I feel a positive change has come over me, with regards to my personal interactions with my friends. I know I used to be a really good listener, but I think I had started to become a little domineering in conversations with some people. I found myself interrupting when I shouldn't, shifting to new subjects abruptly in order to not risk dropping a beat in the pace, finding my mind preoccupied with trivial matters when I should have been listening, etc. How did I get so bad? I had started becoming more self-centered, I think, and didn't realize it.
I had a good talk with a dear friend here and I learned about what's always going on in her head. She's always thinking about others. Always concerned about the welfare of her friends and how she can help out if they are in need. When I was listening to her talk, I realized that I used to be like that. When did I stop being like that? Why had I become so selfish?
That might have been a turning point for me. Now, I'm determined to try to reach out more, to see if I can be of help to the people I love. And my conversations are already a lot better. I interrupt far less and listen a lot more.
I do have a natural tendency to be selfish and self-centered which I have had to fight. When I was a child, I knew instinctively that my selfishness was not a good thing, that it was something I needed to change about myself. I knew I needed to be more giving and less possessive. I grew into a willing helper and found that helping others was more gratifying than any other activity.
But I became self-centered again as I went off to boarding school to study like crazy in preparation for college. There was almost nothing more important than my studying. In college, I loosened up enough to have room for more friends, but still, my focus was on my studies. After college, my focus was on what to do with the rest of my life -- that consumed me until I became a mother. I still think about that to some degree, but it's not a constant worry to me like it used to be.
The last few years my focus has been Maylin and learning to live in a new country. Now that life in a foreign country is no longer a struggle and is really routine, it's a good time to get back on track and in tune with what's most dear to me -- family and friends.