Staying positive abroad
Blog by Natalia Veneziani
Moving between countries has tremendously affected my life and many aspects of my being. I no longer could escape from difficulties in my life. Everything I unconsciously was hiding from, was imposed to me. I was facing the most vulnerable side of me.
Back in my home country whenever my self-esteem would be put at risk or when I felt unsure, I had a million ways to get of my mind; there were things, people and places that I could connect with to feel good again. Abroad, I didn’t have my friends, family, places to find my comfort and recharge; there was nowhere to go other than to face and deal with my vulnerability. That, I found, has been quite difficult and challenging but it also brought me the most awesome transformation of my life.
‘Abroad, I didn’t have my friends, family, places to find my comfort and recharge; there was nowhere to go other than to face and deal with my vulnerability.’
I used to blame external factors like the weather, the people and the culture for feeling unhappy living abroad. And while those all are a challenge from time to time, it is not really where the problem lies. I had that attitude for a long time, resulting sometimes in hating the place where I was staying. I couldn’t change the people, their culture or the weather. So I felt trapped, stuck in my “complaining” mode.
Reality is, this unhappiness was caused by my own views, thoughts and feelings. It was caused by the way I looked at the world and myself: a lack of self-esteem and self-awareness. I did try to stay positive and look for positivity outside but that wasn’t enough because there was no positivity inside me.
‘This unhappiness was caused by my own views, thoughts and feelings’
No more blaming
Now I live abroad again for the second time, -this time in the UK-, it is an entirely different experience. It is amazing to see how much I have changed, how I can now face, see and connect differently in a so much better and healthier way. From this experience, I will share some of my insights with you on how I learned to get here:
- Be authentic – when you try to fit in because you believe you might be accepted in a new community, you are hurting yourself. It takes so much energy to be someone you are not! Just be yourself and whatever and whoever is meant to connect with you, will come in a truthful way. And that is what we want, right? Truthful connections.
- Stay open to all possibilities – with thoughts like ‘it is difficult to make friends here’ or ‘it is difficult to find a job because I don’t speak the language properly’ you are setting yourself limits. Get rid of those thoughts because truth is, you don’t really know if that is true. Most likely, it ís possible to find a job, it ís possible to make friends! There are so many possibilities out there. Open up to them, even if your mind can’t picture it.
- Acceptance – when we don’t accept certain things, we are fighting against it. We are fighting against reality and that causes suffering: it is a waste of energy. Accept what is, if you can’t change it. Try your best to make the process as enjoyable as it can be. When you are up – celebrate, when you are down – look after yourself. Nothing is permanent.
- Be kind to yourself – loneliness, self-judgment, self-blame are voices that you can ignore, don’t listen to them. Embrace who you are, even when you are feeling moody. Go for a walk, treat yourself with a delicious cake, listen to some good music, be your best friend!
- Be grateful – Be grateful for all you can find reasons for. Take notes of it every day.
Before I moved to the UK, I have had several expat coaching sessions with Martine. Some of the most valuable things that I have learned from these sessions was to be compassionate to myself and others, to see how far I already had come and to give myself credit for it, to not be so hard on myself and to find that many times (if not all) I set my own obstacles – which also makes me able to remove them :)
It has helped me to identify my personal mission and solve the challenges of living in my new country. I have gained insight of the obstacles I created and why. Now I am able to make the conscious choice between being uncomfortable and unhappy or being brave, proactive and more fulfilled! And at last: don’t take everything too seriously, enjoy the ride, have fun and connect with yourself to have better connection with others. Where ever you are.
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