The Person Behind The Mirror

Life is just a series of  tiny moments. Unique little, fleeting “nows”… that happen in the moment, before we realise it happened. At an attempt to understand the now, to determine what the now even is, takes us away from it, and to a new experience. A new now, spent on analysing a now that has already passed. For to spend time analysing the moment, you cannot be in it.

Comparative to when you are in a stare, and as soon as you realise you are staring, no matter how hard you try to remain in that moment of bliss, contentment, or nothingness… It’s already gone. And you can only try to pretend you are still in a stare. But you aren’t. You’re just looking in a direction. 

What this leads us to understanding, should we spend enough time thinking on it – is that you should not necessarily spend time piecing together why you are feeling how you are in any given moment. You should not quantify it, or assign it a given arbitrary value. For if you are happy, you may wonder why, and by wondering why you are no longer feeling that experience of pure happiness.  
You may compare your assigned value of happiness, to a time when you thought you were happier, and suddenly this most recent moment becomes less valuable. But only by comparison. The moment itself has changed in no way. 

You may find yourself dancing in the living room, and in a state of content; and then by suddenly wondering WHY you are enjoying yourself at such a small moment, you may lose it. Your arms may fall to your side, and you will lose you buzz. But only because you chose to think about it. Instead, if you were happy, be happy. Equally if you are overcome with sadness, be sad. Don’t be more sad, or angry because you are sad. Just be sad. Be in whatever moment, you chose to be in. In whatever state of you, you choose to be.

These, fleeting little now’s, that change and dip and rise over time, leave us to grasping a fictitious concept of ourselves. Not only must be ponder the moment in the now, but also the person in the now. And these too, are troubled little changing chaotic beings. We can stand firm, and think, and be quite sure that we are a certain kind of person, but of course, that perception is as much affected by what we have done, as what we will do. For instance, I remember a time when a group of bullies started to harass a boy while I was at school. I wasn’t close to this boy, he wasn’t in my friend group, and in fact I know the boys who were bullying him. But I still stood up for the boy being bullied, despite the fact I lost face in the eyes of the other boys. I raised my voice and defences, and fought off the bullies, until they walked away with their tails between their legs. So this must mean I am brave…

And yet… I remember an identical time, on a bus, when another boy was being bullied. He was the same, in yet I did not know him very well, but it was clear he was uncomfortable, and was outnumbered. These bullies I did not recognised. I thought myself brave as before, yet when I went to raise my defences once more… I got scared. I was afraid in that moment, and so… I did nothing. I let them bully and torment that boy, and ultimately so did everyone else. And he went home, having a bad day, because absolutely no one stood up for him. And so by that moment… I am a coward.

So what am I? Am I brave, or a coward? Is the answer to that simply determined by counting how many times I was brave versus how many times I was a coward? Well… Then it comes more difficult. Because one might suggest that, actually fighting is in itself a cowardly act. That rising above violence is in fact the much braver act. That talking things over, and resilience are far better attributes that flaring brute power. In fact, any number of people could argue these things, and could change there points of view at different points in time. And so when they do… Do the bravery vs cowardly numbers flip? And who gets the final verdict? 

The answer, ultimately, is… you. You get to decide. You will manipulate any memories in a way such as they benefit your motives and agenda’s, given on your perceived state and morality. If you think lowly of yourself, you will manipulate memories into believing you acted as lowly as you are, and if you think highly of yourself you will paint over memories to convey yourself as a God.

The point being, that the now you’re thinking about in the past, ISN’T the now. It’s whatever you think the now is, or whatever you want to think it was. That memory of a now, is actually a new experience you’ve created, and dressed up as that now. And so, it doesn’t matter what any given moment WAS. In a way it matters what it IS. To you, now.

So it shows that once the moment is gone, unfortunately no matter how hard you try… it cannot come back. It is then within your best interest, not to begin analysing it so deeply, for all you will do, is cut it’s time short. Be happy when you are, and be sad when you feel like it. You can control your emotions, in a sense, because you can determine your reactions to the world – but if you’re already in an experience, just be in it. Accept it. Experience it. 

Do not stress. Do not stress that you are not good enough, or wonder if you ever will be. Do not worry and think of the future, and the chaotic nature of it. The what ifs and the hows. Do not compare yourself to another, whether that is another version of you or another person altogether. In fact, don’t even compare, period. It is the enemy of joy. Remember that your perception of the world and yourself can change on a flip of a coin. And it is entirely up to you when you flip the coin, and even the outcome of it. For you can call the coin at any time, and determine whether you want heads or tails to prevail. 

