is the only way to soothe the yelling and reconnect our hearts, all we have to do is display it. Otherwise, there is no point in even trying.

Perhaps that was the problem in the first place; that we tried too hard; expected too much; and got disenchanted too soon.

Protect your peace

There comes a time when you need to accept that your peace of mind is more important than anything else.

If we constantly place ourselves in a state where we feel we need to keep everyone else happy, sometimes even exceeding our own limits and sacrificing our own wants to please others, we will soon find that we’re losing ourselves. Let alone wrongly exploiting our time and energy.

We need a motive for everything we do. Subconsciously, that is how it all works. Even if it is simply feeling acknowledged, appreciated, respected, valued or love, we need to sense that there is a purpose in the efforts we make.

When things fall apart from the slightest misunderstandings, from things wrongly perceived, or merely from having too many expectations, the disappointment is usually too much to bear.

And that’s when it all comes crashing down.

Because for as long as you’re hyperactive, keeping everything in motion, the ball rolls smoothly. Once the slightest hiccup occurs and something stops – even if for a millisecond – you realise how much you’re coping with, trying to juggle so much more than you can withstand.

We need to learn to be done, not mad, not bothered, just done.

We need to protect our peace at all costs. It’s what matters most. For if we don’t have a healthy mental state, nothing else really matters.

Multitasking alert

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People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) who are also into multitasking can relate to how easily it is to be constantly on edge about everything, yet also completely indifferent at the same time. It’s a paradox, indeed. But it also happens.

When you have too much to do, it is much easier to decide to do absolutely nothing.

Until that switch clicks inside you and you become determined to put things into order. That’s the OCD acting out – you get organized, and suddenly also very productive.

The problem with multitasking, however, is that you think you’re doing a lot of things at once, when in essence, you’re occupying yourself with many small things, none of which you finish. It’s like opening tens of tabs on many browsers simultaneously, but actually reading none.

This mentality of wanting to be too busy all the time has actually made us so alert, rather so on edge, that it takes the slightest of things at times to make us erupt.

We’ve created a society where we’re constantly agitated without knowing why and we lash out on the wrong people, at the wrong time, and for the wrong reasons.

What if we tried to put things into order to begin with – without opening up so many tabs? Let’s prioritise things – yes, this is also an OCD thing: lists. But there is an innate satisfaction with seeing that you’re actually getting things done. And in a much calmer and refined way.

“Multitasking makes us feel productive. Single-tasking makes us actually productive”.

Also part of Your Daily Writing Prompt

Filtering our focus

In a time of rapidly evolving channels of information, is the problem that we know too much, or that we think we do? We’re constantly trying to keep up with the tide, but it seems that something else beats us to the news. There is always something happening we know little to nothing about, or worse – we only know part of.

We hoard information from so many sources for later. Because there’s just too much to read out there, and there’s little time to do it in. No matter how fast you skim read, haven’t you found yourself skipping articles or emails, or saving them for later, if it’s more than three scrolls long? In this busy contemporary lifestyle, we need to get to the point quickly. We’ve become so easily distracted that things – people and conversations included – need to gain our focus fast (and keep it), otherwise they’re considered tiresome and unworthy of our attention.

It may be dubbed “first-world problems”, but let’s face it, this is the environment we live in. We need to adjust to survive.

This acute article that came my way from my inspiring boss who knows me all too well, resonated with me from the very first sentence. If you’re a reader, you know to the bone what it’s like to hoard reading material in all forms – paper and digital. You also apprehend what it feels like to tell yourself you’ll read it later, but instead keep elongating that list that never seems to get shorter or even at the least done. Perhaps the real problem though is not that we hoard too much, but rather that we fail to filter right. It is indeed unfeasible to read everything we would like; a lifetime would not suffice for that. But shouldn’t we be able to prioritise what’s important?

Like the people and things we devote our attention to, prioritising is important in maintaining a healthy, productive and sane lifestyle.

Just think about this: when you’re younger you usually make a habit of remembering everyone’s birthday, sending out celebratory wishes and attending as many parties as you can. But as you grow older, you begin to filter out people, keeping in your social circle those who matter, who enrich your life and who make you smile. Even if you do remember certain birthdays, you choose to celebrate those of value. And that’s what makes them more special. Because they belong to the selected list of few exceptional people.

Shouldn’t we be doing that with everything we dedicate our time and attention to? Otherwise, what’s the point, really?

