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.
Brevity, alone, does not make you intelligent.
It is fine to speak a statement, and mean it exactly as it is said. To speak succinctly, and to the point. But the “problem” in language, is its open interpretation of it. Without clarification, you would be better off saying nothing at all. And yet it seems as though often, people regard it as profundity. As though to say, “With strength, you are delicate.” is insightful. When in fact, it provides no information at all. No evidence, and merely contradicts itself. And yet people can apply it to the self; “Well yes, I am strong, and yet I have feelings… so this is true!” … But actually that wasn’t what was said… in fact, that was just what you wanted to hear. In the context of when they wrote it, they could be a bodybuilder and have meant as your strength training increases, so too does your likelihood to injury yourself, and remain fragile. So actually, nothing of note was said, because we still don’t know what they said. So we may as well have thought to ourselves what we wanted to hear.
Obviously, the intended point of some forms of literature, such as poetry, is brevity. And it is to evoke personal feelings, discussions, and emotes, in as few a word as possible – so of course for the sake of this argument, poetry and certain forms of artistic prose are excluded.
Equally verbosity is not intrinsically the solution. With the addition of words that can be taken in multiplicity, you increase the chances of contradiction, or fulfilling a point that you did not make. Which obviously increases your appeal to a wider market, but your intended point might have never been heard. Remarkably enough, this can also allow someone to come across as intelligent or insightful, as long as someone persists long enough to find what they want. If someone were to write for twenty paragraphs, briefly touching different topics, the chances you cannot agree on a single thing they say, is insatiably low. Someone could say something horrific, bigoted, and downright rude, but if they justify it with, “We all want to move towards a brighter future for the children of tomorrow.” you would be inclined to agree with that end statement. And so you might consider something you otherwise would not have, simply because you feel like you agree on some points.
You must not hammer home the point, when it has already been made, for risk of bending the nail. But equally, it does not make you intelligent to say something to confidently, yet so vague, that it can be taken not so literally in so many different ways.
It is then important to understand, that extremes of either, do not fulfil a need, alone. We have all read poetry that makes no sense, because of its determination to succinctness, and yet we have all read books, that ramble on for hundreds more pages than they should have, to the point even the author becomes a little lost. Instead, a careful balance of the two may be the solution. To keep it brief as to say exactly what you want, without allowing for a thousand iterations of what you might have meant. Equally, try not to keep it so brief, that you almost cut it off in the middle of your –
Anger. It’s very difficult to control this emotion. If any readers ever succeed in controlling it in its entirety, tell me how.
You can’t stand a person. You can’t stand an ideal or a thought. It’s so inherently wrong or immoral to you and yet it keeps happening, and the persons or persons responsible for it aren’t backing down, they aren’t apologising – in fact they’re aggravating you. Maybe they’re getting away with it, and you find that unfair. They’re pushing your buttons, intentionally, and you’re exponentially becoming more frustrated because you can’t solve it. You’re losing. Maybe someone whom you care for deeply or have an intense respect for is intentionally letting you down, disappointing you, or hurting you, and despite the fact you normally love or care for them – right now you cannot think of any of it, for the intense red mist that has descended upon you.
It’s a very primal emotion; anger. It’s not very complex, it just is. A lot like love, or fear. You are angry, because you are.
But as a relatively rational human being, you will most likely try to control it, in some way or another. Ineffectively count to ten – or perhaps you leave the room to focus your mind elsewhere.
Then, most likely, still as the rational human being you are, you will probably feel one more emotion blind-sight you out of nowhere, and attempt to steal your anger’s limelight. You’ll feel guilt. Guilty that you were unable to control yourself, and that your emotions instead controlled you. But the truth is you have little more to do with your emotions, than you do with your need to breathe in air.
Of course, it is important you learn how to handle, and express anger – but it is not important that you feel it. You should not feel guilty about feeling it, perhaps only about what you then do with it. If you are angry and you punch a wall – this is a relatively stupid thing to do, because you’re only giving yourself or another person a separate problem to solve. You’re not fixing yours.
