I find the following five values to be the most important to me:

  1. Embracing Diversity: My multifaceted experiences, encompassing both my Indian heritage and upbringing in a distinct cultural milieu, have inculcated in me an appreciation for the uniqueness inherent in each individual. This value has been deliberately chosen, as I firmly believe that recognizing and embracing diversity is indispensable for personal growth and the cultivation of harmony within any community.
  2. Respect: I place immense value on demonstrating respect towards others, irrespective of their origins or convictions. This value emanates from my upbringing, which emphasized the importance of treating everyone with kindness and dignity. Respect is inextricably intertwined with the broader values of my Indian culture, which often prioritize the veneration of others, particularly elders.
  3. Collaboration: I cherish collaboration, as it possesses the potential to resolve conflicts and unify individuals in pursuit of superior outcomes. This value may not be explicitly linked to my cultural upbringing; rather, it is a personal predilection that, in my estimation, fosters robust relationships and facilitates success.
  4. Authenticity: Maintaining fidelity to my true self and expressing my individuality holds great significance for me. I have adopted this value as it enables me to explore my passions and identity, even in the face of cultural norms that may dictate otherwise. Although my Indian culture frequently extols conformity, I am of the opinion that embracing authenticity allows me to forge genuine connections with others.
  5. Empathy: I consider empathy invaluable, as it equips me to comprehend the perspectives of others, particularly those from disparate social and cultural backgrounds. My experiences navigating cultural variances have accentuated the importance of empathy in forging connections and bridging divisions.

In diverse cultural contexts, the expression of these values may necessitate adaptation in order to accommodate prevailing norms and expectations. For instance, while residing in the United States, I can openly manifest my authenticity and individuality through my sartorial choices and interests, even when they deviate from traditional Indian expectations. Conversely, when engaging with relatives in India who may be unacquainted with or discomfited by my distinctive expressions of authenticity, I accord precedence to respect and empathy. This modus operandi enables me to harmonize the pursuit of self-expression with the acknowledgment of cultural disparities that pervade both my familial and broader social circles.

While adhering to cultural norms, I concurrently endeavor to initiate meaningful discourse, which can yield an enhanced understanding of my perspective and values. In so doing, I can progressively introduce my relatives to the concepts of authenticity and individual expression, thereby illustrating that these values can coalesce harmoniously with traditional Indian values.

Navigating cultural contexts in which my values are not prioritized can be an arduous undertaking, yet I persist in remaining true to my values while adapting to the particular cultural environment. I aspire to lead by example, showcasing the merits of embracing diversity, collaboration, authenticity, empathy, and respect. In situations where my values may be perceived as incongruous, I concentrate on discovering common ground with those who may not share my values.

For instance, during my collaboration with dentists in rural India, I confronted linguistic and cultural obstacles. In this milieu, I employed empathy and collaboration to connect with my colleagues, notwithstanding our heterogeneous backgrounds. Our collective focus on the shared objective of providing dental care to underserved communities facilitated effective collaboration.

When traversing cultural contexts in which my values are not prioritized, I strive for patience, open-mindedness, and adaptability. I recognize that change and acceptance often necessitate time, and that cultural distinctions can engender a rich mosaic of perspectives and experiences. By remaining steadfast in my values and expressing a willingness to engage in constructive dialogue, I endeavor to foster understanding, inspire others to appreciate my values, and ultimately contribute to the creation of more inclusive and harmonious communities.