MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “reflections”

Avoiding the silence

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Many people start their day with the sound of the alarm clock buzzing in their ears. From that moment, our entire day is filled with noise – running water, the kettle singing, the phone ringing, email alerts, cars honking, doors slamming, music, trains on rails, voices of all pitches and intensities and so much more.

If you just sit still for a minute and breathe, you may even hear your own heart beat. Had it not been for all those noises that constantly surround us.

If you’re a person who easily gets lost in your thoughts, who drifts off in daydream or allows their mind to wander, every once in a while – perhaps more often than most people – you need the silence. You want to be able to enter public transportation without the hubbub, the clamour, the commotion. You don’t understand why people feel the constant urge to talk all the time. Some simply talk for the sake of talking. They are not really saying anything of substance; sometimes even nothing that makes sense. Perhaps sitting on the bus and talking on the phone to someone during the entire duration of your trip makes you feel important, that you’re not ‘wasting time’, or it is a way of keeping others astray. Because, yes, there are those types of people too, who want to talk so much that they will approach you and try to start a conversation out of nowhere, without your consent. Even if you kindly try to avoid it, it will turn into a monologue on their part, which you are obliged to listen. Unless you want to get off on the next stop and risk facing a worse situation on the next public transport you board.

People don’t appreciate the silence enough. It is as though they are avoiding their own thoughts. As if they are afraid of staying alone with themselves for a while. Of emptying their minds. Of discovering what their own perceptions on life are. Of even listening to the sound of their own heartbeat.

It is a shame. Because if we learned to be more mindful of our own well-being, of the rhythm of our breaths, of the ticking of our hearts, we wouldn’t be so agitated and stressed all the time, complaining about the world and everything in it.

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Defusing agitation

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There are many ways to clear your head. To diminish the stress that is engulfing you and be able to breathe again a little deeper. They range from exercise, meditation, reading, writing, cooking, to spending time with friends, family and pets, even changing your house décor. But there is one thing that is underestimated in making you feel better: talking.

Keeping your thoughts and feelings locked up inside is like maintaining a time bomb inside a box and waiting for the timer to go off. The explosion will be massive. And it will hurt not just you but those around you too. That is why people suffering with depression and stress are also easily agitated and nervous. Their small and often outbursts are usually caused by the fact that they bury everything deep inside hoping they will simply dissolve. But this sooner or later diffuses into your physical system as well causing other problems.

Talking is underestimated. Because although it may not solve your problems, it is a way of defusing them. Of sharing your thoughts with someone who cares for you and understands. Someone who is there right when you need them. Someone who knows that when your rage overwhelms you the solution is not to leave you alone, but instead embrace you and hold you until calmness prevails. Someone who is willing to stand by you, to show you that you don’t have to carry your burdens alone. Someone with whom you don’t need to say much and who always knows just the right thing to say to soothe your pain and make you feel just a little bit better.

We should surround ourselves with people like that. Who when you wake up in a bad mood, won’t criticise you for it, but will tell you that every day gets better. Who prompts you to be grateful for what you have – your health and people who love you. Who gives you the encouragement you need to never let anyone get you down or make you feel like you’re not worth it. Because in the end, the only person whose opinion truly matters is your own.  

The chaos of an introvert

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Introverts, they say, are weird people. Because you can’t tell what is going on in their head. At times, they themselves don’t even know. Because often they want nothing more than to cuddle alone on the couch under a blanket with a hot drink, a book or a movie. It is their way of getting away from everything.

They won’t push you away. Not unless you turn them away first. Introverts have the characteristic of being willing to do almost everything for a person they care about. Even if that is not acknowledged or reciprocated.

But there comes a time when something breaks, like a glass being shattered too many times. In an introvert this is expressed with a physical illness. The body itself is beginning to complain, raising the alarm that there is something wrong. Of course, the mind already knows it, but something needs to happen to shake you up.

Our thoughts affect us more than we believe. And our mental and psychological state often define our physical well-being.

It is difficult to put your mind at peace when you feel a million things buzzing through your head. We live in a world where calmness is a privilege, one that is sought after through techniques like yoga, mindfulness, even the so many life coaches that have suddenly sprung up. When did things become so difficult that we actually need people to tell us how to live our life? How to breathe and relax and not take everything so deeply? Why do we allow ourselves to be drained by our own thoughts? To drown in our own insecurities and pessimism?