However, if you are angry, and you sit and be angry; reflect perhaps – this is not so terrible. It’s not so terrible, because you’re going to feel it – so you may as well be constructive about it. You may as well come to terms with the fact, that as our thoughts and actions are the only thing in this life, that we can control – we now have a responsibility to think our thoughts through, and determine an appropriate action or outlet for them.
Most importantly; understand that you cannot move on, you cannot become better and feel better until you actively let the anger go. Any pain or hurt you’ve been caused, any build up rage that someone has instilled upon you, will not dissipate until you have given it permission to do so. One cannot negotiate effectively, in anger.
Do not allow serious discussions to occur, until you are no longer emotionally compromised. And while it’s annoying, and irritating, having to wait – because you may not have been ready to wait… you must. You must wait it out, until you can either forgive the person, until you can forget about the issue, or if you feel this person may anger you consistently and legitimately to an extreme degree so often that they no longer matter in the same way to you as they once did, leave them. Remove toxicity from your life.
But what you must not do – is decide any of these things, while you are not rational. And if you are emotionally compromised – you are not thinking rationally.
Take your time. Be angry. Forgive yourself. Direct the flow of it productively. And most importantly, do not feel guilty for the sake of feeling guilty. But understand, for you to grow, and for the situation to resolve itself in any way, you must let go of it, for now it only hurts you.
“Holding onto anger is like drinking a poison, and expecting the other person to die.”
Everything is temporary. So let anger pass, and do not let it consume you any longer than it has. Control the outlet of your emotions, so that they do not control you.
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.
Peace cannot be achieved, today and now, without an immense amount of effort. It takes everything to let fundamental disagreements, pain, and past unfairness subside in order to move forward without the anvil of the past weighing you down. It cannot be demanded, because by its very definition there can be no force and all parties must accept the conditions amicably.
Demanding peace is no more useful than demanding yourself to relax in a moment of panic. It’s a paradox. Fundamentally it cannot be rushed. It takes effort. It takes endurance, respect, and consistency.
What differentiates the villains from the heroes in old tales, and even blockbusters that we know of now – is that the villain must only succeed once to achieve their goal. If the villain wishes to cause terror, to take lives, and to exert their will, they need only do it once. Their world ending plan, or their terrorist attack – has to be only be achieved the one time. Terror, is spread easily – peace is a little tougher.
So we must be consistent. Stronger. Unwavering, and unfaltering. It begins not with magnanimous leaders that boast their own narcissism, but with the people who we often forget actually run the world – the people. It can only be achieved on the grand scale that it will, once the small behaviours of the people change. Once people remember to prioritise what they want most, rather than what they want now.
The next time someone skips you in a queue, or walks in front of you – do not storm and pout and get mad about it. Even if it irritates you in the exact moment, work hard to laugh, or joke, and move past it. Do not let the second, dictate the minute. Because very quickly, the minute can dictate the hour, and so on. Big things are only made up of small things, and it is our lack of vigilance on the small things that allows larger things to manifest themselves over time.
Talk about the small things; communicate towards a solution, as they arise. Accept that the solution may not be achieved immediately, but it cannot even begin to be worked upon until stakeholders are even aware that an issue exists. More so; do this with a smile. Do not assume maliciousness, where ignorance will do. If your waiting staff have not cleared away a table you wish to sit at, do not be so arrogant as to assume they are not doing their job, and complain of the terrible service – instead stop for a moment, consider it may be busy, and that by chance in this exact moment you spotted the table you want to sit at, they were dealing with other issues and unfortunately this was not their priority. In fact, if you have worked in the service or retail industry, you know this to be true. Be polite and kind, and with a smile bring it to someone’s attention. Think about it for a moment, from a perspective that is not your own. Imagine you are in their place, and how you would feel if someone spoke to you horribly. Equally, imagine the difference it would make if someone was kind to you, when everyone else was not. Simple actions, behavioural changes and understanding can change the world. You just must apply it to everything, every example that you can.
