MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “satisfaction”

Emerging from the shadows

People fear a lot of things. But one intrinsic fear that may be common to all is the fear of being forgotten. We all want to make an impact, to leave a footprint in this world, to be remembered as having lived here.

We live in a world where everyone is trying to be famous, for anything no matter how futile and for however short-lived the duration may be.

In an era where everything can be broadcast and gone viral in a matter of seconds, the millennial generation is one addicted to attention. Everyone wants to be branded even though they’re not good at anything. We need the spotlight to satisfy our internal shortcomings.

The truth is, we need recognition and the broader social acceptance to displace the negative voices we alone create in our heads; to feed our own self-appreciation, self-acceptance and value. An old Japanese Samurai proverb says, “don’t speak bad of yourself. For the warrior within hears your words and is lessened by them”. Our need to receive recognition from others is ultimately founded by our need to prove our own value, firstly to ourselves. It’s always easier to complain, judge and condemn than to lift each other up. This is the culture we’ve created. But what everyone is truly seeking, is to enhance our own value. We depend on the recognition of others, because we’ve associated this feeling with that of our own self-worth and satisfaction.

Yet at the same time as searching for acknowledgement, we withhold from even asking for it. We suppress our wants out of fear of appearing egoistic, weak or needy. We hide in the shadows, but don’t want to be invisible. It’s a paradox of human nature. We desire to stand out from the crowd but refrain from making the effort to do so.

Those inclined and used to working backstage know first-hand the problems of not being appreciated or acknowledged for your work. Because in catchy songs, everyone praises the singer and never the songwriter; in wonderful books, hardly anyone ever remembers the writer, and when the novel becomes a movie, it is even associated with the actors that bring the plot to life, not the person who had the idea behind it all.

The difficulty of working in the shadows is that you never get recognized for your work and someone else always gets credit and is remembered for it. The problem in making others look good is that you never get to exhibit your true potential. It’s like you’re trying to leave your footprint but someone else always tramples on top of it and leaves their mark instead.  The world will thus never know your worth because you don’t speak up, because you’re the one who pushes others forth and remains behind the scenes, hoping to at least receive some form of acknowledgement and value.

Mother Theresa had said that “there is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread”, and it is a common fact that recognition is the best method of improving work motivation and employee engagement. It is essentially a driving force for life itself: for if you don’t show appreciation to those who deserve it, they’ll eventually learn to stop doing the things you appreciate.

A time forlorn

Remember how we used to look forward to our evenings and weekends to dress up, go out, meet people and have fun?

Well, hardly anyone does now either.

After almost an entire year in on-and-off lockdowns due to Covid-19, the simple pleasures of entertainment, of mingling, of even meeting someone new seem so far away.

We are now so suspicious about everyone we meet, we’ve become too uptight, too OCD-ed, and too closed up to even give someone a chance. But the thing is, no one dares take it anymore.

For single people, dating has become something that belongs to a distant past or, at best, to a hopeful future.

Dating apps have seen an increase lately with all the more people registering, hoping to “swipe right” and find a match.

But is there even a point now?

This interesting article explores how various single people have experienced online dating during this strange period. All share the same frustration of not being able to go out and meet people. Some enjoy being alone, getting to know themselves better instead and do things that fulfil them without having to think about pleasing someone else.

Others believe that if you can’t feel the sensation of being a little tipsy and flirtatiously touching someone’s arm, then there’s absolutely no point in courting a screen. For some, steamy messages are an outlet to vent the caged annoyance of all that is going on, but they caution that everyone is bored during a quarantine and nothing will last when all this is over.

Yet, others find that you might meet someone with whom you can talk deeply for hours without the physical distractions of the outside world. As such, you may even get to know each other better, and eventually feel as if you’ve spent a lifetime together.

Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to meet your match on an app. All it takes is the courage / desire to meet in person afterwards too. You never know who you’ll meet, where and when. Life is unpredictable like that.

