What makes an expatriation a success or not? Regardless of what it brings your way through your expat exprience, your every day choice is simple to make your expatriation experience a success : love or fear?
What is your state of mind? Do you fear or love your expatriation?
I was reading an article this morning on « The science of Happiness » : « Why complaining is literally killing you » by Steven Parton. It made me think about us, the community of expats, half of the population of Luxembourg, that have a simple choice every day to live a successful expatriation: love or fear.
Do we embrace the challenge of living in a different country and culture ? Do we enjoy every new discovery as a gift to our lives ? Do we accept every difficult moment as a challenge ? Do we see the cultural differences as a rewarding gift to our lives ? Do we love that expatriation as a new experience which makes us stronger and more rich ?
Or do we complain about the differences and incomprehension, misunderstandings with people met ? Do we grumble when we face the difficulty of making ourselves understood by people living in the new country, not finding our favourite brand of yogurt or not being able to understand the basic news on the newspaper? Do we fear every moment as another obstacle we won’t be able to overcome ?
I agree that having to settle in a different country and culture can feel like climbing the Everest without having being prepared for it. But as the above-mentioned article explains, achieving a satisfying life style, and especially in expatriation process, is very much in our minds.
Thinking positive will help you to love your expatriation
Some people would say that this does not make any sense. Well, I believe it does ! Positive thinking people usually have a more positive life. It is a fact. It is not that their lives are easier than others, or that they have less challenges to deal with but simply their view of them is different.
I am not a scientist nor have done research in the subject myself. I only have my own 24 years of expat life experience and my experience as a relocation consultant as a reference. Living in a different country than our own is a real opportunity for broadening our views and beliefs.
Really? How can that be? Well, when you live in the same culture your entire life, you seldom question the way you do things and why you react in a certain way in certain circumstances. Living abroad makes you conscious of your own values, beliefs and behaviors. You are exposed to different ways of doing things, different perceptions of what is right and different views as to what is really important. All this might be confusing and upsetting or enlightening and surprising. It is up to you how you want to live this experience of expatriation. After all, it is your choice: you either love or fear.
Share your fears to love your expatriation !
My suggestion is: LOVE ! To increase the chances of love winning the battle, share your fears. You will be surprised to see many others expats feel the same way. Together it is easier to overcome fear in this expatriation experience.
In addition, have positive people around you and be the positive person for others. Make the effort to see and build the bridges. By the way, do you know why Pont Adolphe in Luxembourg is called this way? You will be surprised !
Enjoy your day and make your choice. Mine is love!