... come back to me

Most of the time when I’m on the streets of Osaka and am trying to make my way through the crowds I probably look like an angry emu ready to attack anyone who bumps into me, cuts my way, or walks carelessly and needs boxes on the ears.

I mean, who comes out of a shop onto the road like a Jason Bourne without looking right and left? Who stops right after they get off an escalator and contemplates where to go next? And though I understand how uplifting it is to listen to music while you’re walking, I get furious at people who listen to music with earphones while riding their bicycles as if they were on their way back from a pub on a remote road somewhere in Ireland.

Guess what though??!! You are not on a remote road! It’s not okay to let people tower up behind you on the escalator and it’s surely not okay to run out of a shop without looking LEFT AND RIGHT!

These things drive me nuts every day. So much that I’ll probably die of a heart attack one day with a grumpy look on my face.

Obviously, I don’t want to look and feel that angry and waste my energy on exhausting emotions like that. And I surely don’t want to send that mood loaded with aggressiveness into the world only to see karma come back to me one day and turn my life into a miserable existence. In order to avoid that I follow my friend’s advice to live by Ho’oponopono, which is a Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. The way I understand it it’s a way of correcting my bad behavior. Every time I curse at someone on the street, I immediately think of Ho’oponopono and recite my version of it by saying to myself “Thank you! Mahalo! I love you! Forgive me!”

So, this is me walking in the city: “You shithead! You little stinker! … Oh! … Thank you! Mahalo! I love you! Forgive me!”

I admit that sounds like I'm a classic nutcase.


Taking things too personal

I seem to take careless walking on the street quite personal. I tried to look closer at what’s going on inside of me when I’m in situations like the ones below and why I react the way I do:

Someone comes towards me. When we both get closer it seems the person insists on their space and I end up getting out of their way. It makes me feel like I’m not being seen or not worth their attention, which overall makes me almost doubt my existence. “Am I really here today?”

Another example:

One of my students at school saw me entering the room and she greeted me and right away asked me a question related to our material. A few seconds later a Japanese teacher walked in and the student stood up to greet the teacher. My first emotional reaction was feeling hurt and not feeling equally respected. Why does she get up for that teacher but not for me?


There is a 19-year old boy at the kitchen I work for part-time. He likes to talk to me with his hand when he wants to say “stop” or “don’t” because he might think that not being able to understand everything in Japanese is equal to not having a brain and therefore not being worth to have eye contact when you address the person. Who knows?

To a certain degree my feelings might be valid but I can feel that there is a deeper issue surrounding this topic. Taking things very personal, feeling disrespected, not being given the attention I think I deserve, feeling ignored or overlooked … All these thoughts and feelings make me wonder if there is something I need to take care of within myself. Going through those emotions often create a lack of connection with others. I end up feeling misunderstood, unheard, isolated and alone.

When did my inner child started feeling hurt and why? What is it that I can do about it now? I know I can’t ask for every single person to get out of my way, or demand respect from students. I need to focus on me and come back to me.

I remember a friend telling me just very recently that what I want from others I need to give myself first. I need to pay myself attention, show myself respect, and appreciate myself. I often don’t know how to do that but I guess the fact I have become aware of this issue is one step closer to the person I want to be.

What are the little things you do to value yourself? How do you "come back to yourself"?