My friend Kidecia recently published a beautiful blog post about embracing things that are different from what we’re used to.

Being fortunate enough to have lived in two countries made me more open and flexible in my worldviews. It is definitely something that contributed greatly to who I am as a person today.

The environments in which we spend a lot of time undoubtedly impact how we see the world. The effect might not be immediately obvious, because we may get blinded by our habits and feelings of comfort, but our environments do shape us, and often to a large extent.

Sometimes, the only way to understand this is to change your environment. It is almost guaranteed that you will notice things that are different from what you’re used to.

When that happens, you’ll be faced with a choice. You can see these unusual things as something novel and interesting and approach them with an open mind and heart, or you can perceive them as threatening and intimidating, close off, and retreat to a known, safe and comfortable environment that reconfirms your beliefs and encourages your old way of living.

People call this culture shock. The word shock implies that this experience is unpleasant, but it really doesn’t have to be.

For me, learning about different cultures has always been a positive experience, fascinating and intruiging, an opportunity to expand my worldviews. Sure, this may mean that at times I’ll need to look deep inside myself and question my beliefs and values, but ultimately, those experiences make me grow and become a better person.