Introverts won’t really tell you how much pain they’re in – either physical or emotional. They hide their chaos inside. But – paradoxically – they will hope you understand. That you will realise what they really need is someone to sit by them on that couch, wrap them up in a soothing hug and convince them that everything will be OK.

Be afraid of the quiet ones, they are the ones who actually think

Overcoming hurdles

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They asked him at his first press conference following his Olympic Gold why he became a hurdle runner. He simply replied with a story: “when I was young, my father wanted to make me strong, to imbue in my head that life would be difficult at times, that hurdles and obstacles would be thrown my way. People would tell me that I couldn’t surpass them. That I was not good enough. But I should not believe them. I should do my best and jump over all of them. When I first saw track events, I felt an instant connection with the hurdles. Perhaps because I took my father’s words literally at the time,” he laughed. So did the reporters.

But a small girl did not. She raised her hand to ask another question. “Does jumping these hurdles make those in real life disappear?

The room fell silent. The athlete was dumbfounded. It was perhaps the most difficult question he ever had to answer.

To be honest, no,” he said. “The hurdles in real life never truly disappear. But jumping these hurdles on the track has given me the determination, the strength, the discipline, and the courage needed to be able to surpass life’s obstacles. I think I have been quite successful in life so far. But the key is never to give up. And never believe that you are not good enough or are not worth everything you dream of”.

The girl smiled and her cheeks turned rosy. The athlete had just made his impact on her. And that was enough.

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere” – Frank A. Clark

Second chances

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If life gave you a second chance, would you take it? Would you choose a different path? Would you do things differently? Would you take an alternate life course?

Sometimes destiny throws back something from our past to make us rethink everything. Not so much to despair or regret about the path we took, but rather to acknowledge how far we’ve actually come. How many things have happened since then, how much we’ve achieved and how much more we can accomplish because of all those experiences.

We are given a chance to review our lives in order to regain our lost confidence. To realise that we are worth and capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for. Something we usually only understand if we view ourselves from someone else’s point of view.

We chose the course we did for a reason. Perhaps it was not obvious then, perhaps it is not obvious not even now. But there is one. We become stronger from what we go through, what we are called to deal with, the difficulties, the challenges, the fights. Our successes also arise from our failures.

So, in reality, we should live a life not regretting of the past but being grateful that we managed to survive everything that was thrown our way.

We are not supposed to start over, even if given the chance. Because we are not supposed to quit in the first place.

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.

Trying to unwind

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How many times have you found yourself in a situation in which you are forced to hide your true feelings? It has happened to us all. Either because you don’t agree with the rest of the opinions expressed and don’t want to elaborate; either because the conversation bores you; or you dislike the people around you; or worse yet because you’re in pain and want to hide it.

It is not easy when you’re suffering to pretend everything is OK. But most of us do so on a daily basis.

From the millions of things roaming in our minds, we only express a couple of them, not even half of what we truly think.

As a result, we suppress everything else leading our body to suffer from the toxicity of unexpressed thoughts, feelings, opinions. This in turn results in psychosomatic symptoms – the tendency to experience psychological distress in the form of physical symptoms. These may include chest pain, fatigue, dizziness, headache, oedema, back pain, shortness of breath, insomnia, abdominal pain, numbness, impotence, weight loss, cough, and constipation. This demonstrates that our minds and body are interlinked, entwined to the extent that the one affects the other. Emotional disturbances are often translated into physical symptoms, mostly evident in the effects we experience when we’re stressed, upset, scared, excited.

We often seek treatments in fast remedies – usually painkillers. We are advised patience and above all relaxation and calm. But the latter seem almost impossible when you’re in pain. In reality, we need the courage to seek the source of the distress, so we can change what provokes it. Only then will we truly be able to unwind.

Prejudiced thieves

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Even for days before, Emma was suffering a panic attack. At the thought alone of what was to come, her breathing became faster, her stomach felt tied in a knot and she had an unbearable pain pounding on her chest. Her head felt almost too much to carry on her shoulders, and she was very often dizzy.

