Andrea Sadloňová is a Slovak-born scientist who returned home after 19 years in the USA.
Psychologists say that moving to a new environment can be good for our well-being, that it can be re-energising, helpful with finding a new direction, inspirational and exciting. Many people travel for these reasons. For me, some environments work their magic and are truly beneficial. I wonder sometimes whether Slovakia is this type of environment too. Is it re-energising for our visitors? I hope that as a tourist destination it serves its purpose well, but how about for those who stay longer?
With my happy childhood "programming" I yearn for Slovakia to be this perfect place but occasionally it treats me with such a slap in the face that I start doubting myself. I believe nobody deserves a beating from their own country. It is not that there is something sinister or harmful about this environment, but human beings are social animals, they need to become fully engaged with their environment and connect to its values and energy to in order to have a satisfying experience.
People who have lived in a foreign place know that the initial infatuation they feel needs to be turned into worthwhile engagement. On some level we need to connect to something in our environment, otherwise, we may become demotivated, withdrawn, isolated and potentially alienated.
Alienation is not very beneficial to the individual or to society. It leads to frustration, anger and violence and the society loses the potential that the individual represents. This process is not easy, it takes time, patience, accommodation and adjustment on both sides. Given some intrinsic properties, some environments are more open to it than others, but the exchange is beneficial to both.
2018 was a hard year for Slovakia, transforming and potentially cleansing. However, I experienced lots of anger and yelling, directed at me and others, more than in my previous 41 years. I know it stems from a general frustration and disengagement.
There were some great moments filled with love, positivity, inspiration, and creativity but I wish there were more of them. In 2019, we should stop yelling at each other and possibly even enjoy each other's company. The aggression towards others leads to the exact opposite of engagement, it does not change anybody‘s mind or their ways. It leads to further withdrawal and alienation.
We should not try to change others but rather to listen to their stories, be more empathetic and encouraging. If we don’t lift ourselves, who will?
31. Dec 2018 at 12:42 | Andrea Sadloňová