Last week I spoke with Miranda, a vital, very sweet and kind woman, originally from South Africa, who has chosen Portugal as her new home country, after many years of living abroad in different countries.
When I asked her about why she has chosen Portugal, she said: “I simply wanted to give myself another chance. I’ll try this out for a few years and if it doesn’t work, I’ll go back to Africa.”
When I asked her what it would take for this journey to be successful, she revealed to me that in her last two relationships she had not been lucky in love, and even though she felt hurt and disappointed, she wanted to give it one more go and maybe meet a man in Portugal who was good for her.
Miranda’s desire to ‘find’ represents a very universal desire that people have in order to overcome hurt, a loss, trauma, or any other emotionally impactful event that happened in their lives.
Being a life coach for internationals, I’ve heard many times that people want to write a new chapter, make their lives better and find new meaning, simply because they have the hope that it is possible for them. This hope comes from a very deep place, a place so deep that it drives them to pack up their bags and start all over again in another country. It’s big!
I must confess that I truly feel passionate about these courageous people, as they are believers, and even though they’re not sure how to do it, nor do they necessarily have the tools to create this emotional better place in the future yet, they are willing to give it a try.
Writing this new chapter for yourself is about wanting to grow as a person and finding a way to allow whatever it is that will fulfil you into your life, even though when you tried to create this in the past, it had been disappointing.
To believe that things are possible for you is an actual opening that helps create and manifest the new. But it is also a process of freeing yourself from ‘old’ behaviour, from beliefs that you’ve taken on about yourself, the other or the world. Miranda could have taken on any of the following beliefs: ‘I’m not worthy’, ‘men are not reliable’ or ‘the good men are all taken’.
Of course, these and other similar beliefs can come up and maybe they have helped you to cope and make it through a painful situation. But the clue is not to hang on to them and to realise that these were just coping mechanisms. What you believed in that moment doesn’t have to be your forever reality.
Freeing yourself from ‘old’ behaviour
Can you recall those moments in which certain events from the past suddenly came back into your awareness? You dream about it or suddenly you remember the whole scene in detail. As if time doesn’t exist, you’re back in the past, reliving what was said or done and how it felt for you, even if it happened 40, 50 or 60 years ago!
Have you ever wondered why this memory is coming back?
Allow me to explain. Personal growth is like looking at the layers of an onion – by going deeper to the core and essence of the matter, you have to peel off layer after layer.
You might have processed and healed a situation on the surface, but sooner or later it also needs healing on a deeper level.
Did you know that every 20 years of our life a new cycle of growth and development starts? This means each 20 years you get the opportunity to process, let go and transform emotional events in your life that have shaped you and made you who you are today, including all the beliefs you hold on to.
We all have the inner drive to develop ourselves as a person, and when we grow individually, we help develop humankind and create growth in our collective consciousness. This is good as it also means that we all have ongoing opportunities to write new chapters!
I personally think that life is not necessarily meant to be rainbows and sunshine the whole day, every day. It’s a myth that we want to tell ourselves. I think that life is meant to be challenging so that it forces us to learn new things, to grow and develop ourselves, so that we all, together as humankind, will grow and develop.
In my vision as a life coach, there is a lot of rainbows and sunshine happening, but it is our learning curve to notice those moments, instead of getting trapped in daily struggle and pointing our finger at others because they don’t do the things we want them to do to make us happy.
Writing a new chapter
Moving abroad is an excellent opportunity to look at yourself with new eyes, to peel off some layers of your onion of beliefs about yourself, the other and the world.
In the journey of the move, you might want to upgrade some beliefs, and say: ‘I know what it is that I want for myself, and even though I don’t necessarily know how to get there, I’m sure I will figure it out’; ‘l know I’m worth it and I am setting an intention to attract the right people, situations and opportunities to grow. Also, I believe that all of the universe is lining up to support me in this, and I will be guided to take the right steps.’
And last but not least, ‘I believe that there are a bunch of good men out there, right men, men that respect, inspire and love me, as I will do the same for them. Actually, in my world, it is raining men! I will dance the dance of life with them and, whenever I feel ready for it, I will allow new love in my life.’
The Expat Centre Portugal helps internationals prepare themselves for the move to their new home and to build a steady network once you’ve arrived. We make sure you feel welcome, safe and supported for this exciting new chapter in your life.
Ria van Doorn is a life coach for internationals living abroad and founder of the Expat Centre Portugal.