Posts Tagged ‘culture’

What part of you are you willing to let go of?

admin | Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

Let go of a part of ME?

Yes!

When you move to another country and begin to understand and assimilate the local culture you will find certain parts of your personality/beliefs/values/thinking patterns no longer feel comfortable to you. Or that you are being challenged on a lot of levels both good and bad.

Good because you are growing personally and expanding your world view.

Bad because you may feel attacked, disliked, overwhelmed and judged.

Compromise is a popular word in a successful love immigrant relationship.

But I am talking about something bigger here. Not compromise but internal change.

For me one of the biggest things I chose to let go of was my intense nationalistic view. I had always been a global person, however I had not realized how American I was in some ways and totally international in others. Being constantly challenged as an American living in Holland allowed me to accept the parts of me that were American and let go of my need to defend them at all costs.

I learned to pick my battles and take on an International citizen view. I worked (and still do) to let others struggle with their opinions of what they classified as an American and only participate in discussions with others that wanted open minded conversation and not negative culturally stereotypical hate fests.

Now this didn’t happen over night. It took time, self exploration, angry arguements with locals and other expats and the eventual slow simmered reality check that I didn’t want to waste my energy and mental health on such arguements.

I was also willing to let go of the part of me that always felt an eye for an eye…thus believing in the death penalty. Today I no longer do. A result of living abroad and hearing other cultures and most all other western governments views against such punishment.

Now if this sounds preachy/lecturish (yes I still make up my own words) that is not my intent.

The reality is that you will be living in another culture than your own, you will find that they do things differently, that things you haven’t thought about in a long time or ever suddenly become issues for you and that in order to make a smooth, positive transition, letting go of a part of you is worth it!

Stereotypes? I’d never do that!

admin | Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

Amazing how when you move abroad suddenly all these people have opinions about what defines you, your traits and characteristics.

In fact it can be down right insulting, hurtful and damaging.

The key here is not to fall into the trap.

Do you find yourself saying “oh well back home we do it like this….”
“we don’t do it that way”, ” that’s not the right way”, “Only people from …. do that”

Maybe you don’t say it aloud, you just think it quietly….

Perhaps you find yourself cussing, saying lots of nasty words and throwing a nationality at the end of the remarks???

We all do it. We may not mean to. Sometimes it comes out as a way of acknowledging differences, almost a process a new expat goes through in realizing the differences between themselves and the host culture.

The key here, remember if you don’t like it done to you, others will feel the same.

How can you learn from this habit to identify, judge and categorize others?

First don’t feel bad, people from all cultures, countries and walks of life stereotype.

We make generalizations and sometimes it helps us in dealing with others in business matters.

However sometimes those assumptions made on stereotypes are wrong and inappropriate.

My suggestion, work to see each individual as just that, an individual with a unique way of expressing themselves and experiencing life.

It is important to learn about other cultures. Instead of getting it second hand, try asking someone from that culture how they themselves see their culture.

Learn from the source vs. make assumptions based on generalizations.

Coaching action step:

Share here what assumptions you’ve made and how you have been stereotyped in the past