Well, the ChELB is abuzz with positiveness, and I feel like a dick for not adding to it. It's no secret that a lot of my conversations (online and off) are rather negative to this, my host country. After reading two excellent posts (Positive Solutions' "10 Reasons Why Living In China Is Great" and The People's Republic off…'s "Keeping Things In (Cultural) Perspective") it got me thinking about why exactly it's so easy to be critical of China.
Oddly, the answer (for me) lies in my ex-girlfriends. Well, not 'in' them exactly… but in the problem with me that caused a few of the better ones to tack (weld) that "ex" on there. The thing is, I'm critical by nature. Not critical in a negative sense, but critical as in discerning. I think we live in a world where this is a benefit, as daily we have to sort through the chaff to get to the reality that surrounds us.
This criticalness developed, in me, a quirk of looking not at a thing for what it is, but at what it could be. Perhaps we can dig deeper and find that its all an ego trip for what it could become 'with my help'… and that's possible, and if so… man am I sorry, as it's not how I'd like to think. Often I find that I'm not actually at the wheel here in my mush. Back to my point.
Things lie. What they 'are' is not often what they 'really are'. This is true to most things. True to people and certainly true on a wider scale to things created by people (namely, China, or any country). Seeing through this and attempting to see what it/he/she could be gives me a sense of clarity. A false sense that I've got a grip on what's happening around me.
However, in the end this criticalness causes me to put my expectations of that potential onto someone or something that never asked to have it, and really has no need to feel like because I've claimed it's their potential, that it actually is. I mean, who the hell am I? That right there is where I usually go astray. If I just left it, if I just said, "fair enough. I've said my piece, I can now appreciate you/love you just for who you are/claim to be." Then life would be daisies. But I think I'm right. Whether I am or not is of little consequence. My mind tells me (using all the facilities at its disposal) that I am in fact right. And if I could just convince it, them, others of this… well, then they'd see the light (and we get back to that ego thing) and live in a better world (or apartment).
Fortunately when it comes to relationships, this has changed. It took a couple horrible breakups and a lot of introspective use of a wine bottle, but I sorted out that this was absolutely 100% my problem and if I was ever to have a successful relationship I was going to have to love, truly love, the person not for what they could be (in my eyes) but for what they are. Though there are still slips, as this criticalness is deep-rooted and is not a switch I can just turn off, largely I think this change is why I'm getting married this February and not sitting alone wondering where it all went wrong. To give Maggie credit, she is incredibly patient when I do slip, which has proven to be quite the buffer between something ill-said and telling a glass of baijiu of its 'potential'.
It amazes me that only now am I realizing that this very same principle needs to be applied to China if I'm going to continue to call it home. Sure, I'm kinda forced to live here at the moment, but if I could leave tomorrow I would probably find an excuse not to. So, it stands to reason, that once again I need to broaden my ability to accept the things I don't necessarily like or feel should change, and learn to love it for what it is. Really, I need to recognize that no amount of being critical is going to bring clarity for me or anyone else when it comes to China and accept that that is just fine.