Say thank you with sincerity. Mean it, no matter who it is, or for what it’s for. As much as we like to believe in a society that there are certain rights we have, which we do not – such as the right to be served at a restaurant – we… don’t. Someone could just say, no.
“I have the right to refuse you, and I do.” So when you are served, when you would like to be – say thank you. And pleases are just basic manners.
Your opinion is not inherently worth more than anyone else. While of course, someone who is actually educated on a subject may have the facts to more accurately represent it, it does not mean they are any more important than the next person who wants to discuss it. Discussion is for everyone, so listen to everyone’s opinion. Do not simply wait for your turn to speak. Listen. Use it to change your own opinion, or cement it. Regardless of what it does, it is almost always certainly worth it, as long as the person on the other end is genuine.
IF we had wished to achieve serenity now, all of these things we should have begun to do a long time ago. But while we must be patient and wait a little longer, and to some degree this can be disheartening, simply remember the following phrase;
“The best time to plant a tree, is twenty years ago. The second best time, is now.”
This will guide you, and remind you that all things worthwhile require persistence, patience, consistency, and sacrifice.
This is all a lot to remember. And a lot to do. But the truth is, the small change in attitude brings about all of the following in turn, a domino effect. Once you approach everything with kindness, and acceptance first, all of your future decisions can be made by you in the moment, rather than requiring guidance, and a list of examples by which you can conduct yourself.
Use advice as your guidelines, not your rule book.
And finally, while peace and a global serenity may not be achieved tomorrow; while it will require an immense amount of effort and forgiveness on all sides; while it will require the removal of pride from the equation and the relinquishment of “the upper hand” of power – you can start today. You can be the best you can be, and as that’s all you can do – you as a human, and the ones you love close to you, can achieve serenity now.
Broken heart; and tired mind.
Useless body, set out to find,
A solemn place to belong,
Where you can dance, and write your song.
Where worries past, will not follow,
Torture you, obsess and swallow.
Where what you grow into; matters more,
Than what you were, from long before.
Companions come, and surely go,
And while where they went, you’d like to know,
Free they are; let them wander over hill,
And out of sight, forever still.
Love you’ve had, has left you to dwindle,
And still with open heart you’ve managed to rekindle,
Time again sparked hope from ash,
And time again, your body’s been smashed.
Bruised and cracked, imperfect and scarred,
Your thoughts and feelings, permanently marred.
Trust and expectation are always cautious,
Every bout of closeness, makes you noxious.
Never been given reason for kind,
Yet still your heart, and that word entwined,
And so through fog you wander on,
To find the place, where you belong.
It’s darkness out there, with fumbling hand,
You cast it out, searching for land,
In lieu of that, as you’ve found times past
Instead you feel somebody, at last.
They hold you tight, and pull you close,
You could not tell who needs who most,
But of course you would not let on,
Your defences are up, you appear to be strong.
You’ll try not to care, for fear of ridicule,
It will go unnoticed, that it’s yourself the fool.
You’ll talk and wonder, and eventually you’ll share,
And at some point you’ll come to realise you care,
You capsulise and notice, every detail
And while you try to find the bad, every time you fail,
While every other has given you reason to doubt,
You find yourself in wonder of what this person is about.
There’s hope and wonder now in your eyes,
And try as you will; you can’t disguise.
They’ve broken through; see who you are,
And they adore you still, for that every scar.
Through imperfection they’ll see you perfect,
They’ll see beauty where you see defect.
And as paths ahead split, you wish; nae you know,
They’ll follow you wherever you go.
Then at some point, as you both foot down path,
And you try to anticipate what could be aftermath,
You realise you no longer travel simply side by side,
But you walk hand in hand, and together you stride.
You don’t look ahead, and rather stare into eyes,
As the dawning sun, breaks the burning skies.
Together you slow, almost down to a crawl,
Amidst dewy grass, wild land critters answer the call.
You both seem to hear, you need not travel any more,
As together you understand, what you’ve been looking for.
Come away; take them in hand, and lay, for no longer you roam,
What you searched for was love; and so with love – you’re home.