Mid-court

©Dale Rogerson

They had first met there, at the picnic table in the middle of the basketball court. He had offered to share his sandwich with her. She found it an over-generous gesture, given the fact that not many people share their food.

Since then they shared their lives with each other too.

Every Friday night they would meet at the same place so that they would never forget where and how they began.

But lately he started running late and then cancelling on her.

She would still wait for him.

Sitting alone at the table, wondering where he prioritised his time.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Waiting time

https://www.qwaym.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/why-time-flies-696x390.jpgWe wait, we postpone, we move to another time. We keep finding excuses not to do something, not to meet someone, not to fulfil a commitment. And we keep telling ourselves that there will be a better moment to do so. “There will come a better time”. We try to persuade ourselves.

But that time never comes.

Because there is no right time.

And there is no better time than now.

If we keep waiting for the perfect moment, we will never do anything. Because that moment will never come. It is up to us to take the moments we have and make them perfect to achieve and accomplish all the best we can.

We are too coward to take a risk and try our best and instead we prefer to postpone “for some other time”. We end up never taking a chance and in the end even that – seemingly perfect – moment is gone. And there is nothing we can do about it.

We shouldn’t live a life regretting the things we didn’t do or lamenting the fact that we don’t have time.

There is time for everything. You just have to set your priorities right.

Bubbly press

journIt was raining outside. That pitter patter that isn’t worthy of even opening up an umbrella. He put on his suit, wrestled with his professional conscience for a couple of minutes over whether he should wear a tie or not (the “proper” side of him won) and hurried off for the underground.

He was there in less than 15 minutes. It was still raining thinly but there was a lot more people around here and they all seemed to be transmitting their anxiety to get somewhere. It was as if all this stress was diffusing into the atmosphere and penetrating his very pores. He began to feel an adrenaline rush. Looked left and right. Everyone seemed to know where they were going. He wasn’t sure. Actually, he was lost. He thought about asking someone but no one would even slow down a pace, let alone turn around and look at him. He stepped aside and pulled out his A4 map. After a couple of minutes he figured the building he needed was 100metres in front of him. He felt silly. He followed the crowd and entered what was to be a 10 minute airport security check before he was allowed access to the press room.

He stood astounded for what seemed like forever. He gazed gulping all around him, devouring every inch of the ambience of this room. So this was what it was like. The press room at the European Council. With reporters from all over the world. So many ethnicities. And so many languages. Where did he fit in? From across the Atlantic for an online news source. And he only spoke (the) one language.

He parked his laptop and bag next to a group of people who were acting as if they were at a cocktail reception. They seemed to know what they were doing and at least they had left spaces next to them empty for other people to use.

“Ciao!” said one of them. They all seemed relatively young.

“Oh, hello” he responded.

“Ah, é un Americano!” the chirpy one replied.

They soon got to talking and he discovered basically all he needed to know about finding his way around the place. The Italians were “frequent flyers” you see. And they knew the inner dwellings of covering news at such a summit. For the “yankee”, as they called him, it was all new. This was his first big international mission. And he had to deliver outstanding results. He had high hopes for his journalistic career.

He decided to take notes on everything he saw. After all, publishing the decisions of the Council was easy. Everyone would do that. It was issued as a press release anyway. The juice of the story was behind the scenes. And that was what he was after.

How journalists scavenged for news, barking at every suit that made the mistake of coming into the room for a statement. Laptops, smartphones and tablets were all on fire. It was amazing the power and internet system could actually hold on to so many connections.

And the most interesting of all: the journalists themselves. Their priorities. And knowing where to draw the line.

“No. Absolutely not,” he heard a Brit say. “That is simply unacceptable. A low cost airline is out of the question”. He was obviously negotiated his flight arrangements for his next mission.

Further down, another reporter was trying to decide whether to attend a conference the next day or not. It was a serious issue.

“Yes, but what kind of sandwiches?” he enquired. Lunch, especially that free-of-charge, is you see an important part of these meetings.

A French photographer next to him was anxiously going through the photos he had taken during the day. The more extraordinary ones would gain him more money and greater publicity in the long run.

“Ehi Americano, vieni prendere il caffé!”. The Italians were going for coffee. Again, he thought to himself. Ah, the life of a journalist. If only everything in life was really that simple, he pondered, as he put away his tablet and mingled with the rest of his “hard-working” colleagues.

N.B. The descriptions here are simply examples. Not all journalists are like this and none can be stereotyped. Just making sure it is clear!

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