Stress was a bad companion.

More so when it was accompanied by prejudices.

We all carry them with us. Our own perspectives and beliefs on how things will be. They are shaped by past experiences, our mentality, our notions of reality, of what we’ve already seen and felt. We have an apt for predicting the future, for irrationally wanting it to pan out the way it’s forecast in our heads, so that we can pat ourselves on the back later on and confirm our worst fears, telling ourselves we were right. It is one of the paradoxes of human nature. Of wishing things don’t turn out to be the prejudice we have in mind, but of deeply hoping they do so we can verify ourselves.

The day before the event, Emma broke down. She couldn’t concentrate enough to do anything. The thoughts in her mind were too much to bear. She could almost hear a cacophony of voices trying to persuade her that whatever can go wrong will.

Jonathan found her on the couch, curled up as if willing the world to go away.

He touched her shoulder and she sprung upright, the tension having made her uptight.

You wouldn’t invite a thief into your house, so why do you allow thoughts in your head that steal your joy?” he asked.

If your prejudiced things will go wrong, and you adopt a negative attitude because of it, then things are bound to turn into what you fear. If it is true that we attract what we believe and feel, it is all the more important to maintain an open-mind and a positive attitude. Life may surprise us in the end.

The sound of gloom

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There was a poor person in the metro the other day playing a famous song on his guitar. He was dressed decently. Wasn’t begging really. His voice was imbued with feeling. He sounded almost professional. He sang from the heart and that was evident. It made you want to give him something. Some change to show your appreciation for the way he was striving to make a living.

Perhaps he could have searched for a ‘regular’ job. But everyone knows these are hard to find in a country where ‘crisis’ has become an everyday term.

At least he was giving melody to a train ride. And you could see the passengers actually stop looking at their phones for a minute and letting their mind wander at his tune.

You were almost mesmerised to give him spare change. Coins whose possession to you may not have made a difference. Perhaps it was the cost of your daily cup of coffee. But to him it was a measure of appreciation. Of the fact that there were people out there who liked what he offered and who were willing to grant a helping hand.

There are many people who leave aside their dignity and in their despair decided to ask strangers for help. There are the ones who feel outcast from society. Whom we look at demeaningly and most often choose simply to ignore. There are the ones who cause controversial discussions of whether they are worth our pity or our ignorance, of whether they are choosing the easy road of begging instead of searching for a ‘real job’.

Everyone we meet carries their own story, their own burdens, their own heavy loads. But it is people like these that make you realise all that you have and how little you appreciate how lucky you in fact are. Because what you perceive as obvious and ‘normal’ is not so for many others.

The option of retaliation

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The wind howled waking her up almost constantly. It was hard to sleep soundly when you were constantly worried that your entire house would be blown down. For a person already overcome by anxiety and stress, this was almost too much to bear.

The morning began with rain in addition to the gale. It was ice cold outside.

She had promised to meet him at their usual café. She was comforted by the fact that it was almost certain the fireplace would be on today.

He was already waiting for her when she arrived. But, following the gentleman’s rulebook, he hadn’t ordered yet.

He smiled widely upon laying eyes on her. His whole face brightened immediately, bringing out the sun in an otherwise freezing day. She was still reserved. It wasn’t easy to let things go so abruptly. To forget. Overthinkers have this disadvantage. They remember everything. Especially the bad things.

He reached out to grab her hand but she pulled back using the cold as an excuse.

He was seeking another chance. A fresh start. A new beginning. Hope.

In her head, a million things were gushing through. Thoughts of retaliation, of payback, of making him experience the same, of handing him too the same absolute demands and the ultimatum he so carelessly gave her back then. She could feel the anger steaming up inside her. Her head suddenly felt all too hot and it wasn’t because of the fireplace.

She took a deep breath, trying to quieten down the yelling inside of her.

It wouldn’t lead anywhere. She tried to console herself. If she acted in the same way, if she wronged him as he had once done to her, there was no point in even trying to be there together.  Ghandi had said “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. He was right. There is a reason why one person must always maintain a superior level. Because if you too retaliate in the same way, you are no better in the end. Perhaps you’re even worse, because you knew of an alternative way and did not take it.

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