You were once a young child, just as worthy of care as any other. Can you see yourself as a child? Wouldn’t you wish the best for that little person? The same is true today: you are a human being like any other-and just as deserving of happiness, love, and wisdom.
Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson PH.D.
As I sit at a coffee shop after a morning of meaningful conversations with passengers, I’ve been held hostage by the power outlet that keeps my phone from running out of charge. Likewise, I’m chained next to a high pitched financial sales advisor, who keeps talking about life and with heavy certainty that it extends to old age. Trying to read, but unable to, I decided to write. Luckily, I came across the above quote that inspired this piece.
Back to the sales pitch. She is trying to get a 30 something year old to start saving and investing in life insurance. I ultimately get inspired to question things, especially her deeply engrained certainty of life and I immediately think of the Iranian immigrant, a beautiful girl, who has been in the US for 16 months and is hustling hard to get her profession back. As I drove her to the mall, to work, our conversation became significantly richer and more meaningful than the one I’m overhearing at the coffee shop.
She never thought she would leave a well respected profession, working retail in America and working harder than most people to improve her English and study for four exams to be able to work as a pharmacist here in the U.S. She explained how the immigration process hasn’t been the most painful part of moving here. I told her how I understood, but did I really? In fact, she clarified that the burden of this humongous task and unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel that’s been the hardest transition. She wakes up some mornings and questions herself “what have I done with my life?” She told me that there was a time when people “respected her position and asked her for medical advice and worked with her and under her.” As our communication progressed, I thought about the pride factor that comes into play as individuals who have to do things as temporary gigs to get by, can easily be unmotivated and settle.
But this girl was different. This girl WILL pass these exams with a 94 percentile. Because every evening she reminds herself this phase, too, is temporary. She is kind to herself and compassionate. It is so easy to forget to “be good and our own ally” for our mental well-being. It is usually when we become our own mind’s enemy, we lose focus of what we’ve put our mind to. She wakes up, not wanting to go in front of a cash register, but she is grateful to even have that opportunity now.
She practices patience and removes anger, keeping a smile on her face, to have the energy to study at nights. She can’t ever imagine conversing at a native English speaker’s level, which she realistically doesn’t disillusion herself with this idea. But, she can see herself back at her profession. Her mind is set.
More importantly, she believes that she is deserving of happiness, love and wisdom. She is kind to her “young child self”. We have to be on our own side and not forget to show the same level of kindness to ourselves as we show others.