Abroad, california, community, divorce, dream big, dreambig, ecuador, Ecuador expats, efl, English, esl, esl teaching, expats, expats in Ecuador, gringo, happiness, happy, hippy, jealousy, latin america, life, los angeles, love, self, spanish, teaching abroad, valley girl
I am as simple as it gets.
I’m a Valley Girl whose family is from the inner city of L.A. I was educated in the public schools of LA and a public university in LA. I struggle to lose the 30lbs I gained from stress eating in Ecuador last time I lived here. No one wants to publish my novels, so I’m dumbfounded on what to do with like 5 novels. I’m single and let me tell you its hard meeting a decent guy that wants a non-Barbie/Beyonce chic who happens to be slightly “ambitious.” I don’t have a PhD (nor do I want one), but I read newspapers and try to speak proper English around “highly educated people.” I talk with the cleaning ladies in my office and the security guards on campus in my horrific-gringo-flavored Spanish. I eat $2.50 meals at small mom-and-pop restaurants in Ecuador. I try to share my knowledge with others bc, as naive and hippy as it may sound, I believe in community and the give-take relationship one has with his/her society.
But lately, I have been sensing a jealousy vibe around me.
And I must ask, What causes jealousy? Surely, it can’t be a Simple Jane like me.
My students have been writing about the cause of happiness for their final essay (this assignment came from the book, not this hippy teacher, lol). There are numerous theories on what causes people to be happy, but one that I think is the most important is self acceptance aka liking self.
I used to have super low self-esteem and not feel good about myself. I used to compare my life with others and always in negative ways. I blamed others for my unhappiness and actively played the victim role. But during the Christmas of 2013, I realized “This Is It!” My 5-year-break-from-life was over and this was the only life I was getting, so I needed to make life work.
It was a year process to arrive to the point where I could say, “I’m happy. I like myself.” This happiness with self that I am experiencing is possible for others if they choose to be happy and love life. Thus, why would someone choose jealousy over creating happiness with self?
I know life is complicated, but my “winning at life” is simple– I work hard. I do the extra work. I stay the extra hour at work. I ask the extra question. I create opportunities for professional growth. I have compassion for others. I watch those motivational videos on YouTube and listen to personal development books while working out. I set goals and create a logical plan to achieve those girls. I think about the bigger picture. I roll the dice in life. And most importantly, I throw myself to the wind and see where life takes me.
Once you decide to go with the flow of life, that flow will lead you to the real happiness, or as the Japanes say “kimochi ii” (the good feeling inside of you). By flowing with life, you will learn how to be happy with yourself, and even better, be happy for others and not jealous of them.