In the end

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Ask any person if they consider themselves polite and well mannered and they will undoubtedly tell you that they believe that they are. They will heartily endorse their own virtues and emphatically state that they are infact most definitely polite and courteous. Although there is no doubt that there are those who may be as they say alas it seems to be that, these days at least, those persons are in a definite minority and on a steady decline. 

Even the most unobservant of us cannot fail to be aware when out and about of the general lack of regard for each other as there exists in our modern world. Rarely do people hold doors for each other any more, road courtesy is deplorable and general etiquette  is minimal at best. When reading of the sense of community spirit and general care for each other of bygone eras , it seems hard to equate that with the world we know today.   It seems that people just really do not care for each other any more and lives have declined to the point that most cannot see past their own center of gravity.

Working for a charity as i do means that i regularly deal with the public in large numbers each day and those people with whom i come into contact you would expect to be caring and courteous. There are definitely those kindly souls who really are both things but again sadly in rather smaller than expected numbers. People, i have found, are for the most part rude, aggressive, uncaring and selfish. 

Sadly it has been the experience of myself and many of my colleagues that what may be seen as ignorant disregard or general discourtesy in public is often greatly amplified when on the other end of a telephone. It seems the semi anonymous shield of it leads people to behave with much less regard than the would in a face to face situation. Despite telling myself never to be surprised by the behaviour of those faceless individuals i encounter, i nevertheless have gaped in horror at some of the aggressively rude responses i have received. People, it seems, forget to remember that we are all human too and perhaps in our place they too should be mildly affronted at being spoken to in such a way. Unfortunately they do not put themselves in our shoes  since for the most part i find often people have care and empathy that barely stretches past the length of their own nose. 

 I expect you look horrified right now and stand ready to leap to the moralistic defence of mankind but there is no escaping the truth of the matter.With the exception of a dwindling minority people in general are mostly not very nice at all.

 Sadly as i have passed through life in recent times i have witnessed behaviour towards others as to shock and sadden me deeply although i confess i really am less than surprised. Acts of road rage, abuse and profanity screamed in aggression for nothing much worse than failing to move aside for the aggressor. The fact that this person was not observing the proper rules of the road meant little for he considered himself due deference from anyone he met. Whilst instinct is to retaliate and respond in kind it does little good beyond escalating a situation already out of proportion for the imagined crime. Perhaps it lies to us to break the cycle and turn the other cheek lest we find ourselves guilty of the same.

Doors once held courteously open for whomever was following us are now mostly left to swing closed in the faces of those behind. The elderly struggle with shopping where once a helping hand would have offered to share the load. Snug and dry in their warm safe cars, drivers ignore those sodden souls shivering by the roadside hoping desperately for someone to allow them to cross. Once it would have been the norm to slow for those few seconds to help another but now it seems that arriving at your destination thirty seconds sooner is more important. 

Everywhere you look you cannot help but see the growing self absorbtion that seems to come as standard in this present day existence.  I wonder as i look around, which i do frequently for i am a keen people watcher, if people have just become so disenchanted with life that they forget just HOW to care.  I guess it would be all too easy, on the frequent receiving end of such treatment, to become angry or bitter and vow to behave in exactly the same way yourself. Granted you may feel better for it but ultimately does it really make you feel better to be one of the many? Is it really any harder to say please and thankyou, to hold out a hand to help or just take that few extra seconds to put someone else before yourself? I have and i do and no matter the response from others i shall always try and help if i can. I have to admit it is often rather amusing to see the surprise on the face of the other person since they clearly are not used to courtesy as a norm. 

Still as a sullen voice rudely tells me in no uncertain terms where to get off i sigh and wonder if perhaps it is a change that cannot be undone. Perhaps people only band together in times of great adversity and at others care little for anyone else. Perhaps it is not until you view yourself through the eyes of another that you realise just how much you are guilty of yourself. No it hurts little to put yourself out, to be less selfish and to make a little time where you insist you have none.

Because in the end it doesnt even matter.  Does it?

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Ain’t no mountain high enough

quote-Anil-Kapoor-there-are-hurdles-there-are-handicaps-hardships-21496

Pick up any newspaper, turn on the television news and you cannot fail to see the constant doom and gloom predictions of the current economic climate. As we read daily of hardships and hurdles, of food banks and homelessness you cannot help but see the downturn of life in general for so many. There is surprisingly an odd detachment in society  however, with the true realities of a life of hardship being a most alien concept to those more fortunate and favoured. Perhaps it is true that unless you have had to live a reality then why should it even exist for you and this definitely seems to be the case today. Not for the first time i have witnessed people shocked by the genuine realities of life for the less privileged and the admittance of a total unawareness of such existence. Media it seems has much to answer for in its portrayal of modern human lives.

