MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “social relations”

The invisible battles

You know that cashier who was rude the other day at the supermarket? The salesperson who seemed uninteresting in helping you? The waiter who evidently ignored you no matter how politely you called numerous times? The person on the bus who took up the whole adjacent seat and did not allow you a space to sit, or the driver who broke out in rage at the morning traffic jam?

They all affect your mood somehow or other.

Because we allow ourselves to be unconsciously burdened by the other’s disposition.

Consider it: If you begin your morning with angered yells, noise from all around, impoliteness, offensive remarks and gestures, and a general irritation that has no apparent cause, won’t you too inadvertently adopt an agitation you cannot explain?

But what about if you started your day with a smile? A sweet good morning message from a loved one, an unexpected caring note, a smile with your take-away coffee, a ‘have a good day’ from the customer you assist, a polite wave from the driver you allow to insert the queue in front of you. Wouldn’t that instantly make you feel better? The satisfaction you receive is immense even from the slightest of things that may seem irrelevant to you.

That morning greeting may have made someone’s day. And it subconsciously also made yours too.

Be polite, always. There is no excuse for rudeness. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

Courtesy costs nothing.

Shine a light inside

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There are two types of people in the morning: the chirpy one, who chatters, sings, and is hyperactive from the moment they get out of bed; and the one who doesn’t want a single noise to interfere in the still sleeping zen phase they are painfully trying to get out of.

Miranda was the second type.

Alan was the first.

You can see the problem.

The worst was when the only chance they had to discuss about something was before going to work in the morning because often their shifts did not coincide and they could spend entire days without seeing each other. Despite living in the same house, they didn’t always have the energy after work to talk about anything.

This made it all the more complex.

Because she was also the type to keep everything inside. She restrained herself from expressing what bothered her, be it from the slightest of things – from their online presence, to his behaviour towards others, to her problems at work, or financial difficulties.

The body had a mind of its own, though, and it began to demonstrate its anguish and exhaustion in various forms. The signs were ignored and neglect led to stronger pain in every form.

He saw what she refused to.

How she faded her own light and began to personify that “what doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness (Marcus Aurelius).

So he surprised her with a week away.

To a place she only dreamed of; where mice and ducks were favourite cartoon characters; where laughter was the only sound you could hear; where to feel the innocence and carefreeness of a child was mandatory.

A decade of Whispers

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Every big thing starts with a simple moment of folly in which, upon taking that leap, you ask “why not” and “what if”. Because yes, in jumping, you may fall; but what if you fly?

We have a tendency in this modern fast-paced world of ours to consider the downside more than what we have to gain. But we sometimes fail to see that if we don’t dare to try, we won’t move to grow. Change won’t happen if we don’t go after it.

In the past years of pandemic lockdowns, political developments, climate change (floods, heatwaves, fires), and so much more that has made us question the very essence of our existence, it is perhaps our mental health and psychological state of being that has been affected the most.

We find that we are often competing with our own self simply to remain sane. We’re battling the voices in our hear that we wish were not ours. We whisper that we’re fine, when inside we’re bellowing that we’re not. And we realise that we need days off everything; hours to do absolutely nothing – to lie in bed staring at the ceiling,binge-watch series or movies, to walk silently along the beach, to read after going offline. We ought to give ourselves those instances to regroup, to recharge, and to relax above all. It’s an opportunity to reconsider everything we do – from the support circle around us, the social acquaintances, our relations with the ‘outside’ world, to our employment prospects, our professional ambitions, but also our personal dreams which we so often push aside.

I began writing this blog a decade ago – can you believe it’s been 10 years already? It was my way of expressing everything I cannot (or wish not) say aloud. It’s not easy for everyone to speak out and converse so easily with people. Some of us are lost in the chaos of our minds. We’ll speak to those who win our trust, who we feel comfortable and secure with; to those, we will blabber away for hours, so consider yourself lucky, for you are among the selected few. But don’t think we don’t have things to say. The pen, it is said, is often mightier than the sword. And if we can’t speak, we’ll write it.

That said, consider this in the rapid passing of time: We come into each other’s lives in a mere fragment of it. We meet each other without knowing what led the other to this moment, and (on each occasion) we are trying to catch up on the time we ‘lost’ when we did not know of each other’s existence. In an effort to replenish that time, we want to draw in as much information as possible about the other, often being subject to jealousy of the people who have managed to spend a greater period with this new person.

We have but a glimpse of our lives to set our mark on another person and ensure our role and part in their lives is maintained. In the dozens (or more) of people we meet throughout our passage, only a handful will stay long enough to see us grow, change, laugh and cry, evolve. But those are the people who matter. And it goes both ways.

So, the message I’ll close off with in this 10-year anniversary post is this: sometimes it’s good not to know where you’re going and where something you start off in a leap of faith will lead. Because you never know how wonderful or life-changing it may be.

Different states of mind

People are different. It would be boring if we were all the same. From the way we look, think and act, to the stimuli we’ve had and our varying backgrounds, it all changes from one person to another.

It’s something neither good nor bad. It just is what it is. And we need to accept that.

Some people have the tendency to be more outgoing than others, to talk more and more easily. Others seek those moments of silent retreats, the loneliness of their own thoughts to be able to gather themselves before entrusting someone else with them.

Introverts are often seen by those outside their inner circle as having quiet minds. They only allow those closest to them to see the chaos that this quietness entails. An introvert will yak to you once they want to. Winning an introvert’s trust may take time, but once you do, be sure you’ve unlocked a special place reserved only for a selected few.

