Be Gracious

During my almost year in Mexico, an American who had lived there for ten years gave me this advice after “diagnosing” my culture shock: “Try to be gracious.” I’m sure I ungraciously glared at him. Mostly because he was right. It was up to me to accept the responsibility of placing myself in their culture. I feel certain I failed the gracious part at that time. Particularly when I recall a young American friend remarking on the view of the Tecate Mountains from our window, to which I asked and answered, “You know what I see when I look at those mountains? More Mexico.” Ouch. Decidedly ungracious. Decidedly a conversation killer.

And now, five years later as a social community manager and content creator for several diverse clients, I enter and leave different cultures all day long. It’s been a real joy to “get to know” some of the people in our audiences, to have conversations with them, and to have them generously accept me into their culture. Even though part of the communities, in some of the spaces I’m obviously not someone in that culture (and would never try to appear otherwise). I urge clients always to ‘be themselves.” And when culture shock rears its ugly head, as it is bound to do when off the cuff, less than generous comments are posted, you know the first thing I remind myself and clients? That’s right. Be gracious. Be kind. Be genuinely concerned. Be helpful. Seek an answer. Seek a resolution. Let others in who also have an opinion, and who may be a part of the culture.

I’m still personally working on that, too. Being gracious. Such a beautiful word. Such a hard task.

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One Response to “Be Gracious”

  1. Amy Chin Says:

    Love this post! Have a feeling I will be remembering these words, probably living by these words a year from now. Great job, Aprill!

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