4/1/2008 21:55 EST
In other countries "fitting in" is simply not an issue, and certainly not a neurosis, because the natural inherent sense of interconnectedness in foreign cultures makes everyone "fit in" by default, since there is no cultural/psychological separation in the first place. Since in most other nations there is not such a strong sense of individualism, they do not view themselves as separate from others. Thus, people have more in common with each other and get along much better than those in individualistic countries do. There isnt this Western individualistic ego that battles other egos like in America. Instead, there is a rich sense of belonging, inclusiveness, communal bond, and deep-hearted camaraderie, even in countries that are economically poor. Not surprisingly, many Americans have told me after experiencing this interconnectedness between people and family in other countries, that This is how it should be!
One of the best examples of this is in the Philippines. One of my consultants described how he feels when he goes to the Philippines like this:
One thing you will notice in the Philippines is that you can be yourself and still be treated well and most
people will just accept you as you are and treat you as a human being.
That is called Freedom. The freedom to be yourself.
I am not afraid to go to Casinos there, bars and restaurants and that I will feel out of place or see
cocky people around swaggering or puffing up their chests. All social interactions are smooth and
friendly and you are part of everything. I just walk in and the feeling is nice. You are included in their
groups. They are so different from the Anglos or the CJKs (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans).
And regarding the healthy advanced integrated social life in the Philippines, he also observed:
"The Philippine society puts primary emphasis on family, human relations and the development thereof- which includes sex, friendship, love, etc. Socially, it seems to be one of the most advanced societies on earth. Of course, these developments are not mentioned in the western press which only measures progress in political, technological and financial areas. If it started measuring societies by the healthfulness of social life, the place you are at would win hands down. Cheerz."
In fact, the article at this link below explains why Filipinos in general, though poor, have a pure radiant happiness about them and in their smiles (which I can personally attest to, having been in the Philippines) attributing it to their fundamental view that they are NOT separate from others:
UP Professor Felipe de Leon, after a decade of researching, has concluded that Filipino culture is the most inclusive and open of all those he has studied. It is the opposite of the individualistic culture of the West, with its emphasis on privacy and personal fulfillment. It is also the opposite of certain collectivistic cultures, as one finds them in Confucian societies, that value hierarchy and face.'
"BY CONTRAST", Filipino culture is based on the notion of kapwa, a Tagalog word that roughly translates into "shared being." In essence, it means that most Filipinos, deep down, do not believe that their own existence is separable from that of the people around them. Everything, from pain to a snack or a joke, is there to be shared. "The strongest social urge of the Filipino is to connect, to become one with people", says De Leon. As a result, he believes, there is much less loneliness among them.
One of my readers who has lived in the Philippines also noted:
I've lived in the Philippines for a year. Some of the best people in the world. Poor in material life but SUPER RICH in the heart. Thats where it counts after all.
From my experience in foreign environments, you can sense this interconnectedness I speak of, even without seeing any evidence, from the vibe in the air around you, generated by the collective mentality/attitude of the population.
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