"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Maya Angelou
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.
... And here arises the REAL challenge: not being overly critical of EITHER yourself OR your hosting country.
Respectively over the things you have yet to fulfil, or over the things that its lacks in.
Negative self-talk can slowly, slowly erode your sense of self-esteem. And if you are far away from those who have known you for decades - who will remind you of all your amazing qualities, funny stories and support you?
YOU! You are the only one you can consistently rely on.
Become your first supporter and cheerleader!
This is a deep work In my one-to-one work, I support women to develop
compassion for themselves and their qualities.
Some simple ways you can begin this work are:
BECOME YOUR BEST FRIEND
Developing self-compassion can take some time. Talking to yourself as you were talking to your best friend is one of the simplest and most effective ways you can start with.
Having a supportive and encouraging tone of voice when you talk to yourself can help restore feelings of safety and strengthen your resilience and ability to face the challenges in front of you.
Think about the words you are using, what makes a good friendship and then think about turning this onto yourself.
PAUSE & JOURNAL
Bring a close friend to mind.
Their name is:
Compare this interaction to how you respond to yourself when you are feeling
vulnerable or upset.
What words from the list above could you use to soothe yourself? Write them down and try and use them next time you are scared or feel like you’ve failed in some way.
IF I WERE A BEGINNER, I WOULD...
Marta had tons of patience with her colleagues but not herself...
“I find making mistakes very hard to accept and have worked on changing the way I phrase things in my head & trying to keep the learner attitude to most of my experiences.
For examples, last week, my boss sent back the report with loads of corrections on, in red pen, I felt awful inside and wanted to cry, but instead of saying, “I’m a total disaster at this”, I managed to say, “It’s the first time that I’ve ever written something like this. I’m learning how to do it”, and by simply doing this (and having three chocolate biscuits) I was able to go back to my report and make all the amendments required, send it back and feeling good about myself for having completed it rather than feeling like wanting to disappear from the world and switch my brain off in front of Netflix.' Marta
PAUSE: Is something stretching you beyond your comfort zone? If you were a beginner what would you tell yourself?
Angelie was starting to get increasingly frustrated by the minor mistakes she would make in her day-to-day life. Until she shifted this by using humour.
'When I made a mistake, I was used to beating myself up ‘here we go again, you useless thing’ even if it was small things like forgetting to attach a document to an email. Now I bring humour to my failings and I smile when I burn the toast once again because I really needed to finish that last email. The word might not have changed, but the tone of voice is much softer and accepting.'
PAUSE: Could this work for you? What if you tweaked it a little?
WRITE & FLUSH/BURN
You know those times when you judge yourself harshly because your behaviour doesn't fit the vision you have for yourself?
“When my baby was born I didn’t have that sudden surge of love for her that everyone talks about. I didn't feel anything for weeks. I felt like I had completely lost control of my life as if a new boss had moved into my home and was dictating my every single movement. Everyone around us seemed overjoyed by her arrival.
A very clever nurse saw through us and said: 'Try and write whatever you feel on a piece of paper, your feelings about you, your body, your baby, anything that goes on in your head. Tear the paper & flush it away'. She was so right.
I started locking myself in the loo with a small notebook, wrote and flushed all my feelings down the toilet. And by simply accepting my feelings, I felt much better about myself and my baby. I’m sure the hormones kicked in as well and having a supportive partner made a big difference. But yes, I recommend it to anyone. Write and flush.” - Tara
PAUSE: Is there any uncomfortable feeling that you push down your throat?
Can you see yourself giving any of these practices a go?