New Year, new opportunities

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By Steve Arnold (Flickr.com)

We could say this every day: new day, new opportunities. However we tend to become more aware when we change year. We look back and we make resolutions for the future.

There’s always new opportunity to find in change. However, we tend to avoid change at all cost. It just doesn’t feel comfortable. Everybody knows this, and global movers for sure know this.

Our human needs that were met in a certain way back home, are suddenly not being met anymore after moving to a new environment. One of those human needs, which unites us all, is our desire to belong.

In a new place we have to find different ways to find that same sense of belonging. All of this seems pretty straightforward but it turns out that when it comes to finding this sense of belonging, we really suck at it.

Belonging is central for our pursuit of happiness. What makes you feel that you belong? Surrounding yourself by people of the same culture maybe, who speak the same language? Or do you feel you belong in an international environment? The international airport pleases you more than the local bakery shop.

Last week I heard a story about a mother (trailing spouse) who had given her children their own little suitcases. Every two years the family moved and the kids got to pack their own belongings. When everything around them changed again, they would at least have their suitcases in which everything was predictable. Their suitcases were like their anchor.

So are you the kind of international who goes to expat clubs to feel a sense of belonging? Or do you rather go around the neighbourhood to make sure the local coffee house knows how to serve your coffee? Or do fellow compatriots make you feel at ease?

If you have no idea where to start, I have a suggestion for you. Think of where you can make a contribution. It might surprise you but being able to contribute is one of the biggest human needs. It shows best when people are deprived of it.

People who feel isolated, lonely and unhappy usually have in common that they think their existence is not serving anyone or anything. They feel they don’t make a difference in the world.

So when you arrive in a new environment and you have no idea where to start gaining a sense of belonging, think of where you can contribute. What are you good at? What do you like doing?

Good luck on your global moves in the coming year! Remember that if you’re not completely at ease in any area of your life, you have the choice to make a change towards a more fulfilling life. Why continue to settle when you can create an amazing life for yourself!

Would you like to have a conversation to look at your specific situation? I offer immediate clarity on how to go about creating an amazing international life for yourself. Sign up for a free 20 minute Skype call with me in the first 2 weeks of January by mailing me at mirjam@expat-life.com

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