Are you an innie or an outie? No, this post is not about belly button styles. Rather a perspective on if you are inward or outward focused…I find I can be both. At 6:00am in Phuket, I was jolted awake by a perspective about people and if they are inward or outward focused. Here in Hong Kong and Phuket, I have seen many people and it adds to the people I have seen at home and where ever I travel. It is not about right or wrong but who we are. I see so many people inward focused and treating people badly. I have seen others openly embrace and enjoy the company of people and are outward focused. Inward focused on personal satisfaction and outward focused on sharing. Where is the balance?
There are two examples I give you from Phuket. I saw a foreigner go into a restaurant and see the wait staff and say hello with a huge smile and hug them. It brought a smile to the wait staff and my face. Then, I see others who walk along and mimic or make fun of the street vendors who are trying to earn a meager living. I have personally experienced my own perspective when I went for my daily leg massage (inward) and I always pay a healthy tip. The girl who eases the discomfort and relaxes the tired/achy muscles was telling me how she works 6 days a week from 10:00am to midnight and that on her day off she was going to the temple and then orphanage. Before people start chiming in that it is a ploy and she is tugging on my heart strings, you were not there and she was genuine. Her village is an 18 hour bus ride away and she sees her family once a year…but people never ask her about her life. I could sense the challenges in her quiet demeanor when she was sharing her life with me. I gave her money for her family and orphanage (outward). Now, if she is lying, the only one she hurts is her. If she is telling the truth, then it eases a bit of the discomfort temporarily. I am not a proponent of creating a dependency; however, I find it difficult to just be a bystander. I am not extremely wealthy by any means but the impact to me is far less than the impact to her.
I think my perspective comes from my upbringing. Growing up, our family was not wealthy and I think at times I resented the fact that my friends could wear name brand products to school like Adidas and I had to wear a cheaper knock off. I still remember a time that I was so excited the time when I got a new pair of Nike court shoes (on sale of course) and did not want to wear them for getting them dirty. I was naive to the fact that you have to live within your means. It was later on in years that it made sense. If someone works hard and wants to treat themselves, that is totally fine and I encourage that; however, what is not fine is when you flaunt it or the only one who matters is you. At times I am inward focused and do appreciate the things I can purchase, but I never lose sight of being outward and treating people with respect and dignity. There is a good balance to be had here. Being an innie and an outie can be achieved. Appreciation inward for self and outward for people…a strong inner presence creates a strong outer presence.
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