Is culture shock affecting you? Take matters into your own hands


by Ed Yourdon via Compfight cc

Do you feel disempowered ever since your move to the Amsterdam region? You might be suffering the second stage of culture shock.

Last weeks article briefly explained the five stages of the Culture Shock phenomenon. Remember, not every stage happens to every person and they do not necessarily have a linear progression.

So the good news is, you don’t have to wait out the time to get from one stage to another. Click to tweet.

There are people who have been living in Amsterdam for 8 years and are still struggling in stage two. Whereas there are people here for only a year who are fully enjoying stage four. What do they do differently?

Have a look at the five stages again. This is how they are usually called:

1. honeymoon stage

2. frustration or dissatisfaction stage

3. adjustment or acceptance stage

4. mastery or enjoyment stage

5. re-entry stage

In the previous article I started out by saying “I don’t like being put in a box”. So instead of sticking with these fixed labels and stages I invite you to re-name the five stages using your own words. When you do, give the stages a name that describes best your general attitude to that particular stage. For example:

stage 1 = fantastic / wonderful / interesting

stage 2 = painful/ frustrating / annoying

and so on.

What other words come up in you that describe the emotions that each of those stages create? For every stage you come up with one word or two that best describe how the stages feel to you.

Now let’s take another look at the names. Do you see how these perspectives express our ‘being’ condition –  a state that we are in?

The perspective you hold on something can either help or hurt you. The lens that you use to look at the world around you can either give you power to change things or can create a victim out of you.

So the good news is: these perspectives can be changed at will. Which means that if you are stuck in stage two, you can get yourself out of there into stage three or even four. People who are happily enjoying their new life after a year already intuitively do this or Amsterdam is so fulfilling their needs that strong feelings stay out.

It’s interesting to do this easy exercise with a small group of people. Let each person in the group complete the following sentence: “Living in Amsterdam is……”

You will see that the descriptions will vary greatly from one person to another. When someone next to you is saying something you cannot relate to, you might notice an urge to argue if the statements are actually true or false. But that’s not the point. The purpose is to realize that by expanding the number of ways you can look at an issue, you start realizing that you have a choice.

I assume you are trying to settle in the Amsterdam region because you chose to live here for now, for whatever reason. Wouldn’t it be nice to make this into a great experience and have the tools to change you perspective at will? 

This is only one of the possibly helpful tools to manage culture shock. More will follow in the coming articles!

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