Today, I got really inspired by this article on things that happen when you live abroad. It talks about the growth you undergo when taking a leap of faith and starting completely afresh, about how much of a personal challenge it can be and how it can help you define yourself. But the post also mentions the inner division that many people undergo when they settle for a new country, how there is always a certain feel of longing to go back to where they came from and that it’s quite difficult to find that inner balance between holding on and letting go.
The article really got me thinking and made me reflect on my current situation. I am very much in the process of finding myself. I have a great household that I am happy to come home to but they actually all have a life and I don’t (yet, we’ll talk again next week after classes have started). So, I am on my own a lot. I explore on my own, I search for my running paths on my own, I have to find friends on my own and make certain decisions based on my own judgement.
I don’t know about you guys but I have a big problem with that! I tend to not give myself the appropriate amount of credit, I don’t trust myself to be capable of much and I usually doubt that I am a worthy competition in anything. But back at home, I wasn’t forced to really tackle any of those fears. I had a routine going on, I had my niché, my friends, my place in life. Now I’m here and suddenly, there is just me. That’s a really weird feeling. Out of a sudden, I have to ask myself what I want, how I should approach the day, the month, this year and there is no one there but me to answer these questions. I am not lonely but I am on my own, there is a difference and I am currently learning and embracing it. Sure, one of my big plans for this year was challenging myself and starting all over again, closing a chapter and being completely open to the new one. Exciting, exciting and scary. What if I am not enough? What if my own resources are not gonna get me where I want to go to? If there is no one but myself responsible for the next steps, there is no one else but myself to blame for failure.
It’s quite nerve-wracking but I also feel how, even only after a week, I have become more trusting in myself, a little more so each day. It’s nice for a change not to center my day around other people but only around myself. To ask myself how I feel about things and, not being able to take the easy way out (aka “Oh, I dunno..what do you think?”). Being challenged by having to listen to myself in order to change things that don’t make me happy. And, in contrast, to embrace if I have achieved something great.
So, here are some small things I started doing in order to get into a happy relationship with myself (it’s ok if you think I went a little cray-cray….half my housemates are into Zen, it’s rubbing off):
- In the morning, I get up, look into the mirror and say something nice to the tired, confused reflection that stares back at me. Things like: “Wow, look at your tan!” “Today is going to be a great day!” or “I think we deserve ice-cream for breakfast“
- Whenever something I did works out fine, I actually tell myself out loud (Warning! Weirdo-alert, maybe just mumble when in public…). I think it’s important to actively acknowledge the good things that happen over the day.
- Seek the sun. Depending on your location, that might be harder or easier but there will always be some sort of bar with a fake palm tree and hawaiian music nearby. Or something along those lines.
- Music- sing along as loud as you dare and if it’s only for one song. We all have the inner child inside of us, let it out!
- When something goes wrong or unexpected, breathe and hesitate for a moment before acting. Ask yourself if the reaction you were about to unleash onto yourself or others is appropriate.
- Before going to bed, look into the mirror again and either acknowledge the great things you did today or encourage yourself that tomorrow is going to be better.
So, bottomline: Starting over puts one thing into the center of your life: YOURSELF! Yes, that might be uncomfortable or unknown or scary but I believe it really is necessary. We spend so much time thinking about others and ourselves in relations to our surroundings that we tend to forget that no relationship is as important as the one we have to ourselves. Sadly though, that’s the connection we are most sloppy with. I am not saying we all should become hermits or say Screw It and move away. Heck, I can’t wait to make friends and build a social life but I am glad that I have this time to myself to realize that I am enough.