Losing one’s identity is one of the premier worries expats have when they face a decision of moving abroad:
- Who am I going to be there?
- What am I going to do with my time (for those who accompany their working spouses)?
- What will I relate to… if anything?
- What relationships will I form with people?
- And what about financial independence?
This list of concerns can go on and on and, if you look closely, you’ll see that a lot of these questions relate to who we see ourselves as – and to how we preserve that in unfamiliar environments.
So how do we keep our identity and how do we feel good about ourselves wherever we may end up? I believe the key here is our relationship with ourselves. All too often moves and transitions produce feelings of doubt in our own abilities; feelings of guilt, feelings of low self-esteem; and feelings of “not being good enough, smart enough, etc.” No matter what we call these feelings, they are all about the same thing — we stop liking and set out to criticize ourselves. What kind of relationship is that? How much do we damage this most important relationship in our lives — the relationship of us with us?
The regular criticisms and nagging also create the recurrent feelings of “I am losing myself”, “I am no longer who I was before”, “my identity is slipping away” and so on and so forth. The self-critical mode takes over and it’s no wonder that we feel that our identity is no more.
For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.
Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.
If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!