Let me take you back to the 80s, to my small city on the river Danube. As a child, I could not sleep over at my grandparents` place who live just 2 miles from us. I had to be taken home during the night since I would not survive even just few hours without my parents.
Fast forward to 2019. So far, I have settled and lived in eleven countries and visited some fifty more on four continents.
How is such a radical heart change possible? How can a person so devoted to home and attached to family become a seasoned and joyful multinational by choice? The answer is mental transition which is in fact What Expatriation Really Is about.
We are spoiled for advice on the physical nitty-gritty when it comes to travelling and living abroad. And we certainly agree that moving away requires a lot of practical flexibility. Why do we attempt to live in different places with the same mental and emotional models and expect to feel happy and fulfilled? We forget to think about how we will adapt our head and heart to a new place. Probably we consider these aspects unimportant as they are unseen.
The fact is that good mental and emotional preparation can prevent us from giving up on incredible opportunities and turning back from possibly our best life anywhere. It grants us and gives a sense of balance irrelevant of the surroundings.
Your environment is not the deal breaker. How do I know this? Simple. What you fill your mind with that's your reality you need to live in. You sense your surrounding and through your perception, you interpret it into thoughts. And those, those create your feelings and emotions which then drive your act, decision and moves. It's a magical circle which makes up your life.
The challenge in front of you will always be the hardest, no matter of your location. It is your conscious choice if you focus on the dark and blame the circumstances for not being the same as at home or that you are at a disadvantage as an expat; else you take the bright side, use mental-flexibility and emotional adaptation and smoothly shift things over.
We make up our thoughts by giving certain meaning to a happening, which might seem logical but clearly it is not a fact. So, one must realize that there are other possible interpretations for the same event. We can choose a different one when the old is not serving us well in our new setting or situation. The solution for any hardship will always come from the very same head which once built up the nonsense struggles and made you lose it. You can play your mind. And win over yourself.
You might want to do the conscious work with a transition coach, consult a lifestyle specialist or join an expat-group; do as you wish but dedicate some time and energy to shift your inner world while your outer world is changing.
Ease and discuss. Connect with one or few trustworthy confidants or get a transition coach, and feel free to talk about your impressions and emotions. There is nothing to be ashamed of, who travels, knows exactly what you are going through.
Stay mind strong. Turn difficulties into opportunities by holding negativity on a short leash. When you face a tough situation, look at it as a chance to learn, explore, resolve, create, and improve instead of carrying it as a burden which you can't get over with.
Success has no universal measure. It's not a race, set your own pace to shape your thoughts and build new routines and habits. You should have your own scales and ways to track and rate your progress.
Celebrate. After all the hard mental-flexing and self-disciplined practice, allow yourself to explore and enjoy what`s available and abundant at your new home.