The following is a guest post by a dear friend:
I am concerned about the state of the world and very concerned about the power of the masses. This comes now from a high stand: I feel there is too much propaganda out there and sometimes I just want to run away from it all. Sometimes I just want to hide in a psychiatric clinic like Oppenheimer in Duerrenmatt’s classic play “The Physics”.
Do I want to be brave and face this world every day even though I feel like hiding? Do I want to stand up for what I believe is right? It almost feels AGAIN that you can only state certain opinions in private, very private settings. It feels like the public opinion is so negative and it is hard to go out there and be open-minded all the time.
My own intercultural experience is mixed. Have I have been too nice, too helpful? Have I let my guard down? Am I broke and without wealth because I have given to the needy? Am I wrong for helping a close friend to get back up on his feet? Was it a mistake to give work to expat spouses, contacts and acquaintances because I knew they were struggling?
In my dark hours, I take in the view of others who feel that I had been too accommodating, too supportive or given too much. If I look at it strictly from a Christian mindset: I cannot give too much. If I look at it from a Muslim mindset: I cannot give too much. If I look at it from a Jewish mindset: I cannot give too much either. There is no such thing as “giving too much”.
We are equipped with the power to give once we have satisfied our own immediate needs. I admit: I have a high standard of living and that is high to maintain. If I had a smaller apartment, no car, no office space I would need less money. One of my friends is being told to live of an existential sustenance payment of around 1’200 CHF per month. I am not clear how this is supposed to work but there are families of four or five in Switzerland who live off less than 4’000 CHF. The people I usually deal and hang out with make around three times as much. Why am I making this comparison? Because money is relative, lifestyle is a choice but survival is critical. In Switzerland, it is easy to forget that there are a lot of people in the world who barely survive, who just want to live in peace and raise their children in a safe place.
I think one of our inner barriers to the refugees is shame. Most of us have lived a wonderful, privileged and secured life. We don’t want to let the refugees into our lives because they remind us of our status and privilege. They embarrass us because we are so secure, so wealthy and so unhappy. Their gratitude and acceptance of support shames us. Yes. That’s why many of us rather want to see them in other countries than their own.
Have you considered though that, as my aunt recently mentioned, we could be elevated and learn a deeper insight about the world if we spoke to more refugees, if we let them sit on our dinner table and shared a meal with them? Have you considered that you might have more to give than the average person? Have you thought about helping and making helping a default in your life because it could be a humanistic or spiritual practice? Even if religion does not mean anything to you, you might have loathed for a higher purpose in your life. Maybe you have missed the sense of why you are in this world. Don’t you see the chance ahead of you.
Let’s try this once. Give yourself a kick and ask yourself “Who could need my support today?”. You don’t have to invite five people. You can start with one.
Let us know in the comments if you made an experience.
Angela Weinberger has worked in Human Resources with a focus on Global Mobility during her corporate career in the banking and professional services industry. She started Global People Transitions GmbH in 2012. Angela works as an Intercultural Career Advisor and Global Mobility Expert with expats, their spouses, international talents and Global Mobility Professionals.