The Expat Spouse’s Dilemma No. 2 – Who am I Now?
If you’ve relocated for your partner’s career path, recently or not, I’m sure you can relate to the idea around purpose. I struggled with this not long after we settled into our countryside home in the UK. I had left my small holistic business behind, said goodbye to my family and friends and packed up our home (and Chihuahua, Carlito!) to support my fiancé, at the time, and his new venture abroad.
I was super excited to begin our new journey together! I actually got the chance to live in a far off place, with beautiful sights, so much history and also get to know my “soon to be” step son who lived with his mum close by.
After several months, I started to have some doubts of who I had become. I didn’t have a visa to work and my days were beginning to roll into each other with nothing special. I still hadn’t made any friends and it was a little difficult on the social side of things (I mean, let’s face it… Americans are super outgoing and we mingle a lot more smoothly than most cultures) Getting used to the social differences in my new home definitely tried my patience but in the meantime, I was struggling with the loneliness while my fiancé was in the city every day enjoying his new job, new friends and making things happen!
There I was, waking up and seeing him off to this amazing new life in the city that I wasn’t really feeling. I started to get resentful, jealous and that eventually lead to a complete shift in mindset and that wasn’t good. Need I mention the climate in the UK wasn’t helping!
So… is this something that YOU have experienced? I’d love to know your thoughts around it and how you overcame your inner dilemma with it all, or are you still struggling?
For me, I felt like (and forgive me for saying this) a 1950’s housewife. All I had going on was housecleaning, laundry, shopping, cooking and the ironing of work shirts. I was labeling myself in such a way that only fueled my negative mindset and it only sucked me in further. I needed help!
I was missing my work, my clients, my family and friends and most importantly my PURPOSE for getting out of bed everyday and making my own amazing life happen! I had lost the energy and the motivation to get creative and re-invent myself in my new community and home. I lost view of the things that brought me joy, happiness and balance. I was pretty much a mess!
Then one day I woke up with the drive to change. I had to reach deep into my inner being and put my pride, negativity and blame aside and ask for guidance. That was the first step into my journey into a true mindfulness practice and lifestyle. I couldn’t really talk to my friends or family as they didn’t really understand my dilemma, after all (in their eyes) I was living the glamorous life in Europe! I knew I needed someone neutral, someone who would understand me and without judgment to guide me away from where I was heading. Someone who had lived the same, or similar, life experiences to offer genuine empathy and compassion. I put this wish out there and the universe provided!
I found an amazing woman who oddly enough worked in my hometown back in California and we had an amazing journey together! She helped me get back in touch with my intuition and with the mindfulness practice that I had completely negated through my ongoing negative mindset. It wasn’t easy having to move through my stubborn thoughts and beliefs but as I did, I felt myself getting lighter and lighter and starting to open myself up to more joy and peace.
Relocating is never the easiest thing to do as exciting as it may be at first. When you start to settle down and really “live” in your new home, community and country, situations and feelings might start to arise that you didn’t anticipate and it can feel really lonely at times.
One of the practices that helped me through it is not taking anything personal. Whether it’s your spouse or a stranger at the market, no one can make you feel in any way other than how YOU want to feel. This is a huge concept to wrap your head around but it’s so important when you want to live in more happiness and joy. Just know that people have their own experiences and are coping with their own challenges in life. Whatever they put onto you is never about you, even if they directly blame, challenge or try to bring you down in any way. Remembering this little bit can help you not to take on the energy or responsibility that others try to place on you. The more you practice and stay aware of this, the more you will free yourself from the negative energy around you.
Another mindfulness practice that helped me through this difficult time was becoming more self aware of my thoughts and body in general. Being able to truly listen to your body and what it needs is essential to living your best life through wellness and mental health. In addition, being more mindful of your thoughts and beliefs is super critical for creating more space for peace, balance and compassion not only for others but for yourself.
I encourage you to look into these two practices to begin with. If you’re in need of some inner balance and want to live a better life abroad, you need to start with yourself! Trust me, you will find SO much joy and liberation once you do then you’ll be able to get out there and create your new life with so much more confidence and motivation.
I had since moved on to get involved in my new community and created the motivation to help others through volunteering in a capacity that I love and I made so many beautiful friends along that journey. I moved out of the resistance of being myself in social circles and found that I had inspired many new friends to do the same! AND I finally decided to explore the arena of mindfulness coaching and received my credentials to offer my own compassion and guidance to others who struggle just as I did.
I’d love to connect with you if you have any questions or just wanna chat about your own challenges and/or goals. No strings attached of course, let’s just connect for the sake of human kindness 😊
Sending you lots of healing vibes!
With Love & Gratitude,
"Self awareness doesn't stop you from making mistakes, it allows you to learn from them"