There is no contractual obligation by which you are held, to be the same person you were five minutes ago. You do not have to be something because of what you are now, or because of what you were.

I wish everyone reading this, the most wonderful festive season, and the happiest new year when it comes. It’s a time when for whatever reason we chose to change ourselves, and so by definition must judge and define ourselves. So if you chose to do that, remember:

You are who you chose to be. And ultimately, you need only answer, to the person behind the mirror.

Mature

What would be the mature option?

To accept continuous burden in silence; to live with worry about the future, regret of past actions, and anxiety in the present.

OR

Talk about it.

Ironically, it’s so easy to chastise someone for thinking terrible things about themselves, and yet so easy to do it to oneself. If a friend were to exclaim that they’re ugly, you would be startled, almost offended, and reassure them otherwise. And yet, give yourself a mirror and time, and you’ll pick out every flaw about yourself until you’ve convinced yourself wholeheartedly of it.

What’s worse, is if you’ve convinced yourself of the theory that you’re ugly beforehand, you’ll twist and warp facts until you believe it so, and have evidence (however twisted) to prove it.

This applies to much more than appearance. This applies to money woes – where you could convince yourself you’ll be bankrupted and homeless, it could be about career and dream aspirations – and you’ll think you’re going nowhere, or it could even be about friends – and that you worry you have none, or that they don’t care.

There is nothing too big or too small, to be considered. It’s okay to not feel okay, today. It’s okay to have an off-day, and off-week, or an off-heck-of-a-lot-longer-than-that.

What’s not okay, is to accept the burden alone, indefinitely. We shelf small worries everyday, and as long as we then deal with them in the next hour or so it’s okay. But everything that’s negative to us, regardless of size, will damage us if left long enough. You cannot simply accept burdens all your life, and shoulder them alone, because you believe they are yours to bare. They are not.

You cannot somehow value yourself worthless, when in reality surely you must know that you are not, because no one is ever worth nothing. Especially not you. It doesn’t matter if you feel this worry or negativity is stupid to others. Or small. Or that you’ll be mocked. If it’s important to you, if it weighs on your mind, then do not hesitate to talk to others. Let them know. They can offer support, and you can beat it, or they will make you see more clearly how foolish you are being, and can dissipate your woes altogether.

Sharing a burden, halves it altogether immediately. And in sizeable chunks, it can be defeated.

You are important. Your worries and concerns are valued. Remember that if your thoughts are damaging your mental health in any way (and that includes just making you have a bad day) then you should tell others and the ones you care about and/or care about you, because they love you. Others want you to be well, even if you don’t feel like you’re worthy of it. It’s not fair, for others not to even know you’re not okay. So let them know. Share with them. They want to see you happy. You know who they are.

If you bare a burden that weighs heavily on your mind, regardless of how big or small it actually is;

Talk about it.

That would be the mature option.

“I feel as though I haven’t really done anything…”

Isn’t it so interesting, that of the people we are kind to; often ourselves is not one of them?

How often, would you say that you can look at the accomplishments of others, and revere in astonishment, and yet upon self-reflection, you appear to see nothing to remark on the path behind you?

Even when others praise your accomplishments – or perhaps even simply your character – still there is a fog of doubt which seems to rarely clear. And so although you have done so many things, and many things right, it would appear to you that you have done nothing at all.

Perhaps next time you look at the person staring at you behind the glass, you should see them as others do; without the filter of you.

Have something to say.

If you’re struggling to think of what to say, perhaps you should listen more. In a world of noise and consistent stimulation, the urge to shout into the void is overwhelming. The desire to be heard.

If you were a passenger on a train barrelling towards someone tied to the tracks, you would be compelled to scream out to them in the hopes they can hear, even if you have no power over the ability to stop the train, and they have no capacity to untie themselves. To you in the moment, there may simply be an irrefutable desire to let them, and everyone else on the train know, that it horrify you, and that you would do something about it if you could. And while this is very good for the passenger, it matters not very much to he who is tied to the track.

