I was invited to a spiritual workshop today. The theme was about self-compassion. The coach explained that in the 1980s and 1990s, most researches focused on self-esteem, but nowadays, the trend is about self-compassion. Basically, the lesson was about how to love ourselves first before loving others and how to accept the predicament we are in, in order to change. We had a couple of exercises. On the first, we were given a piece of paper to write our harshest judgment; on the second, we were asked to write three things that we appreciate the most about ourselves. At the end, people were asked to read what they wrote if they wanted to.
Hundred percent of the people attending the workshop read their harshest judgment on themselves. Only thirty percent read the three things that they appreciated about themselves and seventy percent, either didn’t want to read their positives, or didn’t find anything positive about them. I was intrigued to see how people chose to focus more on the things that were negative in their lives than those that are positive. I realized how much we have been conditioned to blame ourselves. To think that we are worse than other people, that we don’t deserve anything good, that others are happier than us, that grass is greener on the other side. Then I tried to play the same scenario in my head and projected it onto Africa. If the same scenario had taken place in Africa in general and in Cameroon in particular, we might have had a different result.
The African child is raised to love himself and bring happiness to his family/community. He knows that his community depends on his achievements. He understands the role that he has to play to make his family proud. He is aware that the only way to accomplish big things is to find that inner peace, love and compassion. He is more focused on being happy rather than sad; on appreciating what is positive about him; on living day-to-day rather than worry about tomorrow, which he has no control over; he is raised to be honest, genuine, loyal and truthful. He is convinced that peace and happiness come from his heart and not from outside. Life is to be celebrated, not to be mourned.