Symbolism

Often we might do something good (or bad) and don’t really think of the ramifications of the act. But trust me, everything you do affects someone else in some way; always adds up to the bigger picture. Let me explain:

Alright, so you make a comment about someone’s appearance. No harm intended, right? Just a joke. Granted, the person on the receiving might take it as a joke and then you’ve got nothing to worry about, your friendship might even be strengthened. If they take it in a bad way (you say, ‘oh you’re looking a bit tired today!’) and maybe they think ‘am I looking jaded, why is that? I don’t feel tired, so I just look bad?’ Okay, that might be an extreme case but you see what I mean. Anything has consequences. But I’m not here to talk about jokes, I’m trying to look at the bigger picture. 

The other day I was in Tesco’s on the self-service machines, and the machine gave me 10p too much change by mistake. So I told the store assistant and they kind of seemed surprised, but I gave it back to them. You might be saying:

“It’s 10p, who cares?”

It’s true. Tesco can afford to lose many 10 pence pieces and not even break a sweat, but that’s not what I’m thinking about. What’s important is the symbol. You see I could have taken that 10p and no-one would have known about it, but I’m not gonna do that. I’m going to show those workers that there’s someone out there who won’t steal. See what I mean yet? If by doing that, I’ve proven to them that the world is a slightly better and more virtuous place, then it’s more than worth it. 

You still might be thinking ‘big deal’, but every day is filled with these opportunities, chances for us to be the best we can be, and inspire others to do the same. Every time I see a charity volunteer in the street with a bucket (or something) I try to give a little something; it’s great that it helps the charity but I also want the secondary effect of the worker to feel good about things, like their faith has been rewarded.

 

I’m not saying that what I did deserves credit, far from it. It was an easy thing to do, and i hope that most people would give that 10p back. I just wanted to get across how important these seemingly small moments can be – always think of the example that you’re setting for others, with everything you do. There’s no way we’ll get it right all of the time but the world will be better for it if we try 🙂

 

“It’s the choices that make us who we are, and we can always choose to do what’s right.”

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Friendship

This may sound kind of strange considering the nature of the film but when I was ten years old, my brother introduced me to ‘American Pie’ for the first time. You may not have seen it, but if you have then you’ll know that it’s mainly about 4 guys who want to ‘get laid’ on Prom night; only it’s not that, it’s so much more. Let me explain.

When I was growing up (before and after 10, and to be honest right until I was about 19) I never had many friends. Don’t get me wrong, I always had friends to hang out with but I was never really invited to birthday parties; don’t get me wrong I was never bullied, just not really noticed until I grew up and came out of my shell a bit. But that’s nothing new, right? I mean there are millions of young people who go through that. It’s up to you to react in a positive way. But yeah, as a sort of preface to this story, when I was 10 I already felt a bit lonely. 

So I sat and watched American Pie. Here were four guys who never seemed to have things go completely their way, but they always had each other. There are loads of rude and funny bits throughout the film but I was just fascinated by the level of friendship and commitment to each other; that sense of belonging. It’s summed up when they meet up at ‘Dog Years’ (a hot dog place) afterwards and toast ‘the next step’. Back then I was fascinated by it but I probably didn’t understand why. When I see it today, I still always feel like crying tears of inspiration; seeing something that great is just overwhelming. 

These days I have several good friends, and I’m lucky enough to have a few best friends too. I spoke about under-valuing myself last time, and to be honest sometimes that does happen, even when I’m with my friends. What I mean is that I sometimes worry that I’m not giving enough back to keep them happy, that maybe I’m not interesting enough. But you know there’s something about friendship, an underlying principle that means everyone’s on the same playing field. It may sound of corny but it’s your core that attracts people to you – it doesn’t matter how you look, or appear – your special individual traits shine through and although some people won’t click together, there’s always an opportunity for friendship to blossom.

I’ve been helping my friends with dissertations recently because I’m the only one in my class who seems to like writing! Needless to say my friends were very grateful for this, but one amazing friend of mine thanked me with home-made cupcakes! She said she wanted to thank me for the time I spent helping her and I said that I wanted her to know that I didn’t help her because I wanted a reward, I just wanted her to be okay, you know?

