miércoles, 16 de diciembre de 2015

Rediscovering honesty

       Once upon a time I had an acquaintance that could be considered weird. She looked very much like a Hungarian gypsy with an olive complexion, black hair and blue eyes that glowed like a lighthouse. Her appearance was intimidating, intentional or not, and yet her modest looks disguised her inevitable attractiveness. She studied hard to become a doctor but ended up focusing exclusively on alternative medicine, such as homeopathy and acupuncture.

       I recall attending an acupuncture session with her that was intended to treat a bout of constipation that had lasted for a couple of weeks. I believe in acupuncture, but in this case the nocebo effect of the tension I felt in her presence made me more constipated than I was before.

       I remember her calling my mother not long after to tell her that, due to a terrible headache, she had gone for an EEG to diagnose the problem. The test illustrated very unusual brain waves and activity not commonly seen in normal people. Contrary to one might expect, these strange results made her quite happy: she didn't want to see a normal result simply because she never believed that she was a normal person.

       I'm sorry if I take you out of your comfort zone, but metal disease is not a black and white issue. “Mental health” is more like a continuous line, or like a moving sidewalk in an airport. At one extreme we identify illness, while at the other we observe normality. We all sit at varying degrees of this spectrum. Our position can change depending on the circumstances we are exposed to. Even the most ordinary person can become quite different amidst high levels of stress and difficult conditions, possibly resulting in depression or other states of mind that may seem more like illness.

       I now truly understand how my acquaintance felt: I also like to be weird because what we consider to be strange completely depends upon our own perception. So, there's no need to worry if what you enjoy doing or feel the need to do falls in this category because you are simply following your own path as opposed to somebody else's; you're merely being honest with others as well as yourself.

       Beware, however. Being honest isn't always the easiest thing to do. There are people who claim that they like honesty – until you tell them what they don't want to hear. In fact, in my opinion, a lack of consistency is one of the biggest small problems facing humanity.

       For example, somebody can criticize you for wanting to have another child because the world is overpopulated, an obvious drain on natural resources. On the other hand, they can aspire to produce a bunch of vinyl records that, in turn, demand yet more oil production and usage, a clear negative on the ecology. That same person may dislike his mother because she is lazy and has no obvious interest in anything, but he can also live with a remarkably lazy woman who's eerily similar to his completely unstable mother. This partner also refuses to work or produce much of anything that actually contributes to a lifestyle of anything other than complete dependance.

       It's said that nobody is perfect. Or, maybe we are perfect based on what the universe has in store for us. Either way, I believe that maturity entails recognizing and atoning for our own mistakes as a way to grow. If you constantly claim the right to be honest with no regard for someone else's feelings, it's quite hypocritical to have no ability to process that same honesty which comes from others. Further, it's even more damaging when you accuse others being far less than what you actually are.

       Be creative, fight for your dreams, love, experience things, take risks, be honest with your soul and learn to forgive. We all make mistakes and if you never learn to forgive others you'll never be able to forgive yourself. If you choose to remain a victim as opposed to taking responsibility for your own actions, you remain essentially everything you accuse others of being.You have the right to choose being a victim and not a hero, finding excuses instead of solutions or blaming others instead of looking inside you. That's just a matter of choice. But, then, remember: actions always speak louder than words. 

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