2 ways to enjoy this article:
LISTEN here or READ below!
I had a thought.
What if you didn’t have to adapt to your new culture?
What if you didn’t have to lose or change or tweak parts of yourself in order to “fit in” with your adopted community?
What if you could harmonise with it all instead?
The sensation of harmony is a much nicer feeling than that of change, don’t you think?
I googled the definitions of adapt and harmonise. There were a bunch of dictionary descriptions, which I’ve summarised as . . .
To adapt: to make fit or to make suitable by changing or adjusting
To harmonise: to produce a pleasing combination.
To bring ideas, feelings or actions into agreement.
Ooooh, now that more sounds enticing, doesn’t it? To produce a pleasing combination. To bring ideas, feelings or actions into agreement. I’m going to customise that a little more and say to bring them into alignment.
What a different feeling that creates as opposed to changing or adjusting to makes ourselves fit, or to make ourselves suitable to a new culture.
Those two words, adapting and harmonising, create really different feelings.
Consequently, we will feel a different way according to which word we use.
So why not use a word that will allow us to feel better? Words that allow us to feel a sense of ease and expansion.
To adapt, to change to fit, change or modify to suit a new environment, sounds like a real effort. It sounds like discomfort.
To harmonise, to produce a pleasing combination, sounds captivating.
How we feel in a new country is greatly influenced by the words we use to describe the experience.
So what if, rather than always thinking about how we have to adapt, we could choose to harmonise our two (or more) cultural sides and allow them to become a composition . . .
Like a musical composition, each instrument being distinctly itself, with its own tonality, adding its own vibration, depth and meaning to the whole, creating an enormously pleasing harmony.
Could you consider all the aspects of yourself to be your own symphony?
Where the elements of all of your varying cultural experiences are equally valuable and treasured, as you layer them creatively around your essence, creating the increasingly fascinating symphony that is you.
You get to be the creator and conductor of your symphony.
Maybe we’ve always been the conductors of our symphonies without really knowing it.
Or without making the most of it.
And perhaps it’s less about harmonising with cultures, and more about the art of remaining in harmony with our innermost self while acclimatising to contrasting cultural experiences.
Yes, I think that’s it!
In my book, Your Native Language is Your Superpower, I have a whole chapter about Home and Identity, where we talk about being aware of yourself as a woman who is independent of cultural and family influences.
To quote page 57,
“Consider this option . . . rather than identifying yourself by a nationality, a language, a family and a history, what if your sense of identity sprung from absolutely delighting in your values, priorities, choices, pleasures, desires, skills, talents and dreams?”
That way, you could still feel entirely yourself as you allow a harmony to flourish between your heritage and your adopted culture.
Nothing about you changes. But you evolve.
You have elevated your experience of life. You have expanded simply by walking through a portal. As if you allow yourself to vibrate at the same frequency as the new environment, letting it in while remaining steady in your sense of self.
You don’t feel out of place. You feel in place within a new place. Bringing all that you are, keeping all that you are, expanding all that you are.
Ooooh, that sounds appealing, doesn’t it?
As I’ve allowed this thought to expand and evolve since it first popped into my mind, it feels more and more like it has the potential to be transformational.
But how could you actually achieve the feeling of harmonising with a new culture?
How could you take an enticing abstract idea and bring it into your practical life to help you feel more light-hearted, more inspired, and more comforted?
So this is what I’ve come up with so far . . .
It all starts and finishes with YOU.
Firstly, the you who is independent of cultural and family influences.
Be in touch with the essence of you as a unique person, your inherent qualities and your enticing desires. Your skills, abilities, personality and values become the basis for your identity.
You can absolutely love your nationality and customs while being a woman who is free of attachment to them.
Enjoy plenty of wriggle room to expand and grow and gently layer new customs and perspectives around your existing cultural layers. Like a silk scarf, you stylishly drape all your experiences around you, enhancing your allure while knowing that you can slide them off at any time and just be you.
And then, the you who is free to choose.
* Choose to see your experience with a perspective that feels uplifting and expansive.
* Choose to speak to yourself in a captivating way.
* Choose to start each day with a wink and a smile, in anticipation of new harmonies.
* Choose to add delicious layers to the way you show up for yourself in your days, all the while remaining stable and free in the essence of you.
So what do you think?
Could you, rather than changing yourself or hiding aspects of yourself in order to fit a new mould, allow a sense of harmony to come into play between your existing experience of being you in one country, and your evolving experience of being you in a different country?
Make peace with your evolution.
Feel excited about your evolution.
Maybe that’s the trick.
Maybe we just make it harder than it needs to be.
We resist the things that are too different when we could just allow them to be. We don’t have to become them. We don’t even have to like or agree with them.
We can just experience them and let them be.
As long as we remain aligned with our essence, with the part of us that is unrelated to cultures and families, then maybe we could breeze through variety without feeling like we’re losing parts of ourselves. On the contrary, we would be consciously and joyously evolving and becoming more.
Gently harmonising with the idea of our future selves.
And that’s gotta feel good, right?
Discover how to . . .
** Become the heroine (female word for hero) of your immigration story ** Build personal bridges between your heritage and your adopted culture ** Live, love and blossom in your adopted country with confidence **
The material really hit home for me in an entertaining and genuine way that made me want to make changes."
"A heart-warming, soul-searching, uplifting book,
with many laugh-out-loud moments. A clear 5/5 rating that presented itself right when I needed it."
"I feel important.
Thank you for writing this awesome book about our journey as an immigrant. Even just reading the intro, I feel important, as if it was written just for me."