Foreign can be a lot of things. The mental structure starts when growing up in a particular household with a familiar setting. A comfort zone, let’s say, in which we feel homey, accepted and grounded. Moreover we create awareness of a certain action spectrum that we acquire by being part of a specific type of social group called “family”. By the time we are able to expose ourselves to society we realize that the outside world is diverse, yet unknown. For the first time we experience a distinction between “I” and “them”. It can be just as small as a different greeting gesture or an eating habit. However, we establish an understanding of how people and things may be foreign to us. The most natural reaction is to sense discomfort. Certainly not from feeling despised or rejected, but due to the simple fact that someone or something appears unknown to us. WELCOME TO CW #19: FOREIGN!


The word “foreign” derives from Latin fores (noun) meaning “door” and foris (adv.) meaning “outside”, literally referring to the outside of doors. Its Old French extension forain includes the description of “strange” for the first time. Therefore, when speaking of forain people, society referred to an individual or a group being born in another country than theirs. Apart from this, in 1300, places outside the boundaries of a country or a person were called forain. For this reason it was closely associated with nationalities which created a feeling of belonging. In that sense, a door is not merely a fraction of a house, but much more a metaphor to express its depth of uncertainty and unfamiliarity. A door illustrates the end of a secure place called “home” and at the same time the entrance to an unknown and adventurous world. Because anything that happens outside the familiar and protected area is new!

Foreign is something or someone unknown, a matter we have not collected any information on. If something or somebody appears foreign to us we initially feel scared because it’s unfamiliar. In other words, the confrontation of the foreign and the trusted leads to an irritation which in fact can be a good thing depending on our reaction. Usually, out of security reasons, we do not like to rely on uncertainties. Think of a barking dog standing in front of you. Since many of us have not studied animals’ behavior, such a situation will lead to fear or even anxiety, when actually we are lacking coping strategies to manage a setting like this.

Any type of growth lives off irritation because it demonstrates useless strategies, the gap between failure and success to be filled. It enables the development of new mental structures since there is a need. Practicing this type of mindset will consequently lead to progress. Furthermore we encourage the act of establishing coping strategies that are a necessity in order to manage life situations. Consider this as a tool we are highly in need of.

The following two images display two possible variations in terms of personal attitude. I have chosen this structure because it presents the mental development clearly that ultimately influences and creates 1. Cognition, 2. Emotion and 3. Behavior. Further, the way our personal mindset is build affects action and reaction, thus damages or favors life settings. The first image describes progress based on a negative mindset. The leading phrase says: “There is nothing new for me to learn.”.

negative attitude


A negative structure like this disables growth because it leads to rejection and avoidance. Basically, there is not much space of interaction with oneself, meaning there is no growth due to reticence towards new ideas of thinking and behavior. Whereas the second image, displaying progress based on a positive mindset enables development. The leading phrase says: “Every day there is something new for me to learn.”. Its most valuable feature is the approval of the unknown. By establishing a welcoming mindset we make growth possible. Eventually we activate the development of coping strategies.

positive attitude

This week’s blog post is the first of the section ACCEPT CHALLENGE. Within the next weeks we are going to deal with different aspects of acceptance, such as realizing opportunities and embracing the challenge. Starting with the approval of an open mind towards the foreign. Being stuck in a negative mindset will only cause standstill. But being able to grow means to encourage the unknown, the foreign. Through the unknown we are able to explore and discover a new way of life.

How does the unknown make you feel? Think about that and try to establish a positive attitude towards the foreign. Allow it to happen!

This is the end of CW #19’s blogpost. Have a great NEW week.