Changing Self in Order to Effect Change in the World
Often in the work of psychotherapy and in the work of individuation, one tends to become too serious. There is so much of life to celebrate even when life is far from being perfect. It never fails to astound me in my travels in the world that the happiest people are often the poorest, those who cherish the simple things likely because the simple things are all they have access to in their lives. But is also the simple things that cause us so much angst.
As I mentioned in my last post, my students are pondering what they can do to improve (change) themselves in order to do their part in making the world a better place. I will present a few of their thoughts here as illustration of thoughts:
Tom: “I think I have so many shortcomings. But the most important thing I should change is to learn how to make decisions. I often make decisions with difficultly and unwisely.”
Wendy: “I hope I will be more out-going. I am too shy when I see strangers and have no words to say. Someone may not know what I am thinking and they may be mistaken about me.”
Shirley: “Sometimes I’m impatient, I want to be more patient. And I am always careless, I want to be careful.”
Yuki: “I want to become optimistic. I have a negative attitude towards my life sometimes. Some days I am sad without reasons, just sad. So, I will try chatting with my friends and learn to have a positive attitude. And, I will plant some flowers so that they can let me be happy.”
And finally, the words of one more student:
Lily: “Only I change myself, I can have a better and different life. May be before long, I can change my family, even my country. Only change myself first, everything could be possible.”
My students are enjoying their lives as university students and know that they are the privileged in Chinese society because of the fact they are university students. They know how to play and sing and laugh and work. They know that there are problems in the world and in China and they know that they have a role to play in their families and in their society to make their world a better place. Hopefully they are wise enough to remember it is about changing themselves, consciously and not about forcing others to change.