But the real question is whether dating apps are actually worth it. Isn’t there something more constructive/useful/fulfilling to spend your time with? Wouldn’t you like to connect more with the people who are in your life even during this awkward time?

People have different needs and different ways of searching to fulfil them. But in essence what matters most is what makes each person feel good with themselves first and foremost.

Being where you are

In a culture of constant consumerism, incessant competition, and individualism, the paradox of social distancing has depreciated even the most common-sense norms of cultural etiquette.

We are now dubious and suspicious of everyone and anyone, as they could be a potential virus-carrier or transmitter. We have become even more isolated in our homes, opening our door only to those we know well and failing to make any new acquaintances.

We have a routine that, albeit different to the one we used to have several months ago, is still something that keeps our life somewhat normal.

Yet, the entire way that our lives have changed this year has highlighted the fact that in essence very few people are happy and/or satisfied with the life they have.

Self-isolation, quarantine and lockdown has raised the curtain to everything we hid under the carpet and failed to acknowledge for so long. It has lifted the veil from our eyes and cleared our vision on the relationships we have, the people we surround ourselves with, but most importantly, who we truly are.

It has also exacerbated our sense of longing to be somewhere else – anywhere else – than our current location. Removing someone the choice of doing something, automatically makes that option desirable and spurs a reaction.

But the honest truth is this: No-one wants to live where they are. Everyone wants to live in a fantasy.

But the fact that even our futures no longer seem certain, let alone, controllable, makes even that fantasy world appear bleak.

The trick is to create your own circumstances, realising your fantasy by exploiting where you are at each precise moment.

Not easy, but very possibly worth it.  

Not knowing what we’re after

https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/b/crossroads-confusing-directional-arrow-sign-25350749.jpgWhy is it that when we sit still for a moment, allowing ourselves the luxury of doing nothing, our mind wanders into another realm? Why do we dream so often even with eyes wide open? What is it we so long to escape from? There is a famous quote that urges us to “create a life you don’t need a holiday from”. But that may not be as easy as it may seem. And that is not only because perfection is an illusion.

It is mostly because we are used to moaning and complaining about something, whatever that may be. So much, that sometimes we ourselves create the reasons to bemoan about how things are not going our way or how life is unfair. Unfair compared to what exactly? Isn’t it, therefore, true that we create the life we want? And if the reality is not what we were after, then we have the freedom to change it.

We trip ourselves up by raising hurdles where there are none. We are so used to something being “wrong” or contrary to what we want, that we even become suspicious when something goes right. We argue that it is too good to be true and anxiously wait for when things will turn over badly and we’ll be able to complain again that we knew it would happen.

Humans are strange. We are a kind that is never satisfied with anything, let alone the simple and minute pleasures of life. We’ll dig into the details simply to find something that will reveal how fake something seemingly perfect is. But we don’t try instead to lift ourselves up, to make us seem almost perfect, regardless of everything and everyone else.

If it is true that change comes from within, the human race still has a very long way to go.

Wanting more

https://s3.amazonaws.com/lowres.cartoonstock.com/animals-cows-rockets-happiness-satisfied-moon-jhtn87_low.jpg

‘Oh for heaven’s sake, you’re a cow. Just eat grass and be happy.’

There is a problem with constantly wanting more. It’s that insatiable taste that nothing is ever enough.  You will never feel complete, not even when you are, in fact, satisfied with what you have. Because unconsciously, you won’t be content. With anything. And that is the problem.

The subsequent negative impact of this ‘voraciousness’ is that you won’t be pleased with anything. Or anyone. It will just seem that nothing is good enough. And you’ll be constantly seeking that something else, ignoring all the good that is right in front of you. It will slowly drive you insane, because even if you do find something wonderful, you’ll be picking at it, in an effort to reveal what is wrong with it and hence, why it is simply “not enough”.

