Friday, 8 February 2013

Believe me, nothing is trivial . . .

"I AM NOT A DOORMAT" . . . Or am I?

Let's get real and raw for a few paragraphs. What is one of my biggest personal weaknesses? I guess I'm what is referred to as a 'soft touch'. I have a tendency to care too much, often for little or any reward. I vehemently believe no-one should give to receive. I know many do; I'm aware many have hidden agendas, some times innocent ones, some times not so innocent. If I'm completely honest with myself (and anyone whom happens to stumble upon this blog), I've probably not been entirely innocent where intent is concerned 100% of the time in the past (although it's likely done unconsciously moreover consciously), being as I'm as susceptible to the human condition as much as the next person. I have a longing to feel loved and cared for, especially by people I hold in high regard. However, I am aware of this indiscretion, this fatal human flaw, and I at least try to kick my emotions back into kilter when I become aware of it.

What can I say as to why I am, the way I am, which is potentially a door mat for people that are of the 'Give 'em an inch, they'll take a mile!' type? I suppose there are several explanations, upbringing being one (my Mum was a very giving and compassionate woman and instilled that within me), another is I feel sensitive to other people's pain and the human condition as a whole. I've always felt this way, even as a young child. I suppose you could also suggest it's due to the amount of struggle and pain I've endured myself, but then, who hasn't - right? All I know is; some times I wish I could stop caring so much, because the emotion that derives from it all makes me feel vulnerable, raw, some times pain and I worry about losing control of my emotions/becoming irrational – And I'm all about the rationality.

It all beggars the question: Would we all do well to be a little more selfish, and put ourselves first more often? The conclusion I've come to several times in the past is this – Isn't that exactly one of the biggest problems in the world today? This 'Every man for himself' attitude that seems evermore rampant as the years pass by. I see it everywhere I turn; reality TV shows, magazines, music, the workplace, the queue at the supermarket . . . everywhere. Surely, if we all showed a little more compassion for each other, eventually it would all even out and we'd all have our needs efficiently met? I know . . .  a very naive dream, but a girl can dream, can't she?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I want to bring attention to something Michael Jackson said during one of his interviews with the journalist (hack) Martin Bashir in 2004. It's something that I believe is related to what I've been talking about in this post, and it's something that resonates with me:

"The family bond has been broken, it's an outcry for attention. Why are kids going to school with guns?"
Michael: “People don't even eat with their fathers anymore, or their mothers ... The family bond has been broken, it's an outcry for attention. Why are kids going to school with guns? They would not ... they want to be touched, they want to be held, but they [the parents] are busy off on their day job and they leave them at home on the computer and they just doing all kinds of crazy stuff. And that's destroying our bond. We need to bond again, that's very important, Martin."

Martin: "Why does it mean so much to you?"

Jackson: "I'm just very sensitive to their pain and I am very sensitive to the family, the human condition, you know. On that subject, it means a lot to me and I want to help. Whatever I can to help that you know, it's like I said before and I'll say it a million times, I'm not afraid to say it. If there were no children on this earth, if someone announced all kids were dead, I would jump off the balcony immediately, I'm done, I'm done."

While Michael's music first drew my attention to him (when I was much younger), once I came to learn more about 'the man' behind the music, the more I realised we shared a fair amount in common in relation to our views on humanity and much else. Could it be argued that Michael was rather on the money here? That is to say, that if people expressed love and compassion for their fellow human beings more often, there would a lot less bad in the world? I think he was on to something, maybe like me - naively. Humans will always be prone to irrational fears after all, which can rule our actions if not kept an eye on. Fear is the root of all evil, they say. Also, a little green dude much smarter than I once famously uttered, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

What will we truly treasure when we are lying on our death beds? The Rolls we (maybe) bought? The beach house in Miami? It seems to me that at that moment the things that will really matter will not be 'things', they will be people, and ultimately (I'm sorry to be cliché): Love. I don't necessarily mean romantic love, although there is that too, but a whole myriad of love and the forms it can take. Our lovers/partners, yes, but also our family and friends. The people that have not only been by our sides during our highs, but also through our resounding soul-crushing lows. I put it to you, that these are the people that truly matter. People who have appreciated our worth and have been loyal to us. Unfortunately, some times it can take something very terrible to happen for us to realise that we may have taken for granted someone important in our lives. As an example, this happened to me when my Mum was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2001. Quite often we are so preoccupied with chasing the people that don't appreciate nor value us, that we some times take for granted the ones that do.

“Little things used to mean so much to Shelly. I used to think they were kind of . . . trivial. Believe me, nothing is trivial."

There is a quote from an ad-libbed scene from one of my favourite comic book movie adaptations, The Crow, that seems to tie-in well with everything I have mentioned here. The character Eric Draven, whom has been brought back from the dead to avenge the brutal rape and murder of his fiancée, Shelly (and himself), is speaking to the police officer who has been tasked with investigating their murders. He had this to say of his late fiancée:
“Little things used to mean so much to Shelly. I used to think they were kind of . . . trivial. Believe me, nothing is trivial.”
That quote cements for me what a smart man Brandon Lee clearly was. Often I think we become so embroiled in our own lives and yes, maybe in our selfishness, that we forget what the seemingly trivial 'little' things can mean to someone else. For example, just taking a moment out of our days to send a quick text to a friend to say “Hey, how are you doing today?” seems pretty trivial, right? How much of a positive impact could something as small as that have on someone? I can only really speak for myself here with any degree of certainty, but I can say this; it means A LOT to me. Why? Because it shows you care enough about me to remember me, and to take the time out of your day to ask me how I am. Little gestures like that can make my day, and I'd hazard a guess I'm not alone with that.

So as Michael was always saying, it's all about the L.O.V.E. So, I'll leave you with some friendly advice, from someone who cares (that would be me):
  • Try not take for granted the people that make an effort to be part of our lives
  • Spend less time chasing the people who don't make an effort
  • Show a little more compassion and understanding for your fellow man
  • Be kind - To others and to yourselves