The friends you choose have a big influence on your own attitude, don’t you think? I believe that it is certainly the truth. That is true here in the Philippines, or anywhere you live.
A few days ago, I made a post on my Mindanao Blog about a meeting that I was going to be attending here in Davao. It was a group made up of other ex-pats who meet twice per month to talk about business and other things about living in Davao. The name of the group is Friends of Mindanao. I attended their meeting on Wednesday. I found the group to be positive, with a good attitude, and the guys were really enjoyable to be around. All in all, I had a good time, and I intend to go back again for future meetings!
There is another similar group, though, that I am familiar with that is a little different. This group (which I will not name, that would serve no purpose) is also an ex-pat group that meets regularly. This group, though, seems to be a group of ex-pats that get together to complain about the Philippines. They complain about the life here. They complain about the things that need to be changed. They complain about the people. Basically, they complain about everything. I can’t think of a single issue that they have had anything positive to say about living in the Philippines.
At first, when I was invited to the Friends of Mindanao meeting, I was worried that they might be this other group that I mentioned. But, I decided to go and check it out to see for myself. I am glad I went, because I met some people who could be good friends in the future.
You see, it’s a funny thing, but you often run into groups of ex-pats who complain! They find fault in everything around them, and they reminisce about their home country, while badmouthing the Philippines. Now, look, I am the first to admit that there is no perfect place on the earth, and the Philippines does have plenty of problems that need to be addressed. But, for myself, I like it here. I enjoy living here. Yes, sometimes things happen that get me upset, I guess that’s human nature. But, overall, I am happy with my life.
There was a time a few years back when I did hang out with some people who were complainers. And, in my experience, when you hang out with people who see nothing but bad, it tends to put those same glasses on your, and soon all you can see is the bad. A friend of mine had fallen into the same gutter as I had (maybe we didn’t fall in, but were on the slope, headed that way). He encouraged me that we should change our outlook. Even just by changing the words we used to talk about what we saw, we were able to have a different feeling. For instance, when we saw something that we would once call “stupid,” instead we would say it was “fascinating.” For example, we would see somebody doing something in a way that we were not used to seeing. In the past we would say “look at that guy, the way he is doing that is really stupid!” Instead, by saying “look at the guy, the way he is doing that is really fascinating, I have never seen it done that way before,” you would have a totally different feeling in your heart and in your mind. Basically, you were saying the same thing, but the language you chose gave you a different image. Try this, you will find that it really works.
I often wonder, for these guys who do nothing but complain about the Philippines, why do they choose to live here? It would certainly seem that if a place was that bad, wouldn’t they choose to move elsewhere? I know that I would.
All in all, the lesson here is that you have the opportunity to choose your friends. You get to choose who you hang out with, and who you do things with. When you choose people with a positive attitude, you will generally have a positive attitude too. The inverse is true as well, unfortunately!