If we think of some of the “realities” we encounter daily as expatriates, we can probably come up with hundreds, if not thousands. There is the reality of not understanding a word spoken around you; there is the reality of not having the same foods you are used to; there is the reality of finding a job or a career after a move; there is the reality of maintaining a relationship with your family and friends while making new friendships… on and on it goes.
I bring this up because in one of the recent discussions on a coaching board, I read something that got me thinking about our perceptions of reality and how it affects our expat experiences. One of the coaches suggested that instead of looking at what we think *is* — and define our reality – we may want to look at our relationship with that reality.
Looking at the relationship is a great tool. In fact, I have used that same approach – the relationship approach – in my Culture Shock management program. But how do we look at our relationship with reality and what will that do for us?
Let’s take an example. For instance, take the reality of moving half-way around the world and finding yourself without a job or a career. The reality here is that you don’t have a job anymore and your career is at a standstill. Now what? How can you help yourself?
(1) Look at your relationship with this reality. If that reality were a human being, how would you describe your relationship with it? Hostile? Frustrating? Depressing? A struggle?
(2) Now that you have defined your relationship with your reality, think of how that relationship is affecting your ability to change that reality (if you want to change it, of course)? Is it serving you? Is it helping you move forward? Or does it get you stuck and uninspired?
(3) What would you do with that relationship if it were with another human being? How would you change it? How can you change your relationship with reality? How can you change it so that it serves to empower you?
What do you think?
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