“Many people identify their sense of self with the problems they have, or think they have.” (Eckhart Tolle)

Hello, the week has been kind and also sort of terrible. Kind because I managed to stay home for quite a few days thanks to the long Chinese holiday, but also terrible because I did not manage to do enough accounting practices and the quiz was a fiasco. However, as a local exchange student, thankfully I do not have to worry about whether it is an A or a B. It does remind me how I always avoid doing things I don’t like until the very last minute, when it is no longer to put them off, and then realise that I quite like it after all and regret not starting sooner. This applies for accounting, excel skills, reading autobiographies and sleeping earlier in general. My panda eyes need a plastic surgeon.

In the past week, I discovered something I would like to call a skill- the art of seeing other people as wholes. A friend once told me that she doesn’t like it when other people tell her about the person, she would rather find out for herself. I thought it was a good idea because we can sometimes allow the filters and biases of other people to affect us, and it changes who we take into our inner circles. I value first-hand experiences over what other people tell me, and I really don’t like it when people try to influence who I can or cannot be friends with, because it feels like the person is trying to shape my life and limit my freedom. If there be monsters, let me find out on my own.

Another new friend (if I might call him a friend, although I have only known him for a week) told me that he would like to see me as a recruiter. He didn’t explain why, I think it might have been the fact that I unconsciously see the person as a whole. Students who are interviewing for jobs are often nervous and hopeful and awkward, which is not a good combination. But I know that people are not their resumes, they are not to be sliced and diced and put into categories- what they did, what they want to do. I believe that we all have a core called hopes, hobbies, our inner thoughts that we tell no one, and our fears that prevent us from doing all that we want to do.

Perhaps this sounds too spiritual. After all, if it’s all inside you, then what’s the point? My response would be that there is no ‘point’, a human being doesn’t exist to show other people how good or bad he is. He is a whole human on his own. Perhaps I do value humans over my most favourite animal, the dugong. Or the second favourite, the masterful pangolin.

Last night I was trying my best to calm down and sleep- it is hard to sleep when my skin feels like it is on fire. (I think I ate peanuts by accident, sometimes allergy labels on chocolates are not very accurate.) I really should have clipped, filed, and wrapped my nails in cotton balls before I slept.

I was trying to not think about the day, trying to sleep, and thinking about why I am so scared to apply for jobs. And a sentence by Eckhart Tolle and the supersoul Sunday interview with Oprah jumped out at me- I think he said something like your past is just thoughts, and Oprah also said that when she feels guilty about her past, it is because she knew that she could have done better. But she didn’t do it, and that is the source of her guilt.

And I thought to myself, that is exactly how I feel. I feel that I should have done more. All the way from primary 4 to university year 3 semester 1, I should have done more. And because I didn’t do more, I think that people see me as an example of what not to do.

But then I know logically that my friends and my bosses don’t see me that way, because they are all quite nice about whatever it is that I did not do, because they don’t know what is it that I neglected. It is quite literally all in my head. This stream of thoughts that go “oh you don’t want to apply for that job, remember you are not very good at handling stress? Remember all the times you went home early?”

I can see other people as wholes. I see their flaws as attempts to do the best that they can. When they screw up during a presentation in communications class, I see their anxiety as a reflection of wanting to do well but as an audience we are not very good at motivating them. They are not their current situation. But I don’t know how to apply those kinder eyes to myself.