As a life long expat and professional life coach, my goal is to help people overcome obstacles when they move overseas. Moving can be traumatic for some people whether they move 100 miles away from home or 10,000. Obviously moving to a foreign country has far more effects on a family or person than just moving to a new neighborhood or a new city in the same country.
I want to give you some tips about how to think and ponder about yourself since you’ve moved.
The best book I know about overseas living and expat life is by Debra R. Bryson and Charise M. Hoge: A Portable Identity: A Woman’s Guide to Maintaining a Sense of Self While Moving Overseas. .
Let’s start with the definition of identity. The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes it as “the qualities, beliefs, etc. that make a particular person or group different from others”. Bryson and Hoge ask four questions that help you identity your own personal self-image what they call the “internal view of self”.
For example they ask: “How do you view yourself?” Here you would even include how others would describe you. Are you nice, likeable, tall, short, easygoing, shy tenacious? Try listing as many as fifty words to describe yourself. Be honest.
“What are your beliefs?” is the second question.. This includes religious, political, national, personal. For example are you a god-fearing Protestant who believes in the right to personal freedom and expression, supports your country’s constitution, and wants equality for all.
“What are your values” is the third question. As a life coach, I love this question. It is what I really try to get my clients to find in themselves. Examples are values such as family, honesty, freedom and humor. Try to write a list of 20. If you have a hard time thinking of them, ask yourself what do I admire in other people? You often mirror in yourself what you admire in others. What qualities don’t you like in other people? Arrogance, self-centeredness, laziness? Then ask yourself what is the opposite of those qualities? Kindness, generosity, hard work? You can find the values you honor by acknowledging what you don’t like.
The last two questions are “What are your attitudes and your likes and dislikes towards life?” Are you open, not open, positive or negative? What is your attitude towards other cultures, people, education? What do you like to do? Are you a city person or country gal? Do you have a routine? Are you sporty? How do you spend your vacations? What is your culture’s view of gender? Do you believe in women’s rights? How do you view your body image?
Ask yourself these questions and be honest with yourself. I am interested in your feedback. Please send me an email with your comments.