Sunday, July 13, 2014

The finish line

What is a perfect image to you? Your perfect collection of humor, habits, posture, manners, education, fashion... most certainly do not fit in the new picture you are part of right now. True? That's culture shock. And it's about time to share how to overpass it...

From a perspective of someone who already made it.

Before anything, ask yourself if you really want to do this or just live with it. I had met people who apparently never passed this stage. Some went back to their mother countries, others look happy living inside their bubbles, and very few still suffer with all culture differences. So, be honest with yourself, and create a vision. Are you open and genuinely interested in developing relationships with Americans? Do you want to feel belonging where you are at? If your answers are yes, take a seat and pay attention to my points - and how I made it.

The more perfectionist you are, the harder you will adapt to change. In a world where everything is better delivered than not drafted... Perfectionism is defined as "refusal to accept any standard short of perfection". Let's face it, quality standards are not meant to define perfection. In the expat context, I see more perfectionism translated as less acceptance - therefore, more resistance to changes.

If you are willing to let go your perfect picture and start a new design...  truly accepting others and community as they are... be ready to throw comfort out of the window too! But I promise: you will practice humility and learn empathy, you will shortener your change adjustment period, and will certainly improve connection to people.

Start considering that everyone offer you the best they have (even if that's too little by your standards). Why would that not be okay? Work on your acceptance ability, ladies. Have you ever consider all the noise and friction in your head being just your ego? Get frustrated by expectations that we create, is always our own problem... right? Culture differences are common reality to anyone living abroad, it's the way you deal with those differences that will define your adjustment success. Before freaking out when trying to find out your American bra size or converting grams to pounds to follow your favorite recipe or getting your name wrong on Starbucks cups... remember you are in charge of how you take things in. Apply this concept to your life and you will stop to waste time with whatever don't need your time, or concern at first place. It may only requires your acceptance.

Build acceptance by taking the time to be more understanding. You can open your mind to different perceptions of true by shifting from hearing to listening mode, try it. Today not only time is costly, so are poor evaluation and lame relations. Sorry, that applies to personal life too!

Be game, connect. Choose to be in the moment instead searching for references that build comparison and abyss between cultures. Don't compare apples to oranges. Try to quit converting. Be humble to check off your ego, and exercise awareness - yup, you hold accountability for how you make people feel in the process. (Ex. Making fun at people habits just shows a bitter side of you. Who ever said your way of living is the best anyway? So far, laughing at myself instead did a lot more for me!)

It takes effort, a hell lot of it - because culture shock doesn't go away by itself, neither by conforming. You gotta run thro to reach the other side. But I betcha, you will be happy in the finish line. Wherever it may be.

Good luck on your personal race & Peace out!