I am ethnically mostly Armenian, with a large dash of Arabic and a smaller dash of greek.

My middle eastern culture plays a massive role in the way I see the world.

The people I grew up with have been some of the most generous givers with the biggest hearts you could imagine.

They would make space in their homes and welcome you with enormous warmth and hospitality.

I have seen more struggle on the (receiving) end in my culture.

Every strength left unbalanced can have deep challenges.

Extreme giving and self-sacrifice without healthy receiving can lead to enmeshment dynamics.

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And I am aware that I am generalizing a lot here .. so please bare with me.

In my culture, if we want to ask to receive something, we might go around a topic for an extended period until we get to our point.

We might even have our “elders” handle difficult conversations because that’s just how it was done.

At the extreme end, we might avoid approaching difficult things altogether because of these obvious challenges.

One way I have seen this indirectness manifest is through our discomfort with fully claiming our “hurts.”

It’s not uncommon for someone in my culture to avoid responding well to an apology.

Communal cultures such as mine can cause us to care-take heavily of others .. in ways that rob us of our individuality and our healthy entitlement.

Saying “I appreciate your apology” for one culture might feel liberating.

For others, it might induce shame and confusion.

With all that said, acknowledging that someone hurt us is an act of bravery.
It reveals our vulnerability.

When we continue to deflect the apologies of those around us, we ironically rob them of their vulnerability too.

It sends them the message that we are not willing to feel a momentary discomfort to embrace their gift of validation.

Our culture, our family system, our life experiences all play a massive role in what we have tolerance for.

But we can begin to slowly change and stretch our tolerance.

We can stretch by our willingness to acknowledge why certain healthy behaviors make us feel uncomfortable while we simultaneously hold deep compassion for ourselves at the very same time.

With love,


Silvy Khoucasian

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