Personally i cannot deny that things have been somewhat of a downward spiral in some elements of my life and, control freak that i am , i find being hemmed into very tight corners a most unpalatable situation indeed. I have likened the situation very much to running a hurdle race and finding that some imp of fate is gleefully adding extra hurdles only in my lane, leaving me running far behind my fellow competitors. 

I have in the past often imagined my life as like that of a rat in a maze, constantly searching for that one door exit whilst fate peers interestedly at my struggles to succeed. I guess here though is where my quirky sense of humour kicks in and i send up thanks that i am not growing an extra ear upon my back. Yes the life of a lab rat would definitely not be one of my choosing and i am more than a little thankful that i am not so far down the species ladder as to genuinely be of the rodent variety.

Despite normally being of such a positive nature it is very difficult after some time not to allow those glimmers of disillusionment and negativity to creep in. It is easy then to self doubt and wonder perhaps if it is not society at all but yourself that is lacking and failing on an epic scale. Looking in the mirror you cease to smile and focus instead on those imaginary flaws and inflate them to fantastical proportions until they dominate your life. I have to my shame done this and i freely admit it. 

”Stupid ugly cow” i have hissed at myself in the mirror. 

I have never been the type of person to outwardly direct my frustrations and self doubt, instead choosing to direct it inwardly at the person i consider to blame. 

Myself.

Perhaps this is more than a little unfair as most of my obstacles have come as the result of outside influences that i genuinely had litte control over and whilst hindsight is a wonderful thing it would have been very hard to erase any of them as each sprang out of an at the time necessity.  Frustrating in the present though when any present efforts are hampered by the chains of the past. But the whole point of running a race is to get to the finish line and often those most remembered are not the ones who came first in blazing glory but those who fell and yet got back up and finished despite coming far behind everyone else. 

So as another monday rolls around i feel a little lightened and ashamed of myself for my negativity thanks to the words of a friend.

The strongest wood, is from trees that withstand the strongest winds, And steel, has to  go into the hottest fire/furnace to become the strongest steel. And of course a piece of coal, has to undergo the most tremendous pressures, to become a diamond

I am running my own race, i realise this and must keep on running no matter the hurdles. I may not come first but i will never fail as long as i just keep on running. The same friend pointed out to me the following quote and i realised he was right, i knew it all along i just let negativity blinker my goal. 

Behind every fear, is a person, you want to be. You face your fears, you become the person you want to be. You run from your fears, you’re not living

So following a friendly mental slap, armed with new motivation and the offer of help from that friend i am willing to walk out onto the ledge and take a small leap of faith. Not in him but finally in myself.  Perhaps after all it is not for me to judge my own strengths and weakness but someone more impartial and less biased in any direction as i am in myself. I am willing to try at least for i shall never reach my goal if i keep on standing still. Someday you may know my name, someday you may not but whatever the result i shall know i gave it all i had. Obstacles are there for a reason, to climb over but often the biggest obstacle of all is infact yourself.

It is possible, so i have been told, to climb a Panda.

Anything is possible if you only try. 

Rowing a small boat in a big ocean

Crisis, breakdown, issues, problems….

Call them what you will but we all have them at some point in our lives often when we least expect them. We may be merrily ambling along the path of life when suddenly we are knocked off our feet and left down in the dirt trying to find a foothold to get ourselves back upright again. For some of us this may be easy but for others even such a short ascent  may seem like facing the tallest mountain when they know they are no mountaineer.

Ultimately there is just no tried and tested way to deal with all these things, we are all so very different and what may be an effective coping mechanism for one may leave another floundering.Good advice whilst kindly meant may often result in an adverse effect to the one intended, for none of us can say how another may react to any given situation.But does this mean we should not offer for fear of doing the wrong thing? Encountering a rebuff whilst hard to accept is inevitably better than failing to act at all then regretting the fact you did not.

Call me whimsical if you will but i rather like to picture life itself as a small boat on an ocean.

We start our voyage of existence sailing solo but along the way we may invite people to share the journey with us and at various ports along the way we will pick up and drop them off, sometimes just one or sometimes a few. Fate will bring along its share of both calms and storms but struggle begins when you choose to either ask someone to row along with you or whether you choose to weather the onslaught and battle along alone.

