So today, I wanted to touch a little on cultural differences and perception of people based on their culture. Enjoy!
Here is something I have been thinking about recently. Culture, is it something that you could adapt to, or is it something you’re just used to and it’s not something that you would be able to change in a person. First of all, if you have to change something in a person in order to like them or to make them an ideal friend, then maybe it’s not the right person for you. But this obviously just something that I’m rhetorically saying, is it possible or not? Is it something engrained in a person or is it something that most people adapt to.
I suppose the objective point from which I have been looking at is that I personally feel that it is really down to personality and how cultural their background is in terms of their upbringing and also their stance on things such as having a more liberal or conservative viewpoint. But then again, speaking personally, I know that I am a much conservative person when it comes to things like marriage, and also my idea of work. However, in terms of my religious, political and generally my worldview, I consider myself a liberal. I don’t believe in judgement although I also believe that as humans the first thing we do is judge when we meet someone or if we are faced with a situation. But then again, I came up with the philosophy that every first impression is a judgement and I have never stepped back from it, I still believe this is true and secretly we analyse people and make judgements about them because 1) We’re cautious people and we don’t want to get hurt because of things that has happened in the past 2) We want to understand why someone does the things that they do or 3) We’re not convinced that who someone says they are is truly who they are.
Whatever it is, I think that as human beings we judge people at every opportunity that we get and sometimes, we reflect and change our mindset, at other times, we need something to happen for us to think differently about a person and at other times, we try to convince ourselves to consolidate our first impression that we have had for a person. Why would we try to consolidate our first impression you may ask? Well, if it is a negative one that we’ve had in the beginning, whether it was a bad day that someone was having and then leading you to dislike them or it is a good impression that we have of someone and we’re trying to not change our feelings just because we’ve heard something about them, or because we have not experienced it for ourselves or even if we’re just in denial. The former could be because we dislike them due to their relationship with someone, such as someone else calling your best friend their best friend or whether it’s a romantic form, or maybe you just don’t like them for no reason at all. Whatever the reasons may be, I think that everyone has ulterior motives and sometimes you end up liking someone or otherwise, not so much.
But going back to the culture as well, how we perceive people, for example how they look to us is very dependent on how we are raised. Whether you judge someone on the streets for being homeless because they want to be that way or you judge someone on the streets for losing everything he/she had because they’ve had a tough time and has no one to turn to for support, however you view things is mainly because of your surrounding and of course, to a large extent how you choose to be affected by it. Of course when you are a child, that is the most responsive you are to other people’s opinions and also picking up these opinions, to a certain extent, we all know that sometimes, some people can’t help thinking a certain way, because of how they were raised, but because it is socially unacceptable to be or think a certain way, people do try to be different from who they are, or rather who they actually are rather than who they are perceived to be.
But then again, when it comes to adapting cultures, for example, a general notion in a country, such as how people approach family matters such as in Europe and in Asia, for Asians for example, it’s getting more liberal, especially in terms of relationships, no one cares if you have one, whereas in Europe, if you have one, you have to be sure before you introduce them to your family that it’s something you’re doing if it’s a long term girlfriend/boyfriend or if you have intentions to marry them and I see it to be true in a lot of people that I have met. But in Asia, at least in Malaysia, if you said you were in a relationship, your parents would just be like, okay and that’s it, they’d probably add and say “Don’t do stupid things” but that’s as far as it goes, especially in my family. But of course, all families are different.
I suppose it’s easier to understand other people’s culture rather than to adapt to it. Especially for someone who has very strong cultural ties, they would feel it rather difficult to try to adjust but then again it isn’t impossible. But one thing for sure would leave them feeling unhappy. So, I think in terms of culture, the more open of the two should try to understand the other than asking a very culturally tied person to adapt. This is not saying that the person who has strong cultural beliefs are ignorant, but rather it is just to say that they would understand it, but because it is not theirs, they often don’t see much point in adapting it, or wanting to adapt it and if it is easier for someone else to try understanding someone, then it would definitely be ideal to for the other person to be more understanding.
Till' my next post. xx