Knowing that “we’re doing our best at any given moment”- and yet we want to do better. We want to be better, to be perfect, basically. At the same time, we are afraid of perfection- because once you achieve it for a minute, or a day, or a month, you begin holding yourself to an immaculate standard all the time.
Why not relax?
Why not praise ourselves for good choices, and forgive mistakes?
This relaxed, flexible, confident approach to progress is the only approach that leads to actual progress. The other approach leads to shame… and to more failure.
After I began cutting myself some slack- as I would others- I became happier. I began achieving my goals.
Either you go on living here, to which custom has sufficiently seasoned you by now; or you remove elsewhere, which you do of your own free election; or you die, which means that your service is at an end. Other choice there can be none; so put a good face on it.
1) Their facebook-loving, no-child-left-behind, everyone-is-included, attitude towards their peers. Even towards strangers. I’ve never been around a community in which nearly every person in that community is eager to welcome you into his/her social circle; few people are looking for power or looking to stand out among the crowd- especially at the expense of others feeling uncomfortable or alone.
2) How they cook their street food: immediately, outside, on the spot, right in front of you so you can watch how they make it from scratch. All fruits and vegetables are fresh and bought day-of to sell. All meat is bought that same morning- and animals are even killed that same morning, right in front of everyone.
3) Their night-life… I mean, bars/ clubs don’t close till 5, 6 a.m. You could say I fully exercised my new rights.
4) How easy-going and laid back their culture is. No one appears to give a fuck really. Noted, this is in Tainan, which is populated by 99.9% locals. But everyone seems to be accepting of a lifestyle that consists of chilling, managing the store, doing some Tai Chi.
I believe this largely contributes to the fact that I see 80, 90 year old people on their mopeds, walking the streets, still going strong. I saw so many elderly people that I felt sad comparing this reality to the reality in the U.S.
5) How cheap their food is. On average I paid $1-3$ for every meal bought on the street. And I’m talking good-sized, I’m too full to eat anymore, meals. Living in Taiwan felt like my mom was cooking on every street corner, and I could just go up, pay $1 cause she loves me, and she’ll provide me with a home-cooked, yummy dish- except in this case, I had no idea what I was eating half the time.
Still tasted amazing.
6) Dumplings. I think I would go back just for the Dumplings…sad but true.
By learning to teach, I not only discover potential- I create it. I find the opportunity to progress. Now I know that I’m capable of unearthing parts of me that are currently hidden. Now I know that success has nothing to do with talent, and it has everything to do with hard work. I want to improve. I want to reach out to people in the most effective, loving way that I can. I want to lead. And I’ll accomplish this by following- by learning from others. I want to give all of myself.
I have never felt more joy than in this moment, when I feel my viewpoint is no longer focused on myself but on others. If I am thinking of myself, I am contemplating how I can better myself so that I might be able to give more to others. I have never cared more about other people- not truly- until these last few weeks.Until now, I don’t think I knew how to.
This may bring shame to the perspective I used to have. I feel exposed and slightly embarrassed. But that’s the truth; I never knew how to invest myself in another person without expecting self-centered pleasure in return- without being in want of attention or affection. I never thought I’d perform a task for any other reason. I’m ashamed to say this. However, I finally feel ready to admit it to myself and to others. I hated myself for functioning in this way. Sometimes I still do.
I’m glad I’ve found a part of me that I can admire again. I’m relieved to discover a part of of me I never knew had potential- the part of me that can love others selflessly and honestly.
Teaching is something my 15-year-old self would have never considered as part as her future. My heart would pump out of my chest, my face would turn red, and I would sweat profusely every time I had to speak in front of others. If someone even looked at me for more than a second, my embarrassment was apparent to everyone. It is weird to think that that person was me…I no longer identify with any of those feelings. And yet, when I was feeling them, I thought I would be bullied by fits of embarrassment forever. A few years ago, I stopped feeling this way for the most part. After teaching for just three weeks, I don’t ever feel this way.
I thrive in silliness, in drawing attention to myself- so that other people might feel liberated enough to do the same. So that other people might stop looking at themselves, and begin observing the situation from above. . . so that others might begin to love themselves as I have begun to love myself.