how I’m dealing with China’s smoking culture

This afternoon, at the nearby park, I saw a Chinese man pushing his baby’s stroller. He was spending some quality time with his young son and the sight of that warmed my heart, but only for a moment. As soon as I saw the cigarette I froze. When the man took a puff and the cloud of smoke floated over the baby’s head all the love that I previously felt turned into ice-cold anger.

Furious thoughts about the man started invading my head. He doesn’t he care about his child. He is such a terrible person that he doesn’t mind to smoke around his little kid. What a horrible man, he is affecting the poor baby’s whole future — specially his health! Stupid man!!! Then my thoughts started going back to all of the other times I saw Chinese people smoke without regard for anyone around them.

It happens all of the time. In restaurants, inside malls, stores, cars, elevators, stairwells, and it doesn’t matter if people are around, or if those people are children or pregnant women, the Chinese men will still smoke!

Fortunately today my inner rant didn’t last for as long as it usually does. As soon as I realized the angry dialogue going on in my head I made the decision to stop it from going any further.

Who was it helping anyway? The Chinese man was oblivious to my inner frustrations and disgust. And I was only hurting myself by continuing to feed the angry thoughts. So I started to rationalize. After all those men that smoke everywhere must not know any better…

I hope that one day they will learn to be mindful of where they smoke and of the people around them. For now, feeling angry towards those people only hurts me.

So, for the thousandth time I realized again that it’s so true what they say: if you hold anger inside you only hurt yourself. 

I really hope that I can remember this the next time, and every time, those feelings start to come up. For now, I am so glad that my entire day wasn’t ruined by my own doing.

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