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Six Valuable Lessons to Learn from Thailand

Six Valuable Lessons to Learn from Thailand

I have often found that when compared to South East Asia, the western culture is fast paced and focuses on things that don’t actually matter. We strive to find happiness and contentment in life but our methods tend to fall short. The car you drive, the clothes you wear and the house you live in are not a definition of your true passions in life. They will never bring you a sense of wholeness.

There are remedies for the western world and many things to learn from Thailand that can be found in the way Thai people view life.

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1. Happy Regardless of Circumstance

Thai people have a happiness in them regardless of what they own. Something to learn from Thailand is to appreciate what you have. Thai’s keep life simple, often having a small business that brings enough money in to sustain them. Some don’t have a real home but you can see them smiling as they sit under an aluminum roof with the rest of their family. Kids play with sticks in the dirt with more enthusiasm than a child sitting on a cozy couch playing video games n North America.

2. Living Off the Land

While most of us don’t live in a climate that allows fresh exotic fruits to grow abundantly, there are still some things we can use from nature. Many of the herbs and fruits that grow naturally can also be used medicinally. In most countries, there are native plants, fruits and vegetables that you can grow. In a culture like ours that is now concerned about pesticides, grow your own organic plants in whatever space you have. Find out about the medicinal herbs that grow in your area.

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3. Taking a Nap

All over Thailand, you’ll see people closing their eyes for a quick cat nap whenever the opportunity arises. Whether they’re sitting up, standing or laying down, it’s not abnormal for someone to take a nap in a public place. While they work long hours, they take the opportunity to shut their eyes throughout the day many times. Their ability to fall asleep even in the middle of a busy place symbolizes that they can shut out the world and find relaxation anywhere.

4. Overcome Obstacles with a Smile

This is a big point to learn from Thailand. Thai people have a way of dealing with things that ensure they never really stress out. They seem to realize that for every problem, there is a solution they can offer. They are innovative in their problem solving. For example, if there is a day the government states no alcohol can be sold, a bar will put your beer in a plastic cup.

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If they aren’t supposed to sell things in a certain area, they put their whole business on wheels. That way, if the police do come, they can roll away without getting caught out. I have never seen a Thai person get stressed in a moment of chaos. You think they’re not taking action because they’re not running around but they figure out a solution in their own time.

5. Family Dynamics

Family takes care of family throughout their lifetime. A grandmother is respected and the matriarch of the family. She will never be sent to an old folks home, instead her children will take care of her and go to work to pay the bills. Family sticks together and supports one another so there’s little loneliness in life’s journey for the Thais. While our social structure in the West is much different, it’s still an important lesson to learn from Thailand: family matters.

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6. Devout Buddhists

The land of Buddhists don’t label yoga and meditation as some trendy activity. It’s a way of life and you will see the tiniest toddler put their hands together and bow to Buddha. They are real about meditation, going into monasteries for weeks of silence. You lay on cement at night and wake up before dawn.

Their way of viewing meditation is a sense of respect for their religion as opposed to a way of not yelling at your kids. Maybe their meditative practices and lessons in the Buddhist philosophy are why Thai people live in the way they do.

Featured photo credit: Tord Remme/flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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