Mental Exercise: Practicing Culture Shock

For the next month before I leave I am trying to mentally prepare for culture shock.   Here’s one way I’m trying to stretch my brain for the marathon:

When I experience something “ridiculous” or something I reflect negative judgement upon in my own culture, I want to try to turn it around into something positive.  What I might view as out of this world might be someone else’s reality.

So, from this day forward, when I find myself about to judge something, I want to turn my thoughts around, reword them and simply rethink.  I want to challenge myself to see the beauty in what I might not categorize as “beautiful”.

 In other words,  I want to try to understand, I want to gain perspective.

Now, this is a lot easier said than done (especially since many of our judgments pass while we aren’t consciously aware of what we’re doing).  But when I find myself about to ridicule a person or situation I want to see beyond my judgement.

For example, instead of pointing out an atrocious outfit I could rethink the atrocity of the outfit as interesting and unique and that mere rewording of an idea elicits a whole  myriad of sparks a curiosity!  A judgement typically scoffs at the situation, but this exercise forces one to dig deeper and appreciate the beauty in differences.


Be curious, not judgmental

-Walt Whitman

One thought on “Mental Exercise: Practicing Culture Shock

  1. Great post – I really appreciate your thoughts. I was reading a MLK speech yesterday, and your post reminded me of a quote I read where King said “…[we] do not seek to humiliate or defeat the [other] but to win his friendship and understanding.” I think that this idea goes very well with culture shock, cultural awareness and appreciation, and the entire change in mindset from judgement to love, curiosity, and appreciation.

    Anyways, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about many of the things you articulated so well here, so thanks!

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