After much practise i find i have become rather adept at rowing my boat, rather skillfully weathering the storms and if at times i get a little seasick, well at least i know it will pass. Even so there are times when rowing this boat alone gets a little lonely and then sometimes you wish that you had someone else along to share the ride. This is when i wish i had not put into port so often and cast ashore my shipmates. Hindsight most truly is a wonderful thing.

Perhaps there was something to be said for press ganging after all!

So as we cruise along on our various odysseys perhaps we should all keep an eye for those boats adrift or battling the storm and as we pass by hold out a hand and offer to help row. For when life’s tempest rears its ugly head we should like to hope someone will sail by our side and battle us into calmer seas. 

And since i can profess no claim to being any kind of mariner I know i would.

 

The unhuman nature of human nature

                       Image

One cannot help but notice lately the drastic change in the nature of the people we are, news channels are abound with stories of people needing help who were frequently ignored by those who could so easily have rendered aid. I recall not so long ago watching a report on tv of a small 2 year old girl who having been wandering in a road was hit by a van and left dying in the road. No less than 18 people pass and ignore this small child including a second driver who also runs over this child before driving off. 18 people how inhumane and horrifying is that, think about it and then ask yourself what would you do?

Me? i know what i would do, i purposely trained with St Johns ambulance and would and have happily jumped straight in to help for i had always assumed this is automatically what anyone would do but it is actually horrifying that the reality is most people would not. Presumably this is not helped by the presence of our ‘sue for anything’ culture, indeed during training we were actually told stories of first aiders having been sued by the victims blaming them for injuries they claim were sustained during life saving attempts. That threw me, i really was horrified by that and it made me worry a little about my own impulsive tendency to just jump right on in there.Yet for all that i know i would still do the same for it is not in my nature to deny help when i could so easily give it. 

The mind boggles, does this mean would people prefer to be left to die? For they surely would in many cases were it not for the timely intervention of some well meaning saviour and yet it seems the thought of financial recompense far outweighs any other consideration least of all their own potential mortality. Time was when anyone would extend a hand to help a fellow human being, it was just considered natural and none would ever hesitate to do so. These days people seem so much more self absorbed and that sense of community so lacking that you often wonder what would happen should any harm befall you. 

I guess i had never really taken much notice but thinking back i realise how often people have been surprised when i offered to help, almost as though they were not used to having it offered to them and this makes me sad for it should not be this way. A hand should always be offered if it is needed and we should never have to think twice about doing so. I certainly hope that should i ever be the one needing it then that helping hand would be offered to me and regardless i shall always continue to hold out mine when i can. I am a true believer in it only taking one person to make a difference. Now all we need are a few more to think the same.

Rowing a small boat in a big ocean

Crisis, breakdown, issues, problems….

Call them what you will but we all have them at some point in our lives often when we least expect them. We may be merrily ambling along the path of life when suddenly we are knocked off our feet and left down in the dirt trying to find a foothold to get ourselves back upright again. For some of us this may be easy but for others even such a short ascent  may seem like facing the tallest mountain when they know they are no mountaineer.

Ultimately there is just no tried and tested way to deal with all these things, we are all so very different and what may be an effective coping mechanism for one may leave another floundering.Good advice whilst kindly meant may often result in an adverse effect to the one intended, for none of us can say how another may react to any given situation.But does this mean we should not offer for fear of doing the wrong thing? Encountering a rebuff whilst hard to accept is inevitably better than failing to act at all then regretting the fact you did not.

Call me whimsical if you will but i rather like to picture life itself as a small boat on an ocean.

We start our voyage of existence sailing solo but along the way we may invite people to share the journey with us and at various ports along the way we will pick up and drop them off, sometimes just one or sometimes a few. Fate will bring along its share of both calms and storms but struggle begins when you choose to either ask someone to row along with you or whether you choose to weather the onslaught and battle along alone.

After much practise i find i have become rather adept at rowing my boat, rather skillfully weathering the storms and if at times i get a little seasick, well at least i know it will pass. Even so there are times when rowing this boat alone gets a little lonely and then sometimes you wish that you had someone else along to share the ride. This is when i wish i had not put into port so often and cast ashore my shipmates. Hindsight most truly is a wonderful thing.

Perhaps there was something to be said for press ganging after all!

So as we cruise along on our various odysseys perhaps we should all keep an eye for those boats adrift or battling the storm and as we pass by hold out a hand and offer to help row. For when life’s tempest rears its ugly head we should like to hope someone will sail by our side and battle us into calmer seas. 

And since i can profess no claim to being any kind of mariner I know i would.


For JayJay……keep on rowing my friend xx

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