If you want to know what this blog is about…
Talking too much and talking too little
Most people are pretty capable of speaking their minds when they do not like something. In fact, many have no big problems edging on the side of rude. They seem to believe it shows character. These people confuse speaking freely with telling anyone what they think and what they should do. I do not agree. There is a Chinese saying that goes “If you have nothing good to say, better keep quiet”. I follow this almost as a rule. Showing character is so much more complex than this, and includes self-respect, self-criticism and humility also.
Feelings are a different kettle of fish. It seems speaking openly about feelings is unmanly, or cheesy. I believe speaking makes us human and everything must be said, with measure. Particularly the good things. We act that way with children, because we think they need it. As if we don’t. Who does not feel his heart lightened when a kid smiles at him or when getting one of these tight neck sore hugs? We all appreciate that warmth, still, many people constrain that behavior to children. And that is a shame. We all love to receive affection, we all, in fact, need to receive affection, but, what’s more, we all need to give affection. Muting that part of our feelings cripples us. And to do give and receive affection properly, we need to communicate.
The other day we spoke about courage. Deciding how we face life everyday might be considered courage oriented outwards. Dealing with feelings takes courage looking inwards. There are some crucial words we need to use freely, because they help make us and our relations complete. These are expressions like I am sad, I am worried, I am tired, I am angry, and the three most important ones, I am sorry, thank you and I love you, that we should consider part of our daily language. I cannot remember how many arguments I have finished before beginning by wording my state of mind, so the ones around me that I love and love me know how I am feeling. It helps me postpone difficult conversations until the right moment, and to be cut some slack if I return a short answer.
Sometimes we say something and dive headfirst into a raw argument. Minutes later we cool down and wonder what happened. It’s very simple. We didn’t notice how the other part was feeling. And the other part did not tell. Rings a bell? I have developed two habits to deal with these fights, two social tools that I manage to wield most of the times and which I find priceless:
– The first one is to take a step back when I receive an uncalled for short answer. My first reaction is always to counter-attack, but I have learned to hold my horses and to patiently request an explanation for the short answer. Did I say or do something wrong? Did something happen to you? Most of the times I get an explanation and an apology of sorts. The bomb is defused and I can go on to speak to my partner about the issue that fired it all and help her. The trick is to act, not just to react.
– The second habit is to say I am sorry as soon as I realize I screwed up. I try not to let my mistakes linger, I do not like to wait until I am cool. If I acted or said something that is not right, I correct it the moment I realize. That is another great argument defuser. And it is a matter of pride. Some people cannot apologize because of pride. They cannot admit to being wrong. I think they figured it all wrong. It is our pride that must force us to apologize. If I am going to be a demanding person, I have to begin by being self-demanding first. And this has another advantage. My wife knows how my mind works, so if I do not apologize she gets second thoughts. She knows I still think I am right. This is a wonderful tool to take bad pride out of the equation.
My wife knows these tools and tries to apply them the same as I do. We both succeed and fail depending on the day, but the important thing is we both keep on trying. And we both know we do. You have to understand, I am not teacher of anything, I just write of life as I see it and about the ways I figure out to cope that work for me. I am just another free anonymous citizen like you or your neighbor. What I am trying to say is these are not perfect solutions perfect people use to live perfect lives. These are just tricks a normal guy finds useful, even if they are not perfectly successful. But they are real and feasible.
Last, but may be first
The last crucial expression is I love you. Seems that it is reserved for teenagers, movie actors and children, and that is dead wrong. I do not say it everyday, but I try to show it everyday. It can be a word, a wink, a smile, a stare, a kiss, a soft slap… so many things. The good thing about affection and love is that they can be non-verbally expressed in so many different ways. But they must be expressed.
In the end, we all expect the others to notice how and what we feel, while at the same time we get so centered in ourselves that we do not notice how they feel. We take for granted it is all understood. And it is not.
So, remember those tools, use your inbound courage to express your feelings in a healthy way and today, when you get home, or tomorrow, when you get up, do something, say something, a look, a gesture, a quick caress, something fleeting, something hinted, but something meaningful and unnecessary. You cannot imagine how gratifying it is to meet that surprised and grateful look or smile afterwards. There is really no better way to start the day than by saying, or implying, I love you. And that works for every single day.
About the Pictures
These dry roses have been at home for a while. Red roses mean love and being dry symbolizes to me this love is not new, so I found them very meaningful. I shot an HDR sequence in natural light against a dark background. Then added some of my old tricks to make it look as I wanted it. Beautiful but somehow rugged, used. This is a love that has survived years of real life, so it shows its scars, but maintains it’s purity. Love through ages.
The yellow nasturtiums are my neighbor’s. Stunning in color, shape and texture, I also shot an HDR sequence and then enhanced those aspects, while darkening the background. The fact that it looks like one of them is pushing the other out into the open made me think of friends helping each other, about the times I have helped and been helped. And about how good it feels to thank and be thanked. Once again, express and communicate.
This pictures can be printed in photo paper, canvas, metal or acrylic surface from 8″ to 48″, or in greeting card format. You can check them by clicking the images above.
I am all in for customizing pictures. All of them can be retouched in many ways, texts altered, changed or deleted. Ask freely.