Reflections

The indolence of wisdom

It’s clear that, in general, as we grow older we grow wiser too, we endure experiences and we learn from them. Part of that learning is to learn how to handle the emotions. When I think of my teenager students, when they tell me how their weekends went or their troubles with school, friends, love and family, the words that come to my mind are intensity and drama. And when I try to soothe them saying “relax, don’t worry, everything is gonna be fine, you’ll see with time it wasn’t such a big deal”, they look at me with big eyes like saying, wow you’re completely insensitive…

Wiser and more insensitive?

I could say they are a little bit right…

I’ve always been passionate, a bunch of feelings, with a tendency to having downers for multiple and varied reasons: when my family didn’t understand me, when my friends forget to call me, when the guy I liked didn’t correspond my “love”… and I was a wreck of nerves when I had to tell something I knew my family wasn’t going to agree with, when I didn’t want to do what my friends wanted or when the guy I was going out with hadn’t replied my text message 10 minutes later…

And then I started to rationalize things, to take distance and think, and I started to simplify:  If my family didn’t understand me or make a fuss of my plans, well, I was going to try to explain them but if they still didn’t agree, there was nothing else I could do…, I started not caring if my friends forgot to call me and started thinking about why they forgot  and the worth of my relationship with them, if they guy I liked didn’t liked me, well, I am who I am… and if they guy I was hanging out with didn’t replied after 5 minutes, I admitted that maybe he had a life and the mobile wasn’t a prolongation of his hand…

All this is very good, rationalization, distance and simplification. But is it so good to loose the sensitivity?

I wonder if this simplification and rationalization is not making me more indifferent towards the emotions. An example, two weeks ago I said good bye to someone I care about very deeply without knowing whether I’ll see him again. Yes, I cried in that moment and had tough hours in the train back home, but the following morning I was fine, I didn’t think about it again, that good bye was part of my past and there was very little I could do to change the situation, so… And then, a conversation with a friend made me think that if I wasn’t depressed or I wasn’t missing him maybe I didn’t care for him as much as I think, that or I become a stone!

Well, neither I don’t care about him nor I become a stone. I learnt how to live and love in my present, make the best I can in order to get what I want or be with I want but there are things out of my control. And my question is: what’s better: being sad and depressed because of something you can’t solve or accepting it, move on and be as happy as you can? In the past, I could have answered with a “I can’t help being sad!” but that was bullshit, I could help it, I always had the capacity of control my emotions but it was easier to let my feelings unleashed, listen to sad songs, cry and self pity myself of my lack of luck.

There is always a choice, we can control our behavior and reaction towards the less good things and that’s wise. It’s wise to be kind with ourselves, do our best to keep our vital tone high, and that doesn’t mean we are indifferent towards the bad things.

Apathy, indifference, not caring… It may sound insensitive for me to say, “I don’t care,” but ask first to what I am indifferent. I choose to be caring, compassionate and kind toward all people, and I also choose to be indifferent to gossip, petty complaints, and idle chatter. About those, I just don’t care. – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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9 thoughts on “The indolence of wisdom

  1. Being able to chose is wisdom, Maria! There is definitely a choice when confronted with life events – we can’t control what happens in life but we can control our response to it like you so well point out above. If more people would wake up an realize this, they’ll be happier and more content. Everyone is so conditioned from the time they’re young by parents and tv and society, that they believe they have to respond in a certain way to situations. We don’t have to respond that way – we don’t have to respond at all sometimes.

    • Very interesting what you say about society, TV and family affecting our behavior, it’s so true! Sometimes we feel we are compelled to act in a certain way and we don’t realize we are completely free.

  2. Inspiring post Maria, i can totally relate to what you’re saying there. I think we have many things in common. I was exactly like you before, just before i’ve started reading blogs and books about personal development. I was constantly sad, depressed and unhappy: i was angry at my friends for not texting back or forgetting about something we had plan to do, i was depressed the guy i really liked didn’t liked me back, i was so stuck at my desk job…I was angry at the “fate/karma” for not giving me the things i wanted in life.