There are no stupid questions; only stupid answers.
To be a good teacher – and not just a successful educator – it is important to remember that the idea of being stupid (a horrible thing to think of someone, or to address someone as) could only be reserved for someone who lacks intelligence. And you know the only way to gain more knowledge, and to be more intellectual as person? Asking, questions.
Fundamentally, the sentence “They were asking stupid questions” or “that was a stupid question” is flawed – you’ll most likely either have said this in a moment of fury, or have overheard a disgruntled friend or colleague complaining. While it’s easy to understand why someone might say this, as they’re just frustrated, its equally not a helpful phrase for anyone.
Let’s suppose that you have never learned how to wash your clothes. You are a teenager, and have just moved out for the first time in your life. There is no washing machine in your apartment, so you head to the nearest laundromat with a couple of bags of dirty clothes, that you’ve no doubt put off washing. Nervous, you stumble your way towards a stranger, and in a moment of courage, you tap them on the shoulder and explain to them your predicament. “I’ve just never learned how to wash my clothes” You’ll say, “So… How DO you wash your clothes? Is there a system for putting it in the washing machine, or do you put anything in with it or… ?”
They laugh in your face. They sputter their words, and they repeat it, “You don’t know how to wash your clothes!? Are you stupid!?” They continue their merriment, maybe chuckle to themselves or turn to a friend. And you sit there wondering… “Am I stupid?”
What’s happened in that scenario, and in every other scenario where a variant of this has happened, is that someone asked for help to improve their own understanding, and was made to feel small in return. As though because they did not know something, that they know nothing. Which, ironically, is a stupid thing for someone to think. By acting that way, or by saying these things, you’re only conditioning someone not to ask questions, because when they do, they’re reprimanded. So they may stop asking questions. And without questions they don’t know answers. Now you’re hurtful comments have sustenance to them, but only because of what you did. And by doing that, you are far more stupid, and worst yet ignorant, than they could ever be.
You may not consider yourself a stupid person, and yet – do you know anything about botany? Or rocket science? Or fishing? Maybe even geology, sociology, psychology, phrenology? If you are not an expert in all these fields, it would be expected that at some point if you wanted to know more about the subject you would have to ask a question, no? So, does this make you stupid?
Fundamentally, we are all uneducated in some aspects of life. To call someone stupid, or make them feel small in any way, because you excel in an area they do not; is arrogant. It’s unkind, it’s unfair, and you are objectively helping to numb society to the pursuit of intelligence.
Curiosity IS intelligence. To wonder what lies beyond. To wonder about that which you do not know, and pursue it relentlessly. Do not stifle someone, and trip them up at the first hurdle of understanding. You are hurting someone’s potential more than you know.
Next time someone asks a question you feel they should know; that you feel is a stupid question – be patient. Take your time to think of the appropriate answer. For it is you who is on the ropes. Because there are no stupid questions; only stupid answers.
You don’t have to do it alone.
No matter what it is; or how you feel; if you are right or wrong; or if you feel you are too far along. Whether the outcome will be a success or a failure; whether you will be forgiven or not; whether things can go back to the way they were or not; whatever you are going through – you do not have to do it alone.
Loneliness is such a hauntingly beautiful concept; because it’s so ironically universal. It’s something that unites us all together. We have all felt alone.
Sometimes in a dark room, with a beer or a glass of wine on something resembling a table in front of you, you will feel alone. As you monitor friends and family, who seem to be having fun. Perhaps you’re sitting and wondering who that person you think about, is thinking about. And maybe you’re wondering why they aren’t here beside you.
Sometimes, shoulder to shoulder, or on a busy street, you will feel so alone. As no one looks your way, or perhaps that they do and choose to stay at a distance. Perhaps it’s even one of those times, when people are talking to you; but the words they say and the ways they relate to their life and yours around them, you would be better off talking to a lion who has been taught your native tongue – for your two frames of reference are so far apart you no longer understand each other.
