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8 Reasons Why Culture Shock Can Make You A Stronger Person

8 Reasons Why Culture Shock Can Make You A Stronger Person

Culture shock is the disorientated and uneasy feeling people may experience when visiting a new country or finding themselves in new surroundings.

Usually, culture shock is seen as a bit of a negative thing. Being in a place that you’re not familiar with is sure to bring a bit of a fear amongst even the bravest of people from time to time, and it can also lead to sadness or depression from being away from your usual surroundings and people you know.

However, there are also some great reasons why going through a bit of culture shock from time to time can be good for you. Here are 8 of the greatest reasons why culture shock can help to make you a much stronger person.

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    1. You will become more of an individual

    They say that people find themselves when abroad, and it’s certainly no myth. By being able to experience a different way of living, your eyes will be open to what else is out there. This will help you find your individual self, as you will become more aware of the many possibilities that exist for you and learn more about yourself.

    2. You will become more confident

    Whilst scary, it is essential that you step outside of your comfort zone in life, and what better way of doing so than going on the trip of a lifetime? More and more people are heading out abroad on their own and are realising that the experience can not only be entirely rewarding, but also help to boost confidence levels.

    You will learn to trust your gut and rely on yourself a lot more than you may normally have had to.

    3. You will meet lots of new people

    It’s fair to say that you won’t be the only one experiencing culture shock.

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    By getting out there and talking to the locals, you’ll meet lots of new friends. If you get the chance, try to stay at hostels, as you’ll meet new people from all walks of life.

    Meeting new people from different backgrounds will give you a new perspective on life and the world.

    4. You will realise your own set of values and biases

    By visiting different places, you’ll learn a lot about yourself. You will meet people who have a completely different set of views and beliefs from you, and that’s fine—you’ll be able to learn from them.

    This will also help you to clearly define what it is that you are firmly passionate about. It will also help you get a fine-tuned understanding of what your values and biases are.

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    5. You will form new values and beliefs

    The last point goes hand in hand with this one. By travelling, you’ll meet a diverse range of people and personalities and realise that stereotypes can give you a pretty bad understanding of people.

    Adapting to other ways of living will help you incorporate this new understanding into your ordinary life back home.

    “Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.” — Amit Ray

    6. You will gain many new skills and talents

    Wherever you travel, you’ll have the opportunity to pick up some of the local language, even if it’s just “hello.” Try and communicate with the locals as much as you can and try to get a taste of the local culture. There will be so many opportunities to learn whilst abroad. For example, when in Thailand, why not try a Thai cooking class? When you get home, everyone will be desperate to try your green curry.

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    7. You will have the best stories to share

    If you experience another country and culture and feel too nervous to try new things, you won’t get the full experience.

    Be sure to take as many opportunities as you can and have a good time. Not many people will be able to do what you’re doing, so do it properly and share the stories with all your friends and family when you get back home.

    8. You will realise that despite any differences we have, we are all pretty similar to each other

    You will soon realise that no matter where you go, we, as humans, all share the same aspirations in life. We want to love and be loved, have fun and live life to the fullest, achieve success, and be there for our friends and family. The sooner you realise this, the sooner you’ll realise that travelling abroad is not so daunting after all, and that, really, you’re just visiting your second home.

    Anyone still in doubt should check out the Why Culture Shock Is Good For You infographic from Work the World for more advice and suggestions.

    The world is a beautiful place, so be sure to go out and see it for yourself!

    Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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    Last Updated on January 24, 2021

    How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

    How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

    Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

    For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

    But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

    It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

    And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

    The Importance of Saying No

    When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

    In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

    Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

    Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

    Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

    “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

    When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

    How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

    It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

    From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

    We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

    And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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    At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

    The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

    How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

    Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

    But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

    3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

    1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

    If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

    2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

    When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

    Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

    3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

    When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

    6 Ways to Start Saying No

    Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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    1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

    One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

    Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

    2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

    Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

    Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

    3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

    Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

    Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

    You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

    4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

    Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

    Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

    5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

    When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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    How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

      Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

      Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

      6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

      If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

      Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

      Final Thoughts

      Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

      Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

      Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

      More Tips on How to Say No

      Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
      [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
      [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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