Guest Article #44: For the Joy of Sharing

Cultural Conflict – Starts with you and your family

By Manna Abraham
Thought leader, mindful entrepreneur, international life mentor, personal and business breakthrough coach, trauma healer, speaker, CA, CPA and Founder- EMPR Method, Adelaide, Australia

Foreword by Venkat
The balance more critical than work-life balance is the balance between the independence we seek and the interdependence with others for a meaningful living. Our perceptions and beliefs become the wedges on which this balancing game rests. These perceptions and beliefs are largely determined by the culture of the times and one’s individual mindset. When these perceptions and beliefs differ from others, the principles of tolerance and acceptance bring the scale back to balance. If not for such a resolution, independence and individualism shift towards exclusion and seclusion.

Manna Abraham, with her long and rich experience as a leader in solving human problems, dives into the nature of conflict, illustrated well with real-life examples. In this article she explores how the management of conflict at a personal level in one’s family sets the foundation to management of conflict at the team, organization and country levels. In a succinct and logical approach, she shows how the inner virtues of tolerance and acceptance help us rise to our challenges for better living and experience.

Reflect on the concepts of culture, interpersonal relationships and the antidote to conflict as prescribed by Manna in her wonderful words.


Over 20 years’ experience in personal and professional leadership, working across Argentina, Australia, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, India, US and the UK. Manna Abraham is a thought leader, mindful entrepreneur, international life mentor, personal and business breakthrough coach, trauma healer, speaker, CA, CPA and Founder- EMPR Method.

She brings ancient wisdom and modern science together in enabling individuals and businesses to be successful.

“A Core belief is that Self-Awareness is the key to master your mind, body and redesign your life. Religion & Spirituality should not stop your personal evolution. There is much more beyond that”

Cultural Conflict – Starts with you and your family

This weeks’ conversations got me thinking about cultural conflict. Let me introduce you to three clients of mine – Let us call them Martha, Tina, and Rachel.

  1. Martha, a very efficient and kind woman, a wonderful mum, and an awesome human being.

She is currently struggling with her two teenage daughters. They don’t talk to her as much as they used to, and she feels they are avoiding her. And in our conversations, it became obvious that Martha’s upbringing is rooted in respect for elders and saying “yes” to elder’s opinions. As much as Martha likes to have her own views and opinions, her cultural upbringing conditioned her to give in and accept others’ points of view with respect and fear of authority. She believes her experiences will help her daughters to avoid the pitfalls that she fell into. But her two beautiful daughters are brought up in a culture of individuality, fairness and equality irrespective of age and gender. They prefer to rather fail and learn than being “told”.

  1. Another client Tina. Very accomplished doctor and socially influential. Her son loves plumbing and that’s his career choice. This worries Tina and her husband.

Tina migrated to Australia from one of the war-torn countries almost two decades ago. Education and accomplishments were their passports to freedom from poverty and mediocre lives. She and her husband made it and they are now well respected in their new homeland. But their son has no experience of what Tina and her husband had to go through. He loves plumbing and he wants to live life on his terms.

  1. Another client Rachel whose parents comes from very community-oriented culture. She is driven by loyalty and gratitude. She is grateful for the opportunities and loyal to her parents. She is a kind-hearted woman, great mum and a wonderful wife, daughter, sister, colleague and so on.

Her three kids in their twenties do not appreciate the loudness of their families and the obvious cultural differences from their friends’ families such as” No sleepovers” and the incessant need for approval from aunts, uncles and neighbors in the community. They say that they always felt uncomfortable to bring friends home because of the above differences. They share a love hate relationship to their backgrounds which Rachel struggles with.

Martha, Tina, and Rachel are representing the dilemma and conflict that every migrant family is facing. Migrant families who are hardworking and leaving their homelands for various reasons such as war, better life for themselves or creating a future for the next generation.

“One of the common reasons for cross-cultural misunderstandings is that we tend to interpret others’ behaviors, values, and beliefs through the lens of our own culture”.

In one of our conversations, Rachel admits that her perceptions of respect, family, goals, resources, and power are quite different from her kids, who are now working in global organizations and living in multi-cultural society. Just as important, not only do countries have unique cultures, but teams and organizations do, too. To overcome this tendency, it is important to learn as much as you can about the other party’s culture. This means not only researching the customs and behaviors of different cultures but also by understanding why people follow these customs and exhibit these behaviors in the first place.

I love this quote of Abraham Lincoln. This stayed with me as I worked with different cultures, countries, and traditions.

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better”

Abraham Lincoln

English of Shakespeare’s time and that spoken today demonstrates that languages change through time. Culture, too, is dynamic, not timeless or changeless—regardless of what cultural chauvinists might like to proclaim. The key lies in acceptance and tolerance of differences, be it your family, friends, or workplace. Conflict is a feature of all human societies, and potentially an aspect of all social relationships. For any country, community, family or organization to thrive, conflict is the starting point and one must embrace it.

By Manna Abraham
Thought leader, mindful entrepreneur, international life mentor, personal and business breakthrough coach, trauma healer, speaker, CA, CPA and Founder- EMPR Method, Adelaide, Australia

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Mekhala Srinvasan
Mekhala Srinvasan
June 3, 2022 7:54 am

True..The middle generation sandwiched between the “elders” and the “youngsters” always seem to be under pressure

C.I.SIVASUBRAMANIAN
June 3, 2022 4:49 pm

True generations differ. cultures differ. But if we are stuck in our own culture and feel that is the best one conflicts arise. You keep to your culture at home and ‘do as Romans do’ outside. It is not hypocracy but live comfortably with others. Be true to your culture and do not question others.
Cultural differences at home is a different cup of tea, give and take is the best solution.