Sometimes it’s our own pride that brings about our true sadness. The thought that we should be able to shoulder the weight of the world, for this is what makes us strong and tough. This is a fallacy. A whisper that loneliness will repeat in your ear for hours on end. If you have convinced yourself this is true, then know this instead. It is not brave, to accept burden alone. It is not more dignified, or more humble, to pretend the world does not beat you down, and get the better of you on some days. Or perhaps for weeks or months on end.
This is the cruelty of life. It does this to everyone. If you believe you are the only person who asks for help, and are convinced that others you know to be calm and collected never ask for help; you are mistaken. What they really do, is share the load. They distribute the bombardment amongst those they trust, whom they hold dear. And in return, when they can, they offer kindness, love, and reciprocation. They offer an ear, and a shoulder, when it is their burden to do so.
This, I would wager, is not opinion, but fact. Four people carrying 100 kilograms of weight on their shoulders seems reasonable. But one person carrying the same weight, will injure or tire themselves after not too long at all. Remember this; it’s science.
Sometimes the hardest part, is that it seems as though there is no one to even accept your requests for help. It’s a friend, who knows you’re alone, and is unwilling to alter their behaviour to accommodate you. Which arguably is the only thing worse than being alone or being sad. Being alone, and someone else knowing you’re alone. Someone else being perfectly aware of it, and yet choosing not to act upon it. It feels as though no one would care.
But someone does care. People who contact you without a reason to do so. They care about your day, for the sake of hoping it was a happy one, and nothing else. Do not forget them, or their kindness, even if they are not the person you wish was bringing it to you. They can bring some light into your life, as long as you let them. Loneliness is only a darkness. People are not further away; you just cannot see very far in front of you. Or how far your sphere of connection stretches.
Put it does not matter if it is a trick – because it feels so real, to you. It feels empty. When you are scared of what you may find beyond your vision. And your fingers shake, and your arms wave all around you hoping to find someone there, to hold their hand and pull it closer. To feel their warmth against yours, even if they too are afraid.
Whatever makes you afraid; whatever in the future scares you – don’t do it alone. Don’t push those away whom you do find in reach. If they call to you, call back.
And if no one answers – call for me. I will follow you into the dark.
It is okay, to disagree.
It is okay to like someone, but have aspects of their life which do not cohere to aspects of yours.
Imagine a kaleidoscope, with a near infinite number of fragments, which with a single near infinitely small turn will change the outcome of the projection it gives. The chances that any two people land on the exact same image and their views align, becomes quantum; but that doesn’t mean they can’t both enjoy each others pretty patterns.
It can be a struggle, at times – usually because of an error in how one might perceive what it means to disagree. Disagreeing, does not mean you dislike the person whom you are disagreeing with, and vise versa it does not mean they have an aversion to you. It simply means both of your opinions do not align, at this one point in time. And as you know, your thoughts, loves, hates, passions, and ambitions change almost daily. Maybe a turn of the kaleidoscope in the future may bring you closer, or further away, anyway. But for now they do not work out. It is not so severe an obstacle to friendship or more than you might believe it to be.
You’ll find that it would be an awfully lonely world to be friends with someone only like you. For you are unique; in many ways you may not fully realise.
What’s more – is that if you in any way respect yourself, you will understand that with while perfection is an unattainable goal, you should still be striving to improve yourself. Always. And if you believe you can achieve this, without learning – you are undoubtedly still a fool. You may not always be – but for now if you believe you can improve without lessons taught, without experiment, and without others, then you are losing out on life. You’re doing yourself a great injustice.
Equally, to disagree with a loved one, ultimately is to show them respect. You respect them enough to say, “I’m not agreeing with you, just so you stop talking. I disagree with you because I think you could make a better decision in this moment. You could think better thoughts, and if not, and I could be better, I want you to teach me.”
So… disagree. Surround yourself with people who agree with you in your entirety, or that you believe yourself to be “better” than, then you will remain stagnant, and utterly extremist. If there is only one “truth” being spoke around you, you will believe it to be so.
Regardless, let me know your opinions. Disagree with me. I’ll love you anyway.