There is a very apt leadership quote that says be “slow to hire but quick to fire”. Consider it for a moment. It can easily apply to every relationship we have – from social to business relations. We need to be slow in developing our thoughts about people we meet, in trusting them with parts of us that we sometimes don’t even tell our own selves. But once that trust is lost, or the ties we have are broken, we shouldn’t hesitate, they’re gone immediately.

We often believe that there is only one time to make a good first impression. Do you ever get that feeling when you meet some people that you either like or dislike them without really being able to explain why? It’s your subconscious at play – gathering all those experiences you’ve already had to analyse the new entries in your life. But the truth is, there is a second chance for a first impression when you get to talk with the other. When they let you into their thoughts and positions on life, when you are allowed a glimpse of their mentality.

When we’re emotionally overcome – either by sadness, grief, anger or happiness – we’re not in the best position to make any decision whatsoever.

It’s not easy at the time to control yourself. That’s why you need a support group around you. Who sometimes know you better than yourself, and know what you need and how to get you to see it too. It takes time to build that trust and that family you choose to have.

But it also takes time to be able to acknowledge what battles are worth fighting, with who, when the right timing is, and how, where and when to detect it.

In the midst of it all, perhaps we need to realise that one thing that lately has become so evident: nothing we believe as common sense, truly is. Everyone has their own notion of what is logical and rational and what is not. And we just need to accept that difference of opinion.

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.

Caring or not

©Fleur Lind

People lack sensitivity these days; they can’t get into another’s shoes”.

The voices from the adjacent table were distracting Meg’s thoughts.

Perhaps those insensitive were happier, though, she rebutted silently. They hardly care enough to be worried or stressed about anything.

The problem with being too sensitive is that often you sacrifice your own well-being out of fear of hurting the other’s feelings. You stay silent too long, and someday it all erupts uncontrollably. As a result, it pains both you and the person you’re trying to shield.

Perhaps not caring as much isn’t that bad.

But not for all.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Externalising the battles

The problem with keeping everything in your head and fighting your battles alone is that the stress and pressure you’re burdening yourself with will very often lead to unnecessary – and inexplicable to others – flippant remarks that cause further tension to your social relations.

What isn’t expressed, eats you up.

Our problems are usually smaller than we overthink them to be.

But if we don’t share them, we won’t easily find a solution for them.

Also part of Weekend Writing Prompt #266s

The red lines we cross

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We all have them. But it’s only when we cross them that we perceive their significance.

Red lines are like raising the alarm; that something is wrong.

We all seemingly know at what point something becomes unacceptable to us. But you never really believe you’ll reach that point, or surpass your limits in an often dangerous manner.

We dream of life to be perfect, with as few problems as possible, with disagreements being restricted to a minimum with our colleagues, partner, friends, or even strangers. Hoping whatever row we have may be trivial five minutes later, when we eventually cross those red lines of ours and tensions rise and voice levels increase, we are stunned ourselves. Because this point of no return was never our intention. And it usually becomes so obvious in how it leaves you drained, emotionally exhausted, and psychologically unable to think straight.

We exceed our limits when we accumulate emotions and thoughts for too long without expressing them; when we’re fighting a battle on our own and trying to conceal it from everyone else; when we’re pressing ourselves too hard to appear that everything is fine when it’s really not; when we want someone to stand by but are too proud to ask.

When our mind is too clouded to be able to think clearly, we can only see problems rather than solutions to them. That is when we need a support circle the most. To help us restore reason in that chaos-creating head of ours. It’s not easy. Nothing of value ever is. It would be too boring otherwise. We sometimes need to transcend our own limits – and our comfort zone – to awaken to everything else that can happen if we rattle ourselves up a bit.

For the record and as an interesting fact: The origin of the phrase ‘red line’ in English traces back to the “Red Line Agreement” in 1928 between largest oil companies of Britain, the USA and France at the time of the end of the Ottoman Empire. At the time of signature, the borders of the former empire were not clear, and to remedy the problem an Armenian businessman named Calouste Gulbenkian, took a red pencil to draw in an arbitrary manner the borders of the divided empire. The expression remained significant to global diplomacy and was reused during the UN’s founding after the WWII, especially in the English-speaking world.

Coffee stop

©Ted Strutz

It was a four-hour drive to Minnesota. A very long period of time to not speak to each other.

Can we stop for coffee?” she said softly after about an hour and a half passed.

He nodded; “Of course, at the next stop”.

It wasn’t the drink itself that was a necessity for them both. It was the act of reconciling over it.

Coffee, no matter how much a requisite for some to start the day, is a means to enjoying each other’s company. It is the pretext of getting together and sharing views.

Of enjoying life with one another.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Set limits

There is a simple truth we tend to realise the hard way, after suffering too much disappointment in people: not everyone is worth your time.

We need to set limits not to keep others away, but to protect our own selves.

The world has fallen apart because we envy and hate more than we admire and love.

Solidarity is just a word, not an action.

So many empty statements are made, filled with hypocrisy and feint that it is not easy to trust anyone anymore.

We need to clear our lives of toxic, narcissistic people who have nothing real to offer us; to tear off their masks so we can alleviate ourselves from the burden of trying to please everyone to the extent that we neglect our own well-being.

‘No’ is in fact a complete sentence. We need to start saying it more so life can smile upon us.

Everything comes at the right timing, as long as we are able to deal with the situations we are called to face.

To remain optimistic, we need to have positive, smiling people around us.

But unfortunately, those genuinely rejoicing with your happiness are rare to find.

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