It’s funny, when I first stepped on the plane to head to Asia, and to Bhutan, I expected to come back a different person, but I never anticipated having so many perceptions, habits, and ways of thinking being completely torn down and changed.
Over my time here, I’ve met people from almost every level of education, economic class, age, and just place in life. In my time here, I’ve met people from the US who’ve challenged me to truly consider the different little habits I had that were holding me back from being as good of a person that I could be.
These people did this through their amazing levels of kindness, enthusiasm for helping others, and genuine curiosity for meeting others and learning from those in the world around them. Additionally, these people actively challenged me to reach out to people I never thought I’d find myself talking to naturally-the quiet people, and those who operated under the radar purposefully.
How specifically have I changed though?
I think my just general way of thinking has truly changed in that before I thought out of a desperate need for self-preservation. I’ve been through a lot personally, and as such I’m used to things going wrong, having to think for myself, and having to take care of myself. This would be reflected in my way of thinking-I’d be prepared to drop my interactions with people on a dime if I found it to be unhealthy or non-beneficial.
While this way of thinking isn’t necessarily a bad thing in theory, that way of thinking would lead me to make incorrect judgements of others, and as such, I’d miss out on connecting with people who I’d find to be truly worthwhile in the future. Now, I think my level of patience, understanding, and overall sense of caring has truly expanded as a result of my interactions with the Bhutanese Locals-people who’d go out of their way to make you happy, comfortable, and welcome whenever possible.
Additionally, my learning extended beyond just my approach to dealing with people who’ve had a negative impact on me, it reached into my just general mindset as it relates to humans as a whole. I feel like the more I learned about the environment, specifically how people have played the biggest role in it’s destruction, I’ve become an overall more cynical person-I’ve lost faith in the ability of people to inherently lean towards the side of compassion, kindness, understanding, and selflessness.
I feel like the more that I learned, the less faith I had, and the most disappointed I became, sometimes growing more and more in this direction with every passing day. Now, after learning about how the Bhutanese people care for one another, the environment, and by-and-large almost all living things, and seeing how this mindset has been applied to their approaches towards preserving the environment and their surroundings for the sake of not just the things living in those environments, but for each other, I feel like my faith has been renewed.
Maybe, if we can stop being so concerned with losing our current way of living, maybe there’s hope for the preservation of our world? Maybe, if we can realize that what may not affect us will truly affect others in the future, and in realizing this, we try to work together to preserve what we have left, because time is running out.
Maybe, if the government could realize that educating and engaging with the stakeholders of their decisions, we could live in a society where people realize the gravity of their everyday decisions, and actively try to live in a low-impact, sustainable way, out of a realization that doing so is truly the best way to preserve their way of life, then maybe, we have a chance to live in harmony with this incredible planet that we share with such beautiful plant, animal, and human life.
This is my second to last post, and as of right now, I only have 3 full days left here. What happens after is in my control, and I’ll be sure to write one final post on my trip back home, and essentially, to reality. Things in Bhutan definitely aren’t perfect, but this place is definitely the closest I’ve come to experiencing what it means to live in a truly loving, caring, and compassionate from top to bottom society-what an experience. It’s one for which I couldn’t be more grateful, and it’s one that I couldn’t feel luckier to have had.