Strong words went around the world along with the cinema’s fame – Meryl Streep, who expressed her attitude to her own age and political situation in the USA. Social media acted like a nuclear bomb and the quote became famous instantly, because the load was controversial and important. The author of the words, however, meant not so much aging, but setting limits to advise us rejecting unwanted behaviors towards us. Here, we converse with the author of books, lecturer and trainer of self-development from Portugal José Micard Teixeira.
Text: José Micard Teixeira
Interview by: Żaneta Geltz
Photographer: Daniel Mendonça
Some people may say he is harsh and selfish. Some others agree with his worldwide famous words about hypocrisy, manipulation and abou people assessing other people. Can we find our own way to solve the challenge of finishing relationships which we find toxic?
Żaneta Geltz: Many people are afraid of being selfish or really become true „self”. Do you agree that it results from a social pressure?
José Micard Teixeira: We all grow up with the religious and social idea that we should always help others first and thinking about ourselves first means selfishness. The truth is that if we help others without helping ourselves at the same time, we will be in exertion, and with exertion nothing comes out right. We can only give what we are, therefore, everything must start with ourselves. If I don’t respect myself, I won’t know how to respect others. If I don’t love myself, I won’t be able to love others. The principle is valid for everything in our life. So, before I give something to others, I should start by giving to myself and then have the possibility to offer to others who I am. The magic of life also begins in the selfishness that, in the end, shows itself not as selfishness, but as respect for ourselves.
Ż.G.: You underline the issue of patience. Isn’t that something that harmonized people should be patient to …even enemies? You have the opposite opinion. Can you explain why lack of patience is good for you and for us?
J.M.T.: What I notice is that we’re asked too many times to be patient with almost everything. We’re tired of being patient. To me, patience is often a way of giving to other people the power over our own life. Patience is often excessive tolerance and submission. It seems as if patience is the formula to not bother other people and have a little bit of peace. I don’t think like that. Patience is the antithesis of rebellion. Rebellion is nothing more than wanting what sets me free.Therefore, if I don’t feel free, I should stop bearing what they ask me to patiently bear, bearing the unbearable, tolerating the intolerable, living what I don’t want to live anymore. Patience stops us several times from living what we should be living.
Ż.G.: Is it possible that people are all wrong trying to live seriously and be correct along the life?
J.M.T.: Seriousness is typical for those who are miserable or scared. The craziness I defend, is the one to have the audacity to live lightly, responsibly and joyfully. We came here to have fun, not to suffer. Suffering exists, but it exists for as long, as we understand it and learn the lesson that will lead us to happiness. Happiness is the attitude of someone who doesn’t take life too seriously, who lives it by always seeing its bright side. My craziness is a synonym of intensity, truth, courage and boldness, passion and not wanting other people’s approval. Craziness is my oxygen.
Craziness is my oxygen.
Ż.G.: It happens that we have friends or close relatives and we try to get them on the „right path” to make them happy, but they seem to disobey and we think that they hurt themselves. How to open one’s eyes to stop him from making someone happy?
J.M.T.: You can never change anyone unless they want to. Change can’t be forced. It happens when the person in question wishes for it to happen. What we should do is be available whenever someone seeks us for help in changing, and all changes must come from what they want for their own life. Everything we want to impose on them will only push them away from their path and make them suffer. While that person doesn’t seek us, let us be ourselves. Maybe with our example we can make them decide faster to change. Nothing more.
Ż.G.: And now the other way round: if somebody in our close relations expects us to play their game (no matter if good intention or not so clear game), is it a question of analysis or we should definitely decline being a part of someone else’s play (not to say manipulation)?
J.M.T.: It works the same way. Nobody can have the will to change me or manipulate me to change. Only I should want to change. What happens is I can reach for someone to help me in the process of change. However, change has only meaning if it’s made freely. Whoever I seek to help me can never tell me what I should do, but instead ask me what my heart is asking me to do. This is the great difference between changing and being manipulated into changing. Change is always something very personal. That’s what distinguishes us.
Ż.G.: Many news sites have quoted your famous citation that Meryl Streep has published and declared that lived by. What was before you formulated that thought, as it seems that something or someone got you really fed up with hypocrisy and untrue friendship. Now, it looks like everyone agrees to your conclusion and would like to live by it.
J.M.T.: This text was written on a train ride between Lisbon and Porto and at a time of my life where several disappointments made me realize I no longer needed any of that. I had reached the conclusion that I shouldn’t expect anything from anyone but myself. I realized I only needed my own approval and that everything done in exertion doesn’t work. I understood that people often live of their image instead of their essence.
For all that, I decided that from that moment on, nobody else was going to disrespect me, not even myself. That’s what I believe moves people in this text: the will to be respected and to make others respect you, the need to not be formatted, but free, to not belong to anyone and have your own opinion. The text has proven to be so strong that has been translated to several languages in the World. I appreciate it.
Ż.G.: You are a writer, what would be your „prescription for a happy life”?
J.M.T.: Only one: be yourself, without wanting to please anyone, with no lies, following more and more what your heart is telling you, because that is the path to true freedom. Your own. And without freedom, nothing meaningful will happen in your life.
For once, be crazy. For once, believe that only something crazy can contradict the insanity of not daring to take a risk. Be crazy. Be the turning page. Be bold. Be the one who believes in what already a few people believe. Be for the pleasure of being. Be because by being you can become something. Be yourself. Be crazy person filled with craziness, of wanting to be crazy. and when you’re diagnosed craziness, smile, because you’ve just been something that just a few dare to be. At last, you have become a lucid and transparent being and you’ve realized that others have the medicine, but you have the cure.
José Micard Teixeira
was born in Aveiro, Portugal on December 1, 1961. He graduated from International Relations at the University of Minho in Braga.
He was practicing at the Social Commission for European Communities in Brussels. In 1989, he joined the largest economic group in Portugal, Grupo Sonae, where in 1992 he became the Director General at the age of only 30 years. After 10 years, he realized his dream of supporting people and decided to undertake studies in the field of coaching. After 5 years, in 2007 he wrote his first of five books entitled “Learn to live without fear”.
Currently, as a professional personal development trainer, he lectures and conducts workshops, as well as writes publications about human nature. josemicardteixeira.com
The original interview was published in a Polish Magazine Hipoalergiczni in May 2017, and then in Happy Evolution Magazine # 2019.