It can be tempting at times to want to tell people things, show people things, ultimately for their own benefit – or so we think. Often times though, what's truly beneficial is simply providing a space where someone feels accepted and respected, supported and encouraged.
Within such a space, someone is free to be open, both with you and with themselves. Within such a space, someone is free to explore things, free to acknowledge things – even difficult truths that might be hard to face up to. In short, the person is free to be honest. Within such a space, the person doesn't need to be told or shown anything; instead, they're free to discover things for themselves, when they're ready, in a way that can be empowering and life-changing.
“A thought is an intellectual and vital energy, and it can be either a curse or a blessing, depending on its quality.” Lucy A. Mallory, Writer
Everything begins with a thought. Whether you're building a monument that will be seen by many, or doing a good deed that will be seen by no-one, both acts originate with an initial thought. This is exciting, but it's also sobering, as it forces us to examine the quality of our thoughts.
There's plenty of debate regarding just how much our thoughts influence and shape our circumstances. But there's no debate around the fact that our thoughts do indeed have influence. This is self-evident – thoughts lead to words and actions, which in turn have all sorts of consequences.
"The purpose of your life is not to do as the majority does, but to live according to the inner law which you understand in yourself." Marcus Aurelius, Ancient Roman Emperor, Philosopher
Peer pressure is often described as an issue for young people, as if it's something we grow out of once we reach adulthood. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Consider all the ways that we're judged by, and in relation to, our peers: our education, our profession, our income, where we live, how we dress, how we speak, where we vacation, how often we vacation – the list goes on and on.
It feels great when you connect with like-minded individuals who share your interests and values; when you "find your tribe" to use the latest buzz phrase. On the flip side, it can be highly distressing to be in a situation where you clearly don't fit in, all the moreso if this lack of connection is coupled with even a hint of ridicule or hostility.
"But do you see–and it's this that I so want you to understand–do you see, it mightn't be so bad living on a different planet, it might even be the most interesting thing imaginable, if you had even one person to share it with. One person who could see it with eyes something like your own." From George Orwell's Burmese Days
George Orwell was truly an incredible writer, with a profoundly comprehensive understanding of human behaviour. He revealed the deepest places in the human mind and heart, both the good and the not so good, raw and laid bare. Strengths and weaknesses, motives and manipulations, fears and insecurities, and deep yearnings of the soul – he captured the fullness of the human experience in a way that transcends time and culture.
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