I just received this in my inbox from the Psychology Network, an online forum for psychotherapists and thought it was interesting:
“We all think we know ourselves and are convinced that we know others just by reading body language, the way they speak, write, look.”
As I get ready to go back to Asia I am aware that this statement could potentially be rather dangerous for me to follow given where I am traveling to. In fact, I find it deeply insensitive for many reasons.
While I have traveled extensively now through out Asia, there are a variety of social and cultural norms that go from the more liberal (western clothing acceptable in the cities men and women able to be together in one space and work together) to more
conservative, (women in full or partial Hijab and no touching between the sexes)I am this time, going to a new country, one Ive never been to and which is more socially conservative than I am used to being in. ((Men and women may be separated in the space- No touching at all. I will wear conservative clothes that I cannot show my toes, so closed shoes for me)
If I were to make assumptions such as this writer does, I would probably get in trouble enough to lose my job in Asia. In fact, to make assumptions in my own country would be fairly narcissistic. What is missing is the need to reach out and check in. To ask, and to find out- “What is happening for you?”
In preparing to go to a country I’ve never been to it would be easy for me to make assumptions. Ive learned that in fact, connecting with people in that country and asking them “What is the cultural norms that I need to know?, How should I prepare? What would be a good way for me to teach in such a way that I get my main messages across in an appropriate way?” Keeps me in check and supports me from going down the rabbit hole of thinking that I can know everything by looking at someone or thing. It keeps me humbled and sensitive that all might not be what it appears.
Especially in my field which includes the arts such as dancing (which is prohibited in the country I’m going to). Adapting in such a way to get my point across but not be overtly offensive, is an art in itself and one that I continue to hone.
As I prepare to fly, I challenge myself to think from someone else’ shoes. While I very much want to make a difference in a person or community life, I want to make sure that that message come across from a mindfully created manner.
Marvelous photos! I have every faith you will do your very best to bridge the cultural divides you encounter, as you have done for man years.
Reblogged this on Jennie kristel's Blog and commented:
I’m preparing to travel!
Godspeed, my friend. I think of you often, with deep love and admiration.
I think of you often as well. So nice to hear from you. Thank you. You have always been a very important person to me in my life. Your faith in my abilities has never been forgotten. Thank you. Blessings to you and Ed