Poetic healing

Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments
Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove…

I can’t help but sigh with admiration every time I read Shakespeare. We know so little about his private life, but if his works are anything to go by then he was surely a genius. He wrote to entertain, not to teach. He wrote plays and poems, not essays. But his works ooze with knowledge tempered by literary style, knowledge about human nature and metaphysics. But how did Shakespeare gain this knowledge, which is unparalleled by any other writer? Perhaps he was just an extremely perceptive person who understood reality very deeply and could express his understandings very well.

Sometimes I wonder why we study literature. If we only wanted to improve our ability to write and read then we wouldn’t spend so much time on critical theories. Some people think it’s a waste of time to analyse texts. But if we can learn from each other’s experiences at all, then literature is the best way of doing that, because our memories, inspirations and imaginings can be recorded and communicated across time, distance and culture through the medium of language. And then someone might be touched, inspired and enlightened by our thoughts. So, I think the skill we learn from literature is the ability to understand ourselves and others.

Gaining perspective

How do you know that the way you see the world is accurate? How can you be sure that what you see, feel and think is how things actually are? This is a question that paranoid people often ask themselves. They need to be sure that what they see is accurate, and to confirm this they often end up asking their friends and family dozens of questions in order to make sure that the way they think is valid (validated by the way others see things). I know this because I went through a phase of brief but unrelenting paranoia.

The fact is, you just DON’T know if what you see is real, because every avenue through which you understand the world is subjective. It is based on individual perception, past experience, context and opinion. Asking others only tells you the most common perception. For instance, ‘Is the sky blue?’ On a clear day, most people would say that it is. But others would think more critically and say that it is more gray. It’s really about perception.

So, when we feel uncertain about the world, there’s no use running to another person for answers. They will just give us their own opinions. We need to have faith in our way of seeing the world. This means we need to believe the best about ourselves. If there is a question like, ‘Do I look good?’ or ‘Did I say the right thing?’, we need to have faith in our selves. Seeking reassurance from another person shows that we don’t trust our own view of reality; we trust another person’s perspective more than our own – this way, we lose perspective because we give it away to someone else. Our perspective is our prerogative. Why have we been given five senses and a brain? Rely on your own perception whilst respecting the views of others. It’s the only way to become self-reliant, self-accepting and emotionally strong.

Have an empowering day!