“We’re a team now. If you win, I win. If I win, you win!”

(thought it was an appropriate quote as it’s something she said to me once 🙂 )

This kind of encapsulates everything I’m talking about. A) For a friend to really appreciate what I did and go out of her way to thank me was incredible, but B) for the friendship to be more important than any gift ( although, those cupcakes were terrific)! Sometimes when something like that happens, I don’t feel exactly as I feel I should, like it’s someone else’s moment and I’m stealing it. But then I’m in the moment, right there and I to say to myself ‘someone went out of their way to be nice to me, because they like, and they trust me.’ That’s a wonderful feeling, because there were times when I was younger when I didn’t think I’d ever have it. 

I guess then a thank you is in order, to everyone who has ever stopped and noticed me, wanted to spend time with me. I remember being sat in my art lesson at 15 and wondering if I’d ever be someone who would be appreciated. Turns out, I am 🙂

If you feel alone, or in some way similar to how I did then don’t give up. Whatever you may believe, there will only ever be one ‘you’, and there are great people out there waiting for you. You’ll get there, just trust in yourself.

Feel like it’s appropriate to end this with a quote from American Pie. This is a romantic quote in the context of the film, but it’s a great way to sum up how I see my friends.

“What I realised is that with you, it’s not like I’m running towards the goal, looking for the best way to score. And this may seem a little corny, but…I feel like I’ve already won.”

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Until next time guys.

Sean 

 

 

Appreciation

I think that it’s easy too appreciate many things in this life; from that smile from the girl you like to the sound of the rain slamming against your roof. I often also find it very easy to appreciate the things that other people do. You know if someone offers me help, or asks how I am then that’s great, I really appreciate that they’d take the time to do that.

What I really struggle with though, is self-appreciation. I won’t go into the reasons behind it (I’m not fully sure that I actually know them myself) but I wanted to talk about it in an attempt to hopefully help others with the same problems, or if I can’t help, at least you know someone else is going through it, you know? Kinda cathartic.

I believe that all life is precious, and I try to treat everyone I meet with that philosophy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not friends with everyone but what I’m saying is that I’m not horrible to anyone, I’d never criticise someone for no reason (and even if I did criticise them, it would be for a major reason, like they’d intentionally done something wrong).

This may sound weird, but I see everyone else as great; and if they’re not great now then someday they will be great. Remember what I said last time about seeing the best in everything? Turns out it might be a double-edged sword, ’cause seeing every other person as great gives me a heck of a lot to live up to. That’s what I think it is, anyway. To explain it, if I see another person helping someone, I’ll be like ‘Great! That’s amazing!’ If I help someone, I’ll feel good but not majorly so, because I’m just reaching the level of everyone else, I’m not going ‘above and beyond’ if that makes sense. 

Now I know there are bad people out there, I know that not everyone offers help at every opportunity, but it’s difficult to explain really..I can’t feel like that. One one hand it’s wonderful to see the world as I do, you know infinite possibilities. On the other it’s extremely difficult because every other person is ‘better’ than you. I don’t know what everyone does in their everyday lives but I assume that what’s happening there is amazing. In reality that probably isn’t the case but the only true reality I know is my own, and I’m not doing good things all the time, in fact I’m not doing them most of the time, despite my best efforts Uni work takes over from voluntary projects and occupies my thoughts, as well as the trials and tribulations of everyday life. 

But you know what? I won’t give this mindset up, it’s who I am. Even if it means not thinking of myself on the same level as others, I’ll happily accept that if it means continuing to see the best in people. After all, if I don’t how can I expect anyone else to?

Your reasons for a lack of self-appreciation may be completely different to my own, but you probably feel some of the things that I’ve spoken about. What I can say for sure (even if it’s hard to feel) is that we#re all equal, and if we persevere and help each other, we’ll become someone who is completely comfortable in his/her own skin 🙂 Never give up, you’ll get there (Y)

“When we give up the chase, we give up our wishing.”