Be respectful, stay honest

“How did I end up here? This feels very wrong. I’m totally out of place. This definitely doesn’t feel inspiring at all.” 2 Days in at my workaway experience and I was ready to leave. I had landed in a place where I did not want to be at all. I had to make a decision and change around my plans. Although it wasn’t a great experience, I learned some interesting things about staying calm, honest and respectful.

An interesting invitation

I arrived in Puerto Escondido after an awesome 2 weeks in Cuidad de Mexico. I came here to do a workaway experience with an Italian artist, helping him build his Boutique Hotel. To be honest I had no idea what to expect from the experience. But at the time the workaway host invited me to come I had a good feeling about it. So yeah, I just winged it. Sometimes you just got to follow your feeling. Living with an international artist on the tropical Mexican coast, working on a cool project, surfing in my free time at a world class surf break and experimenting with Mexican culture, doesn’t sound too bad right? In fact, It did sound quite inspiring and interesting to me. I was really curious about how it would turn out. Sometimes however, things turn out differently then you felt it.

Day 1 in puerto escondido, beach and awesome Pina Coladas from a pineapple. If there was one thing my host knew about it was good food and drinks.

Wrong feelings

My first day was pretty good and relaxed. I was still tired from the 20-hour bus ride from the capital. My host let me relax a bit, showed me around the property, we had some good chats and made a nice Mediterranean pasta. It was a beautiful place on top of a hill viewing over the whole bay of Puerto Escondido. The house was in the style of a Sicilian villa and there was a mango tree garden with fresh mangoes every day. Sounds like a cool spot right? Well, it was.

I felt bored and demotivated

I did feel a little strange, however. I felt quite alone and far removed from the local experience. My host was 65 years old and had quite a different way of life than me. He was a positive guy and also wanted to make a positive impact in the world, but there was a mismatch. He wasn’t as active and lived his life by day by day without any concrete planning. I however, had just had an inspiring 3 months surrounded by young people that actively wanted to make a change. On top of all that I was alone with him. There were no other volunteers. I also couldn’t see how the project was going to make any useful impact. I just wasn’t getting inspired to realize something over there. I felt bored and demotivated.

I’m out of here!

I try to always keep an open mind however, and decided that I would give this experience a try for at least 2 weeks. The second day showed me that there was no point in doing that though. It started off with my hosted explaining me what he expected from the workaway.

He told me he was mainly looking for a personal assistant. Someone who could remind him to take his medications before lunch, help him carry groceries when going to the market, call the repair guys when the washing machine was broken, etc. You get the idea. He was also looking for some personal companionship. Well, that definitely was not in the description! He said he was quite alone there and just needed a nice companion. I kind of felt like a bought friend.

We passed by various cop cars as well. They luckily did not stop me.

That evening really put things in perspective though. We went to have some dinner with some American friends of his. He got so drunk that I had to drive him back home, help and walk to the house and put him into bed. I was a little tipsy myself and had no international driving license. Sounds cool? Well, to be honest it was a little adventure. But it was not so cool that I had to do it because he couldn’t control his drinking. We passed by various cop cars as well. They luckily did not stop me. On top of that, the American friends hinted me that he probably invited me because he found me beautiful. Ok, it’s enough! I’m out of here!

Keep your cool

That same night, after putting him to bed, I packed up all my stuff. I also had a camera shipping to his house with and made sure to change the address online so I could pick it up somewhere else. I wanted to make sure I did not need to come back there. It felt a little sneaky because i was doing it at night.

This was a picture that my host actually took from me, just enjoying the awesome puerto sunsets here. Definitely helps to stay calm when you’re in a beautiful environment.

Although I felt very out of place and frustrated, I realized I should keep my cool and communicate openly. If I would have just ran away there with feelings of frustration I would have learned nothing. I looked at the situation as a way for me to grow. To be more honest and respectful even though I differed strongly from the other person.

Although I felt very out of place and frustrated, I realized I should keep my cool and communicate openly

I waited till my host had woken up and recovered from his hangover. And man, did he have a hangover. Then I just told him honestly how I felt about the situation and that I wasn’t going to stay there any longer. It was a little shock for him. But because I said it in an honest and calm way he definitely respected it. It also set the tone for him to share his opinion in a calm manner. We exchanged a couple more thoughts, accepted our differences and parted in a positive and respectful way. And man, that felt good.

The effect of respect and honesty

It’s amazing how honest and respectful communication can empower you. You learn to accept differences but also learn to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. You also see that you’re just different than some people. And that’s okay.

You learn to accept differences but also learn to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes.

You don’t have to be in tune with everybody every time. And neither should everybody be in tune with you. There’s enough place in this world to separate yourself from people you don’t vibe with. You also should separate yourself when you feel it’s just the wrong combination. Just be respectful and stay honest when you cross paths. A good balance between these two elements will give you respect and appreciation in return.

This beautiful little beach of Carizalillo made me realize i didn’t want stay at my workaway host any longer. Great spot for good relaxation and reflection.

From my personal view, respect and honesty towards people we don’t get along with can go a long way in creating a more peaceful environment. Which in turn results in more safe and relaxed ambient where everybody can grow and feel happier. Of course more elements come into play in creating this, but I think these are two simple tools everybody can use to create this peaceful environment for themselves and others.

respect and honesty can go a long way in creating a more peaceful environment

So next time you feel annoyed or frustrated, just stop yourself for a second. Why do I feel this way? What exactly frustrates me in this person or situation? Make sure that’s clear before you just start firing off your emotions at someone. Afterward be honest, but keep it calm and stay respectful. It’s amazing how positive people might react. And this alone will give you a lot of relief and energy. But what if the person does react badly? Well, then you just know it’s not worth wasting your time. You stayed honest, calm and respectful, no reason to take a grudge against yourself.

No matter what the outcome, you will have more positive energy and self-confidence after the conversation if you choose to go in calm, honest and respectful. The choice is up to you.

Disclaimer: My stories and insights are merely written from my personal perspective and experience. They are in no way absolute truths. I’m sure that there will be perspectives that differ starkly from mine. I believe every perspective has its own value. Hope you keep an open mind and enjoy listening to mine. I also strongly encourage you to go explore and get inspired yourself, sharing your perspectives along the way. Be welcome to engage in the comments section.

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