Oh Son of Spirit! Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then for that which thou was created. Bahá'u'lláh
forth between cultures is an understatement - it was traveling between worlds and worlds that in textbooks collided and crashed and in reality, often was not much different with meat and potatoes in one home and llajua con silpancho in another, saluda con un beso every time you see a family member and to hug only once when you first arrive and when you plan to leave town. Every ritual, family norm, cultural nuance, pitch in language, rhythm of movement, everything held a unique meaning to each culture and I found myself often in trouble for getting it wrong with one group or the other. And then suddenly we moved, to a very small town in southern Mexico, in the furthest tip of the state of Quintana Roo, an hour from the now famous Tulum - back then no one knew of its existence except for locals and the occasional lost European tourist. I too was completely lost and felt I would never be normal again.
This means narratives about who we are are also systemic in nature and because they're told through a material lens, they're also faulty. Coupled with my already faulty internal narratives, the external stories of who I am reinforce my false beliefs about myself and I begin to believe the stories the world tells me. This is particularly devastating when those narratives tell you that you are criminal, prone to violence and less intelligent. Of course, they are also devastating when they tell you that you must be perfect, the ideal and at the top. Social narratives are heavily influenced by our material world and thus, once again, fail to see the whole picture nor capture the whole human being.
“Then what Christ meant by forgiveness and pardon is not that, when nations attack you, burn your homes, plunder your goods, assault your wives, children and relatives, and violate your honour, you should be submissive in the presence of these tyrannical foes and allow then to perform all their cruelties and oppressions. No, the words of Christ refer to the conduct of two individuals toward each other. If one person assaults another, the injured one should forgive him. But the communities must protect the rights of man.” - 'Abdu'l-Bahá
If I am not vigilant with my inner reality these narratives will run rampant and they will manifest themselves in everything I do. It will be my husband's job to make sure I feel loved, wanted and valued. It will be my boss who must demonstrate that I am valued and important. And if left unchecked within me, the world will need to prove to me my worth and it will always fall short of this as it was not designed to reflect our true reality. The material world is just that, material and we are spiritual in nature, we can never hope for the world to capture our true reality and reflect that to us, so I must not go to the world hoping it will see and value me, rather I must always see and value myself and by doing this I will do the same for others.