Since this summer many expatriates will move to a new destination, quite a few will once again be faced with the process of adjusting to a new home and a new life. Regardless of how many times you’ve done it, arriving into another country and another culture isn’t an easy task. Changes that we experience in our living situation, in our friendships, in our careers, and in the culture that surrounds us trigger different emotional reactions. And it is often those emotional reactions that make it harder for us to adjust and begin to build a new chapter in our lives.
The stress of adjusting is often manifested because we encounter things that ruffle our feathers, so to speak. That can happen for several reasons: (a) our habits might be completely different from the habits that surround us now; (b) things we are seeing mirror an aspect that exists in us, that we don’t like; and (c) the values we hold dear are not being honored or being ignored. And so in order to understand the source of our adjustment stress, we need to first understand ourselves.
In this blog post I want to focus on how knowing and addressing (c) – the values that are not being honored – can help you improve your adjustment experience.
Moving to a new country can be extremely demanding – both in logistics and in emotions. Difference in culture – especially the difference in cultural values and beliefs – takes its toll on our emotional health as we begin to find our way in the new culture. And in order to find our way, the way we will be happy with, not only do we need to know the new culture, but first and foremost, we need to know ourselves, our values and our beliefs.
Knowing your values will help you remain confident in who you are and will help you adjust from the position of knowing and self-care. This is why it’s important to pay close attention to the values that are suffering, and do what you can to begin to honor them at least a little more during the adjustment process.
How do you do that?
- You identify your values.
- You rank them in the order of priority (as they rank right now, in this moment in time)
- You rate each value as to how much you are honoring it now (Use the scale of 1 to 10).
- If you honor it anywhere less than 10, consider what your life would look like if you honored it at 10. What would change?
- Decide on a few steps to take to get that value to a 10.
- Do the same with the rest of your important values.
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