Moving abroad is a perfect opportunity to start something new. Not necessarily a new job or a new business, but rather a new YOU. Perhaps tap into talents you never had time for or explore parts of yourself that you didn’t know were there. But before you do that, there are a few things you may want to leave behind. For starters, here are your first 10!
Stop allowing guilt to ruin your days. Feeling guilty serves no useful purpose. You don’t grow or evolve because you feel guilty. Nor do you become a better mother, a better daughter, a better professional, or a better friend because of guilt. So next time the familiar pang of guilt shows up, notice it and then choose to put your attention elsewhere – somewhere where you can feel good about yourself.
Stop being everything to everyone. Being a perfect mother while also being a perfect relocation manager for your family while also being a perfect professional woman while also being a perfect daughter to your aging parents you are leaving behind while also being a perfect friend is not possible. Repeat – NOT possible. Recognize it and give yourself a break.
Stop putting your own needs and wants aside. Losing yourself in the messes and stresses of the expatriate life and forgetting that you are special too is common. Children, husbands, employers, clients, parents, and friends are all in need of being taken care of. How much space does that leave for you? You decide! If there was ever the time and the place to engage in your passion and do what matters to you, it’s now. Remember that.
Stop trying to be someone you are not. Take the roles you want to take in life and don’t take the roles imposed on you by others. So what if people back home think you should be able to learn a new language right away? Maybe that’s not what you want. So what if your friends at home are surprised that you are happy not working full time in your new country of residence? Maybe it’s time for a sabbatical. Bottom line – take the time to discover (or remember!) who you are and be that.
Stop blaming others. Research has shown that only 10% of our happiness depends on life circumstances, while 40% of our happiness is intentional. So next time you decide to blame your spouse for taking you to this God-forsaken country or you blame the company for not enough resources, think again. Change your thinking. Change your intention for your life there. Change your attitude.
Stop holding on to the past. Yes, you probably had a great job and a promising career. And yes, you were financially independent. And yes, you felt like you were contributing. And yes, you have none of that here where you are living now. But you have something else. So stop peering longingly into the door of the past and open the door of the present. Discover what it has to offer.
Stop hanging out with the wrong people. You want to have a positive experience while an expat, don’t you? So why surround yourself with unhappy complainers? Choose your alliances wisely – remember the energy of people around you has a huge influence on your own.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself and commit to change. Perhaps your move wasn’t as smooth as that of your neighbor. And perhaps your spouse works much longer hours, your kids are hating the new school, and you are feeling like you’ve lost sense of who you are. Take that as a sign that change needs to happen to how you are in the world and commit to that change. Don’t skimp on resources here – this is the time to act and get all the necessary support you need. Buy a self-help book, join an online course, hire a coach. Move forward. Sitting at home and feeling sorry for yourself won’t get you anywhere.
Stop explaining yourself to others. Yes, you may have been a professional woman back home, but now you’ve chosen not to work. And you may have decided to indulge in a history class at a local university while a nanny watches your kids. You don’t owe any explanations to your friends back home who have been expecting you to start working as soon as you land. And you don’t have to explain to your family why you are not spending every waking moment with your kids. What YOU do with YOUR time and resources is no one else’s business.
Stop pretending like everything is good when it is not. If you are not happy, voice it. If you are missing something, speak about it. If you need help and support, get it. Pretending that everything is fine and that you are a brave soul who can wither all the difficulties on her own is silly. After all you can be spending your energy on actually enjoying yourself rather than pretending that you are enjoying yourself.
Thoughts? Additions? Comments? Shoot!
Find yourself doing any of these 10 things over and over again? To help yourself stop, join our Expat Women Academy where you’ll be given the tools and the curriculum — along with the community of women going through the same thing — to be successful in stopping them!
ALSO — To benefit from the collection of tools, ideas and exercises based on experiences of expats from around the world, get your FREE “A to Z of Successful Expatriation™” workbook by signing up for our Expat VIP list here.