"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Maya Angelou
Photo by Laurie Ray
As you move through countries you might notice that your identity shifts and changes. Maybe gently, maybe drastically and you might find yourself comparing your tastes, values and way of living to those of the country you’re in.
While you do so, you might move through some, or all, of these common stages of culture adaptation: curiosity, surprise, shock, rejection and acceptance.
One of the most important things when relocating abroad is to be able to maintain a certain level of flexibility, as things often don’t go as planned.
When I first introduced the idea of Positive Realism to one of my clients Saskia, I didn’t manage to finish the phrase that she begged me “please don’t tell me to just think positive thoughts – I’ve heard that piece of well-intended advice enough times already”. As a worrier, Saskia, quite rightly, had simply had enough of people expecting her to just ‘not think about bad things.'.
The thing is, we all do. We all have negative thinking tendencies. We have over 50,000 thoughts each day, and it's estimated that 70-80% of those thoughts are negative.
We don’t have to choose between either following our worrying thoughts or initiating happy rainbow thought
We can choose a third way and intentionally switch between being realistic & optimistic so that we can harvest the best of the two worlds. We can generate thoughts based on a realistic evaluation of a situation while also being guided by our best ideal scenario.
Needless to say that Saskia found relief in the fact that she could be true to herself and keep planning for potential problems to arise. We focused on how to address the issues by listing them and how to overcome them. By focusing on what you can control supports you in ‘thinking powerful thoughts’ rather than just ‘happy thoughts' so that you can take action and do something about it.
HOW TO PRACTICE POSITIVE REALISM
With their feet solidly on the ground and their eyes looking up at the stars, positive realists have the powers to make good things happen in their lives, even in adversity.
PAUSE & REFLECT: Bring a challenge you are working on at the moment to the front of your mind. Then answer the questions below one by one.
1. What is it that you want to accomplish?
2. How will you know when you got there? What success would look like? Imagine yourself achieving it. You nailed it. You did the dang thing - just like you knew you could.
3. Snap back to reality: What challenges will be on the way? List max three realistic challenges
4. Build on your realism with another sprint of optimism and break down the steps you’d take to overcome each challenge. See yourself trusting your power to get through them.
5. Make some moves & get closer to your dream. Start by:
To discover other ways to stay flexible in your mind AND body download my guide: How to Feel at Home Anywhere in the World