I saw an article on Brain Pickings today that really struck a chord in me. It has nothing to do with Panama, except I hope as expats and ambassadors from our home countries we all come here with a mind that is positive, happy, and uplifting for those around us.
The article is “On the Soul-Sustaining Necessity of Resisting Self-Comparison and Fighting Cynicism: A Commencement Address” by Maria Popova. She is a writer, blogger, critic, and the creator of Brain Pickings, and also a cyclist. This was her commencement address to the Annenberg School for Communication.
She says that we must resist comparing ourselves to others. There are opportunities to compare everywhere – income, looks, intelligence, job, family, etc etc. We often find ourselves not measuring up and feeling like there is always something more to be had, something out of reach. This wears you down until a state of resignation sets in. It also robs you of your own experience, your own life, makes you feel hopeless and cynical. This is not a happy or productive way to live. Others can’t tell you who you are or what you are worth.
You can choose to be destructive or constructive, to lower people down or lift them up. In building and lifting up others, you also lift up yourself. Do not buy into the culture that rewards tearing down. Don’t take the easy road. Do what it takes to build, to give hope, and follow your own vision.
Read the article. I can’t say it nearly as well as she does.
One side thought also spoke to me, especially after my experience in the USA and after encountering so many homeless there –
“I came to Penn straight from Bulgaria, through that same confluence of chance and choice (and, yes, a lot of very, very hard work — I don’t want to minimize the importance of that, but I also don’t want to imply that people who end up on the underprivileged end of life haven’t worked hard enough, because this is one of our most oppressive cultural myth and reality is so much more complex).”
Don’t worry, I’ll also talk about Panama here but sometimes something grabs me and I have to go off on a tangent. There is life in Panama, and then life in general and being a sentient human being, and it’s all part of my existence.