By Yesenia Montano, LMFT
As diverse communities continue blending within modern life, a common human experience emerges - the dance between cultural and personal values. While cultural traditions bind families and communities together for generations, the unfolding of personal identity can surface tensions with those very same customs. Rebelling against your family's values can be damaging, yet losing one’s authentic self also extracts deep costs over time. We are then left with the question so many grapple with: how do I honor where I come from while still courageously growing into who I want to be?
how do I honor where I come from while still courageously growing into who I want to be?
Our cultural roots ground us with ancestral wisdom, communal rites of passage, teachings about relationships passed down through elders. Yet personal values also hold profound importance. Principles like curiosity, integrity, personal growth guide our individual purpose and meaning-making. When these core ideals feel threatened by a family’s or culture’s expectations, painful inner conflicts and emotions can result. The journey between worlds is rarely clean or direct.
Here are some things to take into consideration when exploring values:
Remember to be gentle with yourself: There will be different emotions that can arise in the process. Allow yourself to feel the pleasant and unpleasant feelings that will help you reflect on who your authentic self will be.
Acknowledge the values that align with you: Establishing your personal values does not mean you have to create a whole new version of yourself, there will be cultural values that will continue to guide you into forming your authentic self and that is okay.
Personal values are not set in stone: You are allowed to make changes to your values based on your life experiences and new insight you gain. Be encouraged to make changes towards your personal values that will continue to support you in finding your authentic self.
What emerges is an ongoing dance of integration between cultural heritage and personal evolution. We honor lineages and stories that shaped us while still boldly growing into all we can become. With patience and courage, we root ourselves in values allowing everything we are - finding harmony between worlds both old and new.
And if you need more support in this journey, feel free to reach out for a free consultation.
Yesenia is a full time outpatient therapist at TOC Therapy. She helps BIPOC adults break generational cycles and navigate challenges related to identity, work-life balance, and family dynamics influenced by cultural norms.
She guides clients in establishing harmony between their personal values and family/cultural expectations. Her approach is client-centered and focuses on empowering clients undergoing personal challenges to feel confident honoring themselves.
She teaches her clients ways to remain connected to their roots while maintaining their individuality.
She offers online therapy throughout California.
To work with Yesenia, schedule a free consultation here.