MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “#thoughtprovoking”

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

A rollercoaster that ends in tears

Our hectic daily lives cause a lot of stress. Or perhaps we allow our circumstances to stress us out. Almost constantly. And over anything/everything.

Stress is not an easy emotion to control.

Neither is anger, which most often comes as a consequence of the aforementioned anguish.

When we feel angry, frustrated, irritated, unjustly treated, hurt, or simply exhausted with everything and everyone, our body produces a flood of hormones that stimulate strong reactions – from a racing heart to sweaty palms, dry mouth, and short-term memory loss. Tempers flare, voice decibels increase, and soon it all elevates out of control.

And then, when it becomes too much, we often feel the need to cry.

Tears from anger are a powerful emotional response to high stress levels – a mixture of feeling mad and sad simultaneously.

“Tearful crying is a uniquely human activity, and scientists believe it may serve an evolutionary function: a distress signal used to summon help and provoke helping behaviours in others. Crying releases oxytocin and prolactin, two chemicals that can bring your heart rate down and otherwise calm you after a stressful event”.

That explains why after a heated discourse, and a meltdown of tears, you feel the urge for silence, isolation, and mostly, comfort.

It’s a rollercoaster of emotions that ends in tears. Ones that are therapeutic enough to restore the balance we need to feel sane, mentally healthy, and strong enough to go on with life itself.

A bad ally

©MCD

Just give me some time”, she muttered as she stormed off.

Tiredness is a sneaky feeling. It gets you to the extent where you want to punch something to let off steam, but at the very same time, you feel the urge to break down in tears.

Time is vital. It helps you regroup, regather your thoughts, and re-energise yourself to be able to keep going.

But solitude also works. Particularly because it constrains you from saying something you shouldn’t or cannot retract.

When you’re exhausted, go somewhere alone. Perhaps even better, sleep it off.

Tiredness is never a good ally.

He showed up with a flower, after what he deemed a revitalising period of time.

She couldn’t help but smile.

All we really want is to feel important and appreciated, and that all the work we do – regardless how meaningless it may seem – is noticed and valued.

Chin-up

He had a way of getting her to smile even when the tears where trickling down her blushed cheeks. Even when she frowned, he would manage her to laugh; that heartfelt laughter that was so contagious he could not help but chuckle along with her.

It was rare to find someone so supportive. Who could not only withstand but also handle her mood swings. She knew it was difficult. This modern era caused a lot of psychological and mental stress; she couldn’t even deal with it herself, let alone expect someone else to.

She was easily disappointed with the world. With friends that turned out to be foes. With backstabbing behaviour, with job offerings going to less-deserved people with under-achievements, with luck not being on her side apparently. She often surrendered arms because it was easier than continuing to fight a battle you were constantly losing.

But he knew more about it than meets the eye. He had faced unimaginable challenges throughout his years and was determined to not give up. Failure was not an option, and he kept repeating that to her so as to make it sink in.

During one of those heartbroken breakdowns where everything seemed bleak right from the sombre start of the morning, he looked her straight in the eyes, gently touched her face, and said, “Chin up, princess, or the crown slips”.

She smiled timidly. But it was enough to dust herself off and start over.

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.

Luck and what we make of it

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It was a seemingly ordinary day. Whatever ‘ordinary’ may be defined as. Because, although he had everything perfectly planned to the minute the night before, the next morning everything capsized. It took him seven snoozed alarms to finally crawl out of bed. There was no milk in the fridge for his breakfast, and when he reached the bus stop, he had to wait half an hour in the scorching heat, as there was an error in the schedule.

When he eventually reached his appointment location about an hour later, the person he was supposed to meet was herself running late due to an unprecedented occurrence (health-related). He could only wait. For another half hour. In the developing heatwave.

The day only slightly improved after the meeting (set to last for 15 minutes but turned into a 2-hour visit) ended and he rushed to see his girl. Lunch together appeared to alleviate things.

They even bought a lucky bamboo together, in the hope that their fortune would change hereafter.

There was a spare penny after the payment, which he decided to pass on.

During the evening, he rushed to the supermarket before heading home for some urgent work. The cash in his wallet was one penny short of the bill he had to pay.

The penny from the bamboo.

His eye twitched as he counted the coins.

Luck, they say, is something you make. But is it so? Is it the choices we make or the circumstances that occur? And how much do we impact everything around us in the end?

He sulked home, hoping the lucky bamboo would do a better job as of tomorrow.

Wash your worries away

© David Stewart

There’s something relaxing about getting lost in nature. It is tremendously soothing to allow your mind to wander off, to stop perplexing over routine daily life problems, and merely enjoy the moment of all that the outdoors has to offer.

Water helps. The trickling of it calms your nerves, and the endless flow is actually better than any anti-depressant or tranquiliser.

Waterfalls are the best at this. They offer a combination of sight and sound, and if you’re bold enough, you can even dive into them to wash your worries away.

Just don’t take it so literally, and drown instead.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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