Your country, your culture and the society around you influence you. That is something that I believe we all can agree on. Last week I spoke about how we all have a different perception, also based on our growing-up and surroundings. As we have a lot of people of different countries here at the Ashram, we often notice a different basic attitude among them. And a basic difference of how people deal with problems. I found especially this aspect quite interesting and saw one decisive reason for differences: did you grow up in a rich country and surrounding or surrounded by financial difficulties?
What do you do when a big difficulty comes your way? There are several possibilities: you can panic and freak out, getting afraid about what could happen to you and practically have a nervous breakdown simply due to ‘what could happen’. You can also square your shoulders, keep a calm mind and find your way through and out of the crisis. Some try to hide and avoid the problem completely by pretending it is not there – but this usually doesn’t work at all.
The basic feeling behind your reaction is one of the two: you are afraid or you are not.
And while I have seen both reactions in many different people, I dare say that most people of countries that have more financial security, which are more developed and part of the first world tend to be rather afraid.
The reason behind this is, although it seems bizarre, quite understandable, too! In these countries, most people grew up with quite a few possessions. It is normal for them to be able to go out and buy what they need. They may not be able to afford the fanciest things in the supermarket shelves but generally, most haven’t been in a situation of real need, nor have the people around them. Really, a lot of people have not ever experienced real loss either.
And that’s how there are a whole lot of “What if’s” in people’s minds. In their mind they run from one horror scenario to the next, thinking about the things that could happen and their whole world crashes down.
Most people from countries in which there is poverty, who have seen people around them struggle, don’t get as scared of difficulties. They don’t like them either but they are more easily able to look at them rationally and most often see that it is not a matter of survival. That it doesn’t mean they will starve. There is a higher readiness to struggle and make it through the difficulty. There is a kind of emotional security which makes them steadier.
Let’s be real: most difficulties don’t mean that your life will stop, your world will break down and you will be close to death. So even though your background teaches you to freak out, resist the urge and see that it will all go on. You can make it through this!