MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “value”

A cheetah among dogs

We humans are curious creatures.

We like to talk about each other, but we have a vital need to feel acknowledged. More so by those we appreciate and love.

It makes us feel valued, it boosts our confidence, and gives us motivation.

But the thing is, in all these modern self-help and manifestation vibes going around, we’re taught to depend on no one other than yourself in knowing your own worth.

We’re supposed to know our own value. To not alter that despite what others think. Yet, we are unavoidably impacted by external opinions. Perhaps to a larger extent than we should.

It takes strength and great confidence to dispel the outer voices and go with whatever you think is appropriate and what makes you feel good with yourself.

You don’t always have to prove yourself.

Sometimes it is even insulting to have to demonstrate your worth (just look at that cheetah in the dog race).

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.

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.

Making and breaking

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The problem with loving too much is that you don’t realise that while you’re elevating others, they’re breaking you.

You allow people to smuggle you around, as if ashamed of you’re there, instead of being proud of your presence.

We want to believe that karma will compensate our sacrifices and goodness will be returned.

But often we just need to see reality for what it is.

Also part of Weekend Writing Prompt #239

The power of distance

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Distance has the power to show you the value of a person.

So does silence.

When you stop looking for them, who comes searching for you?

Friendship – and any type of relationship – is a two-way affair. You can’t be the one constantly chasing people. Heck, you shouldn’t be chasing anyone to begin with. We attract those we deserve, and the energy we emit is what returns to us. So relax. Whatever should, will come to you in time.

Don’t forget that the best stocktaking on life is made on the move – in trains, airplanes, and automobiles. It’s when you’re leaving that you realise what you miss most, who is looking for you, and to whom you want to return. The truest reflections come to you when you’re trying to escape life. It’s when you acknowledge what you’re longing to go back to.

The greatest value

The thoughts in our head – the negative ones in particular – rent a space there. One that we have difficulty vacating. Don’t let them do that. Raise the rent and kick out everything that is not good for your soul”.

Personal “life coaches” have this ability of making you see things you refuse to acknowledge.

There is a truth in the saying “you’re not a tree. If you don’t like where you are, move”. We have roots to keep us grounded, but that does not need to be literal. Our home is the entire world if we will it to. The key is learning to realise the difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough, and being strong enough to make the changes necessary.

Getting rid of toxic situations is life-changing. It liberates your soul, cleans your mental space and offers you the much-needed peace to be able to evolve and become the best version of you. And that alone is the greatest value you can offer yourself.

The value of a life

How do you measure life? What is its value?
Is it by the things we accomplish during it?
Or by the memories we make?
The things we feel, or the other lives we affect?

Are some lives worth more than others?
And how can you tell?
Who is to decide, if, say a cat’s life is valued less than a human’s?

We remember lives lost,
Celebrate those that begin,
Commemorate those we deem worthy,
But what of the rest?
The unspoken ones, unseen, unheard?
Those that passed by at lightning speed,
Hardly able to have an impact,
Are those valued less?

Every life has a purpose,
No matter what it may be,
No matter how many it touches,
It is a life created for a reason
And is valued no less for being what it is.

Just remember:
“man was created alone to teach you that whoever kills one life kills the world entire,
And whoever saves one life saves the world entire”*.

*paraphrased from the Talmud

Also part of Daily Word Prompt

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.

Colour the sky

©MCD

He took her to the highest peak in the mountains. They were driving for almost an hour. She had not managed to get a single clue out of him on where they were going.

Surprises”, he said, “only work if you don’t give away anything. If you suspect what it is, it won’t have the same emotional effect on you”.

She tried to allay the curiosity that was chewing her insides.

By the time they reached his marked destination, the sun was diving behind the ocean.

The sky was painted a range of orange and it was a sight every photographer or painter would value.

The moon had also appeared. It emerged as a snippet of itself, a thin peel decorating the evening sunset sky.

The city below illuminated the falling darkness. And you could sense the time changing. The mood shifting from the tired daytime routine to the more relaxed night-time entertainment.

This was now. It was a reminder to appreciate every single moment of the day.

Because every one has its own colour in our sky.

“Forever is composed of nows” – Emily Dickinson

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