You’ll then become all the more emotional, reacting to almost everything you hear and/or is said to you. But if you allow words to control you so easily, you will also allow others to control you through them. Your true strength is demonstrated through your ability to exercise restraint. To sit back, relax, and allow things to happen. To observe things with logic, and simply let some be. Some things happen for a reason, but we don’t need to constantly go looking for it. When the time is right, it will reveal itself to us.

For the moment, all you need to do is breathe, take a look around at all the wonders that surround you and be grateful for all the things and people you have in your life. Some would literally give up their world to enjoy your life. So stop creating problems where there are none, and just….live!

 

“The pleasure of what we enjoy is lost by wanting more”

On being happy and being content

happy penguinWhen you meet someone either by chance or intentionally, the first question that usually flies in the air is “how are you?”. It is usually one intended to find out the state of your health. Physically. So the answer that often follows is “I am well”. Hardly anyone will ever come up to you with the first question they are eager to ask being “are you happy?”. Yet being happy is intrinsically linked to the positive state of your health. We just sometimes choose to ignore it.

We all know it is important to be happy, or at least try to be. And it is not only because of the cringe marks that you get when you frown. It is because when you’re happy, you feel like you’re flying. Like you’re weightless and floating on a cloud. Feeling happy makes you view the world in a brighter and more positive light. And given the problems and stress that are constantly weighing down on us during these times, we need to feel happy.

But more often than not, we aren’t happy. We are simply content.

We may be satisfied with the life we have, what we achieve, and be pleased with ourselves overall. But are we truly happy? Do you feel that spark in your eyes when you smile? Or that flutter in your stomach whenever you see a loved one? Do you have a skip in your step? Do you see the world clearly in a dazzling light or is it dim in your eyes?

Being happy and being content are two different things.

Happy is when you indulge in the fascinating world of a book, when you mingle among the characters, discover the very depths of their beings, and are anxious to learn all their dirty little secrets.
Content is when you turn the last page of the book and re-emerge into the real world, which you realise is nothing at all like the one you just read.

Happy is watching a movie. Being so immersed in it that you block everything out. That you feel part of the plot itself, so close that you can even sense the warm breath of the characters down your neck.
Content is when your viewing is interrupted for some reason and you have to wait to see the ending. And then, it is after witnessing that emotional rollercoaster and acknowledging that life is nothing close to that movie.

Happy is being close to your family; sharing emotions and experiences; and holding long conversations about anything and everything.
Content is when you realise that this family is all you have, as you’re too afraid to go looking for someone who could become part of a new / extended family.

Happy is achieving your dreams and ambitions and being acknowledged for the work you do.
Content is having all that, but no-one to share it with.

Happy is one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs. He is bubbly and bright, friendly and cheerful.
Content is not one of the dwarfs, or any other character for that matter. Being content implies a limitation in the feeling of satisfaction and certainly does not radiate the perkiness of someone who is truly happy.

So, you see, for the sake of the dwarf alone, it is worth being happy. And although there is so much written on how to achieve this, what to do and what not – including the fact that being happy is simply a decision you have to make – happiness will truly flow into your heart when you allow it to. When you stop overthinking, over-wallow, and oversulk, and just be. Don’t compare, don’t compete, just be the best you can be.

What lies in a bed

bed_walnutWhat most people look forward to at the end of each day is falling into soft, clean sheets and getting the rest they deserve after a tiring day. Then of course, you have to find the courage to get out of bed the next morning. George Horace Lorimer perhaps said it best “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination, if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.

Sleeping in your own bed entails the comfort of floating – that light-weight, carefree, burden-less sensation that allows you to carry off in a deep, tranquil sleep.

And when you’re away from your own bed for a while, you learn to appreciate it more. It is more than just the feeling of luxury, it is rather feeling where you belong. It is being embraced by a mattress, into which you have molded the very shape of your body. Which has been fashioned over the years so as to act as a perfect fit.

