The road to self-discovery with meaningful friendships can be a reality for you. I´ve traveled the world and in my estimation, the world´s most decorated playground, Buenos Aires, is the place to start your journey.
Why B.A, Argentina?
Argentine people are a very liberated, caring and loving bunch. This is due to several factors; Overthrowing the Spanish rule, mass European immigration, a hugely successful liberalism movement, the fight to freedom from dictatorships, recovering from an almost fatal bout of neo-liberalism in 2003 or is it 2001, a spiritual belief, a creative nature, beautiful landscapes, great food and blessed sunshine. Buenos Aires is a truly idyllic arena to display yourself.
Open your mind, open your eyes and open your arms.
Bring this with you and enrich each others´ lives.
Your key to opening the gate to untold personal riches is grasping the Spanish language. Whether you plan on staying here for three weeks, two months, six months or more depends on your circumstances and how you value your time here. Many of you may decide to kick on from B.A and travel to other parts of Latin America where your knowledge of the Spanish language will guide you. From experience, I would suggest a minimum of a month in B.A studying Spanish and benefitting from the spirit this great city holds. It will also give you enough time to make new friends from all four corners of the globe.
Making new friends can be a daunting prospect. No question. Below is a 20 point list to help you;
1. Introduce yourself to others
2. Take risks. Don’t anticipate rejection
3. Make an effort to smile and use eye contact.
4. Make an extra effort to remember people’s names.
5. Show curiosity and interest in others. Be a good listener
6. Display your sense of humor.
7. Let your natural self-come out
8. Accept a peoples´ right to be individual
9. SHOW UP. Whenever you have the chance to see other people, take it. Go to the party (Argentines are incredibly open with their invitations. Take it). Stop by someone’s desk. Make the effort to see your new friends time and again. Repeatedly. Immerse yourself into the world’s best café culture.
10. Join in with Expanish (may delete expanish or do I tell the readers I’m studying here at expanish. activities- the cinema club, tango history lessons, salsa and reggaeton dance classes and language exchange nights.
11. Say nice things about other people and communicate with enthusiasm.
12. Make friends with friends-of-friends.
13. Be aware of opened and closed body language.
14. Be receptive to new ideas
15. Find others living in your area who share similar interests. The popular areas are Palermo, San Telmo, and Belgrano.
16. Learn, teach, and share things
17. Rise up, stand up, unite, and make a difference
18. Be a part of something bigger-both locally and globally
19. Express your feelings, opinions, and emotions to others. Use ¨I¨ and speak of your feelings when you talk about personal things.
20. Keep up to date with current affairs that affect all our lives. Popular newspapers are The Buenos Aires Herald, Clarin and La Nacion. Try C5N, TN or Channel 26 for T.V news.
The point is to meet as many people as you can and then start to get your circle of friends in place. Then attempt to develop imitate friendships with just a few. These imitate friendships will help you discover yourselves on a much more comprehensive and meaningful level. You will come to know yourself by knowing a friend who mirrors similar characteristics. We do tend to deceive ourselves you know. Your close friend will make you look inside. Minor differences in character will lead you to assess your own flaws that may need adjusting.
Below are a few tips on how to develop those more intimate relationships;
Thoughts, feelings, views, emotions, values, morals, believes are just some of the areas you can address. Challenge each others’ views and belief systems.
Love and concern for others. Building a trusted bond. Understanding family issues. Value the relationships. Ensure each others’ safety on a night out in the capital and most of all, share experiences.
Understand that decent friendships are good for society. Provides a degree of consideration for others. That’s why BA is so friendly. So there is a bigger picture here.
Friends and close friends will enable you to develop yourself. Over and above this, it will depend on your honesty to yourself and your willingness to look inside that enables you to enrich yourself. By knowing yourself more thoroughly you will also be able to develop more meaningful relationships with your friends. There is a genuinely powerful synergy here.
Below are 20 points on how to discover yourself;
(1) Create your own life timeline. Write down those events in your life that you believe have affected you. Often we have clear pictures in our heads. Certain memories. Deal with these with valued friends and family. Failing that see a therapist. Buenos Aires is very open and accomplished in this field. It’s almost seen as fashionable. But note if you choose therapy, for this reason, be sure to address your vanity issues…
(2) kick your vices into touch. Difficult to drive yourself forward looking out the rear-view mirror. (Big Lebowski sketch, Jeff Bridges, Credence song looking out my back door, springs to mind. Hilarious…)
(3) Let go of the need to be loved by all.
(4) Learn to rely on yourself
(5) Free Associate. Spend time thinking of the things you like and dislike. Things that excite you. Consider aligning these with possible future careers.
(6) Embrace solitude. A walk around the Ecological Park, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, works for me. Ensure peace to gather your thoughts.
(7) Read a vast array of books and appreciate the beauty of music. Be liberal, thoughtful but above all be emotionally moved.
(8) Ask yourself every question under the sun and make a written record of the answers.
(9) Act on your newly discovered knowledge. Write a short story, pick up a guitar, play cricket, take a trip to the desert, whatever.
(10) Be patient and prepare for dead ends. Relax. Take your time. This is a life journey. You will find yourself eventually and when you do you will be a much stronger and contented being. Also, know that the road of knowledge and wisdom only stops when you leave this planet. That’s the joy in life.
(11) “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.
Gandhi. Do some volunteering work or help others less fortunate or less skilled than you.
(12) Be Yourself… Oscar Wilde once said with his usual wit: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Quite right.
(13) Stop comparing yourself to others.
(14) Create your own identity and individualism.
(15) If these points resonate with you but you feel you’ve already discovered yourself then lose yourself. Let yourself go and then get on the road.
(16) Center yourself with meditation, yoga etc. I practice the Alexander Technique. It works for me.
(17) Do something new. Test yourself. Discover new qualities.
(18) Accept your shortcomings
(19) Watch movies of substance and begin to see them from different views.
(20) Understand that the journey will be challenging but ultimately it will the most rewarding thing you can do.
The main theme to take from this blog is the awareness of the powerful synergy between self-discovery and friendship. Work at it, enjoy it and ultimately know that when your times up you have made this world a better place. You really can make a difference.