The problem then it seems, is that the fear of not being heard, outweighs the need to have something to say. To have something that can cause change, in the heart or the mind. Hence an era of blogging, to meet quota rather to inspire, or to relate. No one wants to educate, they just want to have their opinion shared. Equally however, they are so bombarded with story and information from others, they may not even be able to hear their own thoughts, or listen to the reply.

And that’s equally an important distinction, is that a conversation is two way – which results in mutual affirmation and education. One’s theory can only be expanded upon hearing another knowledge base which can confirm or deny it. Shouting into the void is remarkably one-way, and seldom results in any kind of actual validation, or expansion of the mind. If your opinion can reach anyone, as in the age of the internet it can; then equally anyone – regardless of whether they hold a genuine opinion or not, can respond and seem just as valid as anyone else. Largely, we experience not validation – but either nothing, or a sort of anti-validation when no one responds. Or “likes”. Perhaps you like a photo of you, and find that for once you look beautiful, but when you post it, no one or few people like it, so immediately you assume it must be disgusting. – When in fact, perhaps people were simply busy. Or… didn’t care.

The simple fact is, no one has a compulsion or a requirement to care. And while that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it – it just perhaps means you should be less offended by it.

Perhaps you should be less worried, about the desire to have your thoughts heard or validated. You may not like what you find.

“If you remain silent; people may think you’re a fool. If you open your mouth; they may know it for a fact.”

There is nothing wrong, with listening to others for a change, even if you don’t like what you hear. And when you decide you are ready to speak, be sure you have something to say.

Hurt

If you think you are irreparably hurt; remember that at some point, you have lied to your mother.

You have broken the heart; of the person who formed yours, and stood steadfast staring into eyes that love you, and told lies and untruths. And as she watched you, wrapped in clothes that she worked so hard to put you in, she was torn and crying inside. All the while she had to remain resilient and strong, for little did you know that you were not brave, cunning, and clever – but instead small, weak, and deceitful. How very childish, that you cherished your pride in that moment, more than you did unconditional love.

How very foolish that would be? – If you were to repeat that again. Wouldn’t it be foolish?


To let pride, and pity take precedence over someone, or a group of people even, whom love you unconditionally? To let such a small thing, as being right be worth the hurt you may cause?

It does not always matter that you are right. Many men and women whom have lived for pride, the knowledge of being right, and stubbornness have done so for a lifetime – and in return they have died sad and alone. And realised that being right, was not so worth it after all. That being right, or proving it, never did hold any value, and the hurt it caused to others only served to worsen their life, and yours. And the horrible, soul destroying fact of that scenario – is that if you were to do the same; if you were to live in such a manner, and realise only on your deathbed, that it was all not worth it at all, and that you are scared, having driven everyone who may care for you and love you – that you lived a life no where near as happy as the one you could have, you will then, after some time realise a second thing.

The second thing you will realise, is that you cannot undo it. There is no going back, and there is no time to fix it. You will slowly fall asleep into darkness, with tears in your eyes, and no one around you who truly loves you, as you turned your partner away and any children you had, and you will realise it was all not worth it. It was all not worth it, and you cannot change. You will die, knowing you are bitter. You will die, knowing you will be forgotten.

Think proactively. Do not build that future for yourself. Do not be the person now, that the you in the future will regret. If someone matters to you, let them know. And show them partly through words, but mostly through action, that they matter more to you, than pride. Do not lie, do not act selfishly, do not deceive, and do not degrade. They are worth more than that, and so are you.

We all make mistakes. We all act hastily. Rashly. Out of anger or pain. And you are human, so even the best will do this. But be sure to minimise it. And most importantly, if you do it, be sorry for it. Show that through changed behaviour, you will not repeat the same mistakes. Slowly you will build a life where pride is not a concept you hold important.

Understand that hurt to a loved one, intentional or otherwise, is such an abhorrent concept – you should not aspire to do it – especially for the boring sake of “winning”.

Show this to others. To loved ones, or otherwise. Spread it around. Hope it rubs off on them, and that next time they go to do something hurtful in the name of pride, they will take a moment and think of this. Your loved ones and theirs are worth more, than ego.

What Are You Worth?

What are you worth?

It’s not a thought that often crosses the forefront of our mind, but I’d wager that for many, an arbitrary value exists somewhere in the recesses of thought.

This topic was brought about by a conversation I had with some close friends, where I proposed them the following scenario with a single question;


 

“Suppose you are diagnosed with a chronic illness. And unfortunately, the doctor informs you that this illness will bring about your imminent demise. In fact, you will die, tomorrow.