But the best part of it all is when you turn in tired and satisfied after a productive day. That is when you truly experience the indulgence of cuddling into bed, wrapped into warm sheets and drifting into the arms of Morpheus.

Those small things

20131205-195848.jpgThere’s a saying that “the best things in life aren’t things”. Sometimes, they aren’t. But sometimes it is remarkable how the smallest of things can make you feel all warm inside, and genuinely happy.

We live in a world of plenty – at least the lucky Western part of the globe – that we often forget what it means to have certain things. Things that we often take for granted, like clean water, clean sheets, and a house full of loved ones to return to each day.

And sometimes it doesn’t take much to make someone smile. All you need is the knowledge that you have people who love you stand by you, ready to support you no matter what.

All it takes is for you to see your work published, instantly filling you with the gratification that you are doing something worthwhile. And that work is exactly what enables you to buy something useful – like a new tablet you’ve so longed for – that makes you beam up like a lightsaber at the very sight of the screen turning on, and overwhelming you with a warm feeling of satisfaction and joy.

It is the things like entering a room and having a dog or cat run up to you with eyes gleaming and a tail wagging with joy. It is sitting on the couch rolled up in a blanket watching a movie with someone you love. It’s playing board games on a rainy afternoon with the fire crackling. It’s receiving an unexpected (but very welcome) present.

So I guess, most of the times it is the smallest of things that make life matter. After all, that is the point of living a life of purpose, rather than one of material goods. And it is the very difference between living a life and merely surviving it.

Is it the money or the job?

I was recently asked whether I would rather have a job where I wouldn’t do much but get paid a lot, or a job where I would work too much but hardly get any pay. To be honest, I was perplexed and didn’t know what to answer. It is not an easy question to reply to.

Doing a job you don’t really like just for the money would enable you to live well-off, having the ease of buying the things you want, being able to travel to the places you want to go to, and generally to breathe life into your material aspirations – well, at least those that money can buy! On the other hand, however, doing a job you love would fill you with the moral satisfaction of actually doing something that pleases you. And at the end of the day, you would be complacent with all that you’ve produced and accomplished. The catch is that you wouldn’t receive the adequate financial compensation. Something which would mean you would have to resort to sacrifices, counting the money you’ve got saved, or even getting a second job just to help out with the expenses. Both options have a downside. Of course the ideal would be to have the job you love and actually get paid well for it. But how many people in the world can really say that about their employment? Most people usually complain about the long hours they work; the constant running around; or the added stress, while others moan about the limited pay; the lack of a raise or bonus; and the fact that it never seems to be enough; that come the end of the month, their balance is always negative.  Striking the perfect deal between work and money is almost impossible to achieve, for humans have it in their nature to always ask for more.

Confucius said that if you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life. It seems the moral satisfaction of doing something you truly enjoy, of occupying your hours and days with a profession that gratifies you, is much more significant – at least on a psychological level – than the money you gain out of it.

It is true, nonetheless, that many people resort to jobs that sometimes seem meaningless simply for the sake of gaining the money that will ensure their survival – for food, rent, clothes. After all, there is no shame in any form of work. Yet even that at times lacks the necessary fulfillment of doing something you know well and proving useful at it. After all, every person wants to feel that his/her actions actually contribute to something greater. That they help induce a change, an improvement, and that through that they – in a way – leave their mark. All that people ever seek is for acknowledgement. The apprehension of a job well done; of skills that are remarkable and appreciated as such; of a “thank you” and of a “keep it up”. Just like giving a dog a bone to reward his excellent tricks, people need and often deserve a reward for their own accomplishments. Be it a kind word or a worthy gesture, a one-off bonus or a wage increase, all people possess within them the longing for others to recognize their qualities.

In order to stand out from the crowd, we all need a push. Be it from within or from an exterior force, some help is always needed. In any shape or form…

Also part of Daily Prompt: Work? Optional!

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