Yes, I am publishing yesterday’s prompt today and doing so fully disclosing that fact.
It is difficult to confess three personality traits of mine that I am proud of; it would be far easier to say which ones irk me. I am a perfectionist at my core, and a procrastinator who has a hard time conveying the good in place of the bad, but after mulling it over, and consulting ZJ, here’s the three that made the list:
I would first say I possess low levels of modesty. My modesty is relatively less when stacked up alongside Chinese students, friends, and family. My students, friends, and Chinese family are all very modest about their abilities, expertise and positive attributes. Taking compliments pose a challenge for many of them. Students who excelled in my classes felt embarassed whether I recognized them in front of their classmates or individually. I learned how to deflect compliments fairly well regarding my Chinese language skills, teaching, and even personality attributes. I continue to possess some level of modesty, albeit for my cooking (or lack thereof) and work ethic. Why I am I proud of exuding low levels of modesty? Because it is lacking from the general populace here in the States. There is a slippery slope dividing confidence and self-inflation, and it has a devastating affect when personality embraces one over the other.
When I asked for ZJ to assist in the second personality trait he said I am amiable, sincere, or warm. He said I am easy to get to know socially. He is referring to when we first met, and we talked for hours. I do not remember exactly what was said or covered in those early conversations, however I do recall feeling content, pleased, and comfortable, so yes I am proud to boast being amiable/sincere/warm as personality attributes. Unfortunately, and in the art of full disclosure, I am not always amiable, sincere, or warm, and that is why they are personality traits. We can not always exude our proudest personality traits when external stimuli beyond our control undermine a situation, or we are under duress.
On a similar note to the second proudest personality trait I have, and something I most certainly picked up from my four-year stint in Xi’an, is selflessness. I can not say enough extolling the virtues of possessing even small doses of selflessness.
And I may not be well versed in the selfless ways of the East, nor as selfless as those I know or met in China, but selfishness will not get you very far in business, school, or life across the Pacific. Close friends, family and other members of 关系, called networks in English, always take precedence. The individual exists, and my students were perfect examples. Individualism is on the rise in China, however, my Intercultural Communication students explained individuals could put themselves first when it benefited their networks to do so. They added their parents recognized the young generations’s hopes and dreams differed from previous ones. There were also students who said their parents wanted them to pursue their dreams, find happiness in work and life, yet still marry someone either vetted or reasonably satisfactory to their parents.
Selflessness does not seem highly valued here in the States. I used to scoff at students who told me in China there’s too many people, hence why selfishness is not rampant. It has little to do with the populace, and mostly to do with values. Eastern and Western values differ, and do not get me wrong, selfishness still exists in China as does selflessness here in the States, but merely commenting on the pervasiveness of one preferred over the other. I experienced selfishness in China when hogging space or seats on the bus instead of giving them up to pregnant women, the elderly, or disabled; pushing and elbowing to get prime bus real estate, and other smaller acts of selfishness took place.
These three personality traits I am proud of are merely snippets of all the attributes, and much to my own dismay, underutilized.
Check back later as I will be writing about ten of my favorite foods for day seven.
Readers, what are three personality traits you are proud of?