However, the doctor informs you that while there is no cure, there is a treatment, in the form of a single pill. Now what this pill does, is keep you effectively staving off the effects of the disease, for one day.

There are many of these pills, and they are readily available to you. The pill cannot be stacked, but it will work continuously.

i.e. You cannot take six pills and live for six more days, but for every pill you take, you get to live for one more day, specifically the following. So you must take this pill every morning, to continue living for the rest of that day.

Now for the question; at what cost, do you STOP paying for the pill?”

*Perhaps answer the question for yourself, before reading any further.


 

I found this such an interesting question to pose to my close friends, particularly because of the first response I got, when I had asked a clearly startled colleague

Although I am not afraid of death, and in fact, I struggle to identify when you can even call someone truly dead (a topic for another day), I still would always answer – “I would pay anything for the pill.”

I assumed this was an obvious answer, that everyone has the same zest and desire for life, and that my colleague would respond in kind. But instead she replied, “Nothing. I would not pay anything for that pill.”

I was shocked. This completely bewildered me. My colleague doesn’t come across as an unhappy person, and yet I must confess, this was my immediate reaction, although I did not vocalise it. But then immediately, she followed it up with, “I wouldn’t want to leave anyone behind, with a burden of paying for that medicine.”

In a roller-coaster of emotion, I now felt incredibly selfish. I had not even considered the people I would leave behind. In my mind, I thought I would do anything to continue paying for that pill, in the sense of I would accept every inch of the responsibility. But then on further examination of my conscience, I think even if I did leave a burden upon the living… I don’t know. I think my answer still might be “I would do anything for that pill.”

While I cannot know for certain, and it is indeed all a thought experiment, I cannot think of a time when I would condemn myself, to my final day on Earth, voluntarily.

And yet, I then decided to propose a different scenario upon myself alone, based on the famous trolley question;


 

“Suppose I am working in a laboratory, and there is an accident with a spilled contaminant. This contaminant bubbles and breathes gas into the lab. This chemical is lethal when inhaled.

You and your lab partner, the only people in the room, rush to the two hazmat suits in the corner. But unfortunately as you get there, you discover one suit has been ripped, and is rendered useless.

The person who does not wear the suit, will not die a painful death. But they will die over the next minute. There is no cure as of yet, and they will not be revived.

Your partner has abstained from making the decision, and will readily accept yours.

Do you take the suit for yourself, or do you give it to your partner?”

*Again, perhaps answer the question for yourself, before reading any further.


 

Now with this question, my answer immediately would be, “I would give the suit to my partner.”

But again upon closer and initial inspection, it seems that there is a bit of an oxymoron between these two answers on my part. It doesn’t rightly make sense for me to fight so unyielding for my life, and yet on a different breath, give it up so readily.

Now perhaps I am perfectly willing to sacrifice my life for another’s. And I’m sure most people would like to believe this also. Hopefully we will be fortunate enough never be put in that situation, and have to even find out.

But here is where I am torn. I believe you should work hard to leave some part of you on this universe. That you should leave it in some kind of better state than when you found it.

And the idea of granting someone a life, by sacrificing mine helps me fulfil that. But just giving up on my life, doesn’t necessarily fulfil it for me. I think that’s why I fight so hard for the pill. With the pill, I can still try. I can still try with every second of my life to make the universe better in some way. But what if in doing that, I actually make it worse for those I leave behind?

What I’m also concerned with, is I think I would fear the idea of my last day, and my last thoughts, not being good ones. The idea of going home, putting on some TV, calling up far away family members to tell them the news, and gathering with closer family to be with me, and then just passing away – I don’t think it makes the cut for me. I could not have, an ordinary day be my last, without knowing if I truly made the world a better place with my time spend on it. But with the chemical spill thought, I can at least die a hero. Regardless of what I’ve done, some of it may be redeemed, and my successor can continue to do good in this world, because I gave them that chance.

Ultimately; I don’t know.

I don’t believe for the time being I have an answer to these questions both. I think it will take many more conversations and much more time thinking about this before I could propose an answer. Maybe by the time I come to the conclusion, my thoughts on the whole thing might have changed. This, I really do not know.

But with my thought and opinions as they stand today fully out there, let me ask you; What are you worth?