Immigrant’s escape from cultural comparisons (part 2)

I wish that in my first week as a newcomer I had understood why I had this compulsive need for comparing almost everything – socially, culturally, geographically, economically, politically, etc. – between Canada, my new country, and Italy, my native one! I should have focused on leveraging my immigrating experience much earlier instead of wasting energy dragging out this manifestation of madness…

I am sure that, by reading this article, the most awakened readers will be able to use the content to shift gear into the next level of their lives as newcomers.

When we were kids, whenever we watched a soccer, cricket, rugby or tennis World Cup match with our national team playing, or when we watched our national Olympic team, we saw our parent’s passionate behaviour and we began to grasp that sense of belonging to something bigger, something that makes us feel connected to others! We noticed how happy our father was when we cheered with him, and so we felt closer to someone whom we had always want to accept us.

At school, we noticed the presence of the national flag, and when we studied history, we learned of our countrymen from the past who had defended our nation, sometimes giving their own lives, and so we learned the value of patriotism.

As we grow older and get busier with the greater and smaller challenges of daily life, we lose much of ourselves and our identity; the beating we take during the so-called “defeats” of life blurs our self-image even more, and we desperately need to be part of a common idea, of a group, to feel strong. This is how we stop using “patriotism” to feel connected with other humans with whom we share many values, and we insanely begin to use it to actually identify ourselves with our country! At some point in our life, we unconsciously decide that when we say: “I am Indian!”, “I am Italian!” or “I am Chinese!”, we are feeling that part of who we are is defined by our native country. For a good part of my life, I considered any negative comment made against my country as a personal attack on me, especially if made by a foreigner! In other words, Italy was a part of who I was, how I defined myself, and so I would become very defensive when someone tried to attack my identity; I would feel threatened, and so some kind of defensive mechanism would be triggered.

When those special people, referred to as “immigrants”, decide to leave their native country, they unconsciously start a quiet internal battle between the parts of themselves that say “I am Italian” and “I am an Immigrant”; they have not attached their identity to the new country yet, but they have attached it to this idea of being an immigrant. From this identity crisis comes the answer to the question asked in part 1 of this article: What internal feeling is the cause of this compulsive “Comparison Game” that we play, and which slows down our growth as immigrants, and thus as human beings?

We feel confused, we don’t know who we are anymore! Hence, we end up defending our native country by default when someone attacks it because we feel almost as if our physical person is being attacked, it´s an attack on who we are! In the same way, when someone says something negative against the country we have immigrated to, because we have attached the decision of becoming an Immigrant to our personal identity, we defend it with all we´ve got! Most importantly, the cultural differences between the two countries effects immigrants greatly while migration.

The whole process becomes even more insane when we play the parts of both the attacker and the defender, switching tirelessly between the two identities (the mental “Comparison Game”).

The answer came to me after reading a book by Eckhart Tolle, where the author made me understand how most human minds are obsessed with attaching their identities to ideas, groups, countries, etc., just for the sake of feeling alive, real, and not only as a way to connect with others on a deeper level.

Since arriving at this wonderful realization, I quickly detached the “I am Italian”, “I am an Immigrant” or “I am Canadian” from who I am. I love my native country because I feel connected to the culture, to the people from the present and from the past; I share their pains and their joys, their mental and physical features, but they are not who I am!

I love my new country because it has welcomed me and inspired me to stretch myself and to discover new horizons, but Canada is not part of my identity, it is a nation of wonderful, kind and positive people, but Canada is not who I am!

I am, just as you are, way bigger and more limitless then an entire nation, way bigger than an entire culture and way bigger than any idea that anybody has about me!

I am, just as you are, and as many spiritual teachers claim, a Spiritual Being having a physical experience in this world, and not the other way around!

Most of the concepts described in this article are not mine, they are truths that you already know, they are inside you, covered by the many layers of ideas that have been created by your old environment and your ancestors through your genes. I am just functioning as a catalyst in making them yours, but you will only be conscious of this if the time is right, if you are ready!

Deciding to become an immigrant proves that you have the sensitivity to grasp this powerful knowledge, a knowledge that will free you from the “Comparison Game”, a knowledge that will fuel your growth as an immigrant.

 

Stay tuned.

 

Truly, Frank.

 

 


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