The way of the world
Why do we care so much about what others think about us? Have you ever thought this? I constantly wonder why I really care about the reflection of other peoples opinions on our persona. In all reality it does not matter all that much at all. This whole process came up in the context of personal challenge and the initiative that it really takes to learn something … anything entirely new. I suppose this is incredibly applicable to my situation… I am in Mexico. This is a people, a language, a climate, a location A CULTURE that I have never in my life experienced in this depth. My challenge is to learn and interpret, to relate this culture to my own, and most of all – I would like to find the connections that illuminate the existence of humanity as one race… one people. I know theatrical right? It really is hard to describe what I am trying to do here – or anywhere that I go for that matter. My best descriptor starts with this – I am on a road that will never end, we live for only a relatively short time and in that time we do many things. However, the one activity that we are forever linked to is learning. I have set out to find the relationships between the “races” (for we are all human) all over the world. I do this as a person – not just a nurse or a professional. This is because I am curious and ready to see what exists in the world as a whole. I feel bad about this, and I feel obligated to explain that although I may sound arrogant I promise that I am not trying to be. I get really excited, especially about connections between people, common interests, any thing that could tie myself to you. The best part of this is finding someone who has realized a goal of their own.
I constantly encounter the other side of this – the fact that many people are judgmental and tied to the physical and theological differences between individuals. Think of a world without discrimination- can you fathom that sort of environment? But really, you cannot let people get you down… the world is the world and people will be people. There will always be people who do not agree with you, nor do they like you no matter how hard you try to appease them. Here’s an idea for you, someone once told me – it takes a lot to realize the difference between appeasing and loving – because there is a LARGE difference. How can we strive to become a better individual in a world that so very much emphasizes the gains of physical wealth and individual advancement? I am even a hypocrite in saying this, not a single one of us is innocent in the want to be better, to do more, and to impress the elder or more experienced among us. In a frightening way, it is how we are conditioned – and it is how we are taught to survive in the world. In any case, I wander. I wanted to mention the fact that no matter how you dislike or disagree with someone, they too have their own individual contribution to the world and all that exists within it. Also, even as you may not like the individual you may also dislike their ideas (in most cases more so). So what does it take to get past this animosity of existence?
My first answer to this sort of question would be that I have no idea. However, this inability to grasp a universal answer points to the general nature of the discussion at hand. There is no one answer for everyone. Plainly put, to each their own way. To find that way I suggest this – “You must unlearn what you have learned” (Yoda for those of you who did not pick up on that). This does not directly refer to the information that we have experienced throughout the duration of our lives, it refers to our individual perception of that knowledge, the environment, and the existence of all things. This idea was brought to my attention by a friend who will be graduating (finally 😉 ) in the next few days. He wrote his valedictory speech based on his intercambio in the country of Bolivia. For those of you who will be there to see this – you are lucky. Regardless, he talks about the ideas that go through all of our minds whenever we encounter another environment – “this is different from my home”. He talked about how a friend helped him realize that no, there is no difference in this world – there is a difference in your perception of this world. Some people may argue that I am saying that the only way to understand a culture is to change everything about yourself. In some ways, this is what I am saying. In reality you must change the way you think to appreciate and understand that which you are experiencing. I can’t say enough how very difficult this is. I mean Im not sure that I am there myself nor if I ever will be. The point is that you try. Not in a stupid or offensive way, but you really try. The people will know, and although they will recognize you as foreign, most will notice your willingness to learn and become a part of their culture. Most people tell me that travel changes you forever, and I thought this cliche for the longest time. But even two weeks out from exit, I feel the ties that I have made to this culture, and the fact that no my perception of people will not be the same – it doesnt have to be the same. Humans weren’t mean to be the same – thats why we have the word “individual”.
Before I leave for another week or so – I wanted to give you this quote from that same good friend who will be taking that next step.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
with everything that I feel