Moving to another country is an experience to enjoy the present.

Moving to another country: an experience to enjoy the present.
By Citlalli Degollado*.

The first time I moved to another country was 8 years ago, I was 22 years old with a lot of emotions and expectations for the new adventure. Everything was new for me, I was decided to say goodbye to all my life back home: security, family, friends, comfort zone, everything that I knew was gone, and it was just me, my baggage, my flight ticket and all my dreams to live in France. I was there for 10 months, and although I can say today that it was one of the most exciting experiences that I have ever had, the path I had to walk was not always that easy. At the beginning I felt scared and nervous, I didn’t speak French and it was the first time I lived far from my family. The months passed and little by little I learned to speak French, the culture and the way of life. I still missed my country and all my life there, but at the same time I was enjoying the scenery, the weather and why not? All the uncertainty, not knowing anything about what was going to happen. Now, 8 years later, I am 30 years old and I left my country for the second time, in another situation but with the same dreams. After new experiences, there is a moment when you understand that change is inevitable and sometimes necessary, when the fear moves you instead of blocking you, like a spring that pushes you up and helps you to continue.

So, what happens when somebody moves to another country? First, it is important to know that it is a change, and as every change we live, there are many emotions present in this process: fear, nervousness, uncertainty, euphoria, happiness and hope, among others. Psychologically, this change is like a grief, because we say goodbye to life as we know it and we go through different stages, such as excitement, sadness, fear, one emotion after the other. When we move to another country, at the beginning it is the honeymoon, in this moment everything is perfect, we are excited about the new life, what moves us is the novelty and the desire to discover. After some weeks, the cultural shock shows up, the new way of life is not exciting, we have to learn some new rules and habits, and things like the food, the language and the weather start to have some influence in our physical and emotional body. But life continues and we keep going, after some months, we start to adjust ourselves to this new life and that includes trying to insert ourselves to activities and to meet new people. Maybe they won’t be as special as our friends back home, or maybe they will, but they will definitely help us feel accompanied, with someone to share time, feelings, thoughts, and to learn from the other. Finally, we arrive to the last stage, the adaptation is done, when we understand that even if we are not at our place, our identity is still with us, we can learn and change some things but the essential stays, it is an integration between who we are and all the things that we have lived.

Although the adaptation process is something everyone will live, each person will experience it differently and according to their situation, context and emotional and personal resources. For example, it will not be the same for someone who moves away with her family because of a job opportunity, with certain economic security, than to someone who is fleeing her country due to a social conflict. In any case, it is important to have in mind that adapting to a new socio-cultural context implies walking through different moments that require emotional work. Understanding that it is a process, a path and not the destiny, helps to enjoy it more and take advantage of the moment.

“Since we just have the present, let’s live it as best as we can.”

*Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist.
She works with adults and couples.
Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is giving psychotherapy to Spanish people.

On Self Confidence: Being your true, authentic self.

What is self confidence? Confidence is something that can only be developed over time and often comes about after one has either taken a hard knock or experienced something wonderful, such as a success. Both wonderful and negative experiences can break us apart so that we are left with our true selves. And from finding our true identity, we can then grow and grow in confidence. Often the difficulties in our lives can cause much pain and a lack of self confidence. We cling to the vestiges of our lives, unsure of who we are, where we are going and what will happen to us.

I very much believe in the idea of creating the life you love, the life you want and to be the person you want to be. Often limiting beliefs can hold us back  such as ‘I am not good enough’  , ‘I can’t do this’ , ‘This is going to go wrong’ . These beliefs, if we let them, can take over our entire lives. They can often be formed by traumatic events, other people in our lives or even a negative comment from someone you love or someone you barely know. It is important to unpack and question these limiting beliefs because it is only when we learn and grow and move forward, that we will find self confidence.

I know that for me, self confidence has been a battle. However, I am learning how to develop positive thinking and positive affirmations. Affirmations are statements eg ‘ All is well’ or ‘I can conquer the world’ , which set out our positive intentions to the world. Experts recommend we write and read these affirmations daily so that they become part of our subconscious mind. This is something I am aiming to do.

It is incredibly important to be true to who you are, your real authentic self. It is only by showing up and showing our light to the world, who we are, that everything can flow. We feel better when we create and write from a place of who we really are.  Whatever you love, pursue it. Follow your passions. Whatever that passion is. Don’t be afraid to be the person you are and the person you want to be. Act ‘as if’ and it can happen, but make sure too that you look after yourself.

I recommend the following books that have helped me on my self development journey:

Light is the New Black’- Rebecca Campbell

”You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and live your most authentic life’– Jen Sincero

 ‘The Universe has your back’- Gabrielle Bernstein

These books all talk about shining your light and being the wonderful, bright, creative individual you are.  If you are struggling with a crisis in confidence, it can help sometimes to speak to a therapist or supportive family member, who can guide you on your journey to your true self.

How to overcome negativity and manifest positivity in your life