Is moving away the same as overcoming one’s own limitations?

Expatriation as a driver for overcoming personal limits

Whoever decides to move away and start their life over again elsewhere, on personal initiative or because she chooses to follow her partner, decides to leave their comfort zone, leave what she knows to go to something new and, quite often, into the unknown. This first decision is sometimes taken instinctively, other times after long, pondered thought, and in some cases, it is one taken out of necessity, while on other occasions, it is out of a will to change or to improve one’s life.

Depending on the decision process that has driven us to move away and on the personal attitude of each one of us towards change, the way of dealing with difficulties, which will inevitably appear, will be different.

Life abroad makes a person quickly deal with his own limitations, limitations that everyone has, but which, in such a peculiar context as expatriation, where numerous challenges will arise at the same time (cultural, linguistic, professional, logistic, bureaucratic) become more plain to see and, often, appear suddenly. The fact is that experience abroad forces the individual to deal with his own limitations, to consider them in order to attempt to improve oneself by adapting to the new situation in life, and this should be seen as a great advantage. This is a context in which there is an urgent requirement to overcome one’s own limitations as they are a determining factor for adapting to the new life. For some subjects, this can be a driving force, while for others, it is such a strong stress factor that it causes blockage.

What to do in such cases? Some considerations:

  • If you don’t try, you won’t succeed

    This is a seemingly banal concept, but behind inaction there often lies our lack of security and our fears (fear of making a mistake, of failing, of what others will think... ). Every time that we avoid coming face to face with a challenge, we convince ourselves that we are not up to it. Every time we shirk away, this immediately causes a feeling of relief, but it takes away trust in our abilities, it increases anxiety and leads us to fall into our own vicious circle of inaction.
    To illustrate this, if the new posting that has led you abroad scares you and when you increasingly have to solve a complicated matter you delegate responsibility to someone else, out of fear or through just not being up to the situation, your feeling of being incapable and, therefore, not suitable, will gradually increase.

  • The brave are not born brave, they become it

    In nature, there is fear but not bravery, which is none other than fear that is conquered (Giorgio Nardone). Fear is an innate emotion, that we all go through, it is an emotion in its "healthy" origin because it warns us of dangers. But when the emotional instinct triggers off inappropriately (i.e., when there is no real threat or with excessive intensity), fear can change into a very limiting emotion. Dealing with it gradually is the only way to neutralize its limiting effect. The fear that we have faced becomes, in fact, bravery.
    Going back to the example above: if, instead of avoiding the situations that scare you, you start to gradually focus, in the first person, on the responsibilities that your position involves for you, each time that you face your fear and you overcome it, you will increase the trust in your skills to manage the new professional context.

So what about you? What personal limitations have you had to overcome since you left your country?

Read the articles on Expats and the world of Intercultural Mind

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