This month’s blog post is dedicated to National Hispanic Heritage Month.
What is heritage?
Heritage travels beyond food, music and lifestyle. It also represents the passing down of beliefs and culture from one generation to the next, also known as tradition. Culture refers to the way of life for a society to establish ideas, knowledge, customs, and laws together as their core values.
Heritage is also about who you are and how that identity manifests in other ways.
A choice for each individual emerges when they choose to represent their heritage and what it looks like for them authentically.
There are options to stay within the geographical location of where these core values were established, while others may choose to migrate away from this physical environment.
Here are a few questions that may help to serve each person as they create their own journey moving forward.
What are some challenges when migrating away from your heritage?
It can be a challenge moving away from your origin country and the things you’re accustomed to, like having family and community members close by. When you move away, the communication changes. It requires a different type of effort, interaction and planning to see your friends and family. Whether it be due to a new way of communicating through technology, time zones, or the changes in the way you are now living and operating your life day to day.
In addition, migration and living abroad can create culture shock. Building adaptive strength will help, in order to become better familiarized with the change in culture.
What is it like to explore outside of comfort zones and normalcy?
Someone who moves away from their mainland may decide to take full advantage of what they can learn in a new country, which requires a greater level of understanding for a different setting outside of their norm.
There may be different levels of expansiveness and lifestyle compared to how they used to live.
You can lose your identity by moving away, but there are ways to try and maintain it.
One way to maintain this is by seeking out other people who are from a similar culture. For example, they may seek out stores that sell their cultural food or clothing as a way to feel that connectedness to their heritage.
On the other hand, exploring outside of a comfort zone may actually create the opportunity for people to rediscover parts of their identity that needed resurfacing.
When we spend time alone, making our own decisions day to day, we find that our choices are solely based around our needs and desires. The things that align with us the most.
How can we go deeper to find this familiarity?
Even if the chosen path is to explore exclusively outside of their beginning culture, it doesn’t mean that they are rejecting their new place.
Sometimes people imagine that they still live in their old place. Some people move away and still only indulge in a familiar lifestyle, while residing in neighborhoods that resemble this.
How can we find a mix of old and new?
While some people branch out and make new connections, others will continue to seek out the places and people that remind them of home.
We find that the younger generations grow more open to that mixing because their country has become more integrated with new commodities, entertainment and cuisine. By doing so, I believe that this can help bridge the gap from one culture to the next.
There is no right or wrong.
Individuality is important along with heritage. We have the ability to explore and make choices for ourselves, but this decision can also change overtime because we are creatures of change. Releasing expectations of ourselves and others can help us find common ground, respect and understanding for one another.
Imagine a world that even if we speak a different language, we come together on a human level. I saw a glimpse of this dream of mine come to life one day back in 2016 living in New York City.
A personal story…
One day at work, a customer came in with their three children. Minutes after the customer began waiting for her item at checkout, her three children sat down on a couch. Each child rested on the next one’s shoulder and quickly fell asleep.
As for them, it was a moment of rest. As for their mother and I, it was a wholesome moment. The customer and I made eye contact and exchanged dialogue back and forth three or four times. Laughing, smiling and knowing exactly what the other one was thinking about the sweet moment the children were having.
Only the customer was speaking a language that I didn’t know and couldn’t even identify, as I spoke English to her. It didn’t matter what language we spoke or what country we were from, we related on an emotional level and had a brief exchange, even though we could not understand the words coming out of each other's mouths. It was so impactful and further grew my gratitude for the diversity of NYC.
No matter your heritage, we all experience the same emotions. Allowing our emotions and familiarity of those emotions to connect us, can help connect a world of many people that aren’t so different after all.
Macy Cassera is a life coach and freelance writer who helps others rebuild after loss and change so they can create a fulfilling and authentic life full of purpose. To get in touch with Macy, please send her an email or send a message through her official website or Instagram.