    Now, everything has changed, i don’t wait for things to happen magically, i act on them. I’m exactly like you, i’m stronger, i’m a fighter, there is no place for tears and complaints in my new life. 🙂

    • And what a great change! 🙂

      I am happy you relate with it and I completely share with you the taking charge of our life, is so much better act on achieve what we want. I feel like I don’t have any reason to be depressed but i only have situations from which I can learn and build up character. 🙂

  3. Very interesting post, I can always relate to Your experiences somehow. I actually became “a stone” during my teenage years, after a too long depressive state in which I decided not to worry about “why we’re here” but rather enjoy myself.
    Then, I understood that feelings are way over-rated, and that somehow occidental society teach us that feeling bad its ok, its something desirable, and something worth aspiring to.
    I didn’t think that way so I chose to give feelings their true value, and then I became “a stone” on society’s eyes.

    Of course I’ve been criticized, and called insensitive and stuff, but
    I learned to be empathetic, and letting people know that I can feel, only I chose to feel according to the event. So, if some friends relative dies, I can feel empathetic, but not bad. I can be supportive, but I don’t need to feel bad myself.
    Even in an event like the one You describe, a goodbye: whenever I say goodbye to my parents, which I see every 1 or 2 years (sometimes more), I feel bad for a few minutes, and then I move on. I miss them, but I’m not sad. I was able to separate the missing and the sadness.

    Then, we had a dog at home. I started reading about them, and Cesar Millan taught me that I’m not “a stone” I just handle my feelings much like a dog does. They live in the now, they don’t live in the past or future. If they fall and hit somewhere, they shake it off and continue they life. They don’t hang on to that pain.
    That’s the way I live. I chose the good feelings to last longer, and the bad feelings to go away ASAP.

    But I believe You do the right thing with your students. Just try to let them know that you understand their feelings, but also show them that “nothing is forever” (one of my mantras), and that we’ll always be able to choose our reaction to pain. Also, they’re teenagers, hormones rule most of their life in that period 😉

    Cheers!

    Sorry my writing is so loose, I’m at my job and its distracting. I usually avoid writing when I’m constantly distracted as I consider it a disrespect to the blogger, but I know if I don’t write this now, I won’t be able to do it for at least a week (Will be on the road) and I might forget. So my apologies for that.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, and don’t worry about a loose writing, the importance is in the content, which, by the way is very interesting.
      I still kind of like the feelings and emotions because that’s what makes me feel alive, all the tears and the laughs are part of the same coin so I wouldn’t remove any. I agree in that you can choose the value you give to your feelings and your reactions to pain and farewells, all is your choice because is your life.

  4. Incredible Post, Maria !

    I can resonate so much to this post. I have always been the stoic one or the “stone” in my family. For as long as I can remember, I have never cried, I just dont feel like. Even when I am experiencing the strongest of emotions (when I first left my family, friends to come to the US, when my father in law passed away suddenly just a month before we were to visit India first time after my marriage, when my mother in law passed away, when my Dad passed away while I was enroute to visit him, when my Mom passed away suddenly just 2 months after my dad, when we finally gave up the hope of having our own child), I dont feel like crying. And I dont think that makes me insensitve. I just am shocked when it happens and by the time I realize the event has occurred, I realize that I have already ‘accepted’ it. I have already moved on. I am also lucky to have a life partner who has known me for years and I KNOW she understands my emotions very well and hence does not have to see me cry or look sad or say anything to know that I care. You said it right, it is just the way we are and we should not change who we are.

    Thanks for writing this inspiring post !

    Ciao
    Ajay

    • Hi Ajay!
      First of all, thanks for sharing this, I’m glad my post resonates with you. Exteriorize emotions doesn’t mean we feel more and accept the hard events in life and move on is definitely better than drag the pain for years and years and the acceptation doesn’t mean we feel less.
      Thanks so much for your comment! 🙂

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