It has taken a long time for me to stop and realize that the world is not populated with people just like myself. ---REALITY CHECK --Really, this has been an epiphany (believe it or not) that has struck me unexpectedly.
However, don’t blame me completely; people get carried away with school, work, paying bills and other obligations that even those 20 minute pensive showers aren't sufficient for deep thinking and self-actualization. For 20 years, I have looked at the world through my perspective and my perspective only, not realizing that “hey…. not everyone has your habits, your reactions to things and your ability to express yourself about what bothers you, what makes you happy and what angers you.” Not everyone is like you Mina - deal with it!
You know how they say if you’re a liar, you think everyone is lying to you or if you’re a cheater, you think everyone is cheating you. Similarly, this entire time I thought people could tell me how they felt the same way my thoughts became effortless speech. I grew up in a household where if something needed to be said or done, it was either said or done. If not, it was expressed and eventually someone got to it. And since all the members of my family simply mirrored my own personality into an infinite oblivion like a four-walled fitting room - I simply thought everyone is like me too!
And I’m not saying that overtly expressing yourself is necessarily a good thing because there were times where my speedy thoughts became speedy words and I couldn’t go back and change them, which put me into lots and lots of trouble (ouch). I had this homogenizing vision that the world was filled with people with brains and mouths, which makes them capable of speaking and expressing themselves! Hah! So much for rationality!
However, what does this single-minded belief bring? A myriad of expectations! I always expected that people could simply tell me what was wrong and we’d all live happily ever after. WRONG. These expectations resulted in me virtually pulling my hair out as a sign of frustration with people I was dealing with because they wouldn’t or couldn’t verbalize the fact I was annoying them, getting on their nerves…. or on the contrary, doing something good, surprising and thoughtful!
And once again, I can go on and on about the important things that we’ve NOT learnt in school. Yes, we got our sciences and multiplications right, but that’s not life, and life is harder than math and science. We were dictated notes about botany, the stratosphere, the Pythagorean Theorem but never were we taught about our differences! Only now I can look back at all the 30 students I grew up with (all in one class, same teacher) and we've all become different people – in our hobbies, academics, lifestyles….and yes… the way we express ourselves!
Therefore, I am able to say that I have finally learned (maybe through a hard way) and I will vow to socialize and immerse myself within my community with this understanding that I am not interacting with a clone of myself (who would want to deal with another Mina?) It has taken a lot of reflection on my side to understand that people express themselves differently, people love differently, and even our most conventional methods of doing things, is done 180 degrees differently by other people. The more I meet people, the more I embark on a journey of self-learning and self-realization, a journey of understanding beautiful qualities in people that I personally lack, and perhaps I am envious of (for example: people that are super calm and collected – I don’t know how you do it, teach me your ways). All I know is that diversity is beautiful and it is our unique quirky qualities that make us who we are. So understand that people’s mechanisms work differently than yours, and this realization will allow people (like me) to appreciate the differences and learn from them.
Thank you for reading this post and being a part of my story.
- Mina Mohit
Mina is a multimedia journalist currently based in London, U.K.
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