Migration is one of the most complex human experiences we can live today. At the same time as it offers us opportunities, learning and great personal development, migrating means a change of context so profound that it often leads to difficulties of adaptation, insecurity, confusion, even a feeling of emptiness or of not knowing what decision to make.
Human beings are social animals and we need context to feel safe. When this context changes, no matter how many opportunities it presents, it still makes us feel psychologically and emotionally vulnerable..
In turn, migration is an increasingly common experience for people in Spain to other European countries or Latin America. In these experiences flow problems that seemed to be overcome in all contexts: work, social life, even as a couple. These difficulties are not the result of migration, but migration is a difficult experience that prevents us from dealing with all that we feel.
The migration challenge
In this article, we will dig deeper into what they are the most important psychological keys to understanding what happens during the migration process and most importantly how you can resolve these difficulties with your own personal change (and therefore not have “return” alone as the only option).
So that you know who is writing to you: my name is Rubén Camacho, and in the last 11 years I have accompanied as a psychologist and coach people in their processes of personal change, whether for problems of trust , self-esteem, emotional, couple, breakups, or oriented in the field of work (decision-making, productivity, labor relations, etc.). During this time, I have accompanied many people who have emigrated and have had these difficulties, not only Spaniards abroad, but of other nationalities and in very different destinations (Japan, Australia, etc.).
However, the greatest experience that I can give you in this article does not come from a series of academic knowledge (that anyone could assimilate) but from my own experience as a migrant. During these 11 years, I emigrated and lived in 2 countries (Ecuador and Argentina) and traveled through many others. I have felt the difficulties and the advantages of migration. For this reason, I want to divert this experience from psychology so that your experience is more positive and, above all, that it means for you a solution to what is happening to you and a learning for your whole life.
The difficulties of adapting to another reality
Until recently, migrating was an exceptional experience. Not only does this mean being in a different context, culture, sometimes language, etc., but this change becomes permanent. It is a process of adaptation that requires a psychological change, because first we adapt to this new reality, then the problems arise from this adaptation, and finally we carry out a process of acculturation (which does not mean that you lose your culture, but assimilate the new culture).
Today, we migrate much more. We live in a time of globalization where we often find the best job opportunities in other contexts, or perhaps it is personal or sentimental situations that lead you to make this change. The important thing is that in this process of such radical change unpleasant emotions arise as a result of uncertainty, such as insecurity, fear, doubt, or confusion.
These difficulties can arise at any time in your life. However, we have the ability to change context, to take refuge in deep emotional ties (especially friends or family). We feel abroad a kind of isolation that generates even more uncertainty and insecurity in us and conditions our decisions, as if we were getting smaller. Let us examine these difficulties one by one to deepen them.
1. Confusion (not knowing what to do or decide)
When we feel confused and have difficulty making decisions, it is a consequence of fear. Faced with the uncertainty that one feels when one takes oneself out of context and faces difficulties that can affect one’s future, fear arises trying to protect you. A practical tool of fear is to create doubts. We see the downsides of every possible decision and we are ultimately paralyzed.
As the days go by, the confusion creates a feeling of emptiness or loss of meaning which, over time, can rekindle the migratory experience. However, the problem is not fear, but how we understand and manage this fear.
In a situation of uncertainty, where you feel that you have fewer resources (emotional, social, cultural, etc.), it is logical that your fears are more limiting. In turn, it’s an opportunity to learn to understand and deal with how you feel.
2. Insecurity and Blockage
insecurity is fear applied to your idea of your own abilities. Insecurity makes you think: what if I make this decision and it doesn’t work out? What if I communicate my limits but am rejected or disappointed? What if I don’t know how to meet this challenge and my abilities are in doubt?
Faced with insecurity, we are paralyzed. But insecurity is also a positive emotion, as it helps you to be cautious and to make more conscious and considered decisions. However, the migratory experience can turn into a more intense and limiting insecurity.
3. Anxiety and distress (when the problem persists)
As the problem persists, fear, insecurity and confusion can lead to anxiety and distress. Anxiety is a fear that has become generalized, and in turn, generates shallow, rapid breathing that causes you to feel that typical chest discomfort. The problem may be related to your partner, your job, or your social relationships, but it always stems from how you understand and deal with how you feel.
All these difficulties, which get worse in the process of migration, can cause more and more discomfort, but we cannot change this reality or this context (they are not really the problem either) but adaptation is a very drastic process that we must learn to manage.
What is important and most valuable in this situation is that it is a learning that will serve you all your life and in all contexts. On each occasion that I have accompanied a person who had difficulties in their migration process or with other difficulties that they experienced as a migrant, the learning and its benefit have been translated over the years and in d other contexts and experiences. Let’s see what are the keys to managing this experience and making it totally positive for you.
Keys to managing the migration experience
When we feel anxious in this migration experience, we tend to run away. We believe that if we change the context again, the problem will be solved. It implies that you think the problem is in context, and that’s a dangerous idea, for the simple reason that it can make future contexts too important to affect your well-being.
The main thing is not to flee but to learn to be well in a different context. Your adaptability will increase and you will be able to feel safer, make more conscious decisions, and connect more deeply with people and the environment. To achieve this change, we must address at the root the internal difficulties that make the migration experience more unpleasant.
It is above all essential learn to understand and manage how you feel. Human beings are emotional beings and condition you for every action, decision, interpretation, relationship, or way of communicating or working. Learning to understand how you feel leads you to recognize your emotions, to discover what you interpret to feel them, how you manage them (through your own behaviors), so that they are more intense, long-lasting and frequent, and finally learn to manage them functionally, so that instead of so much fear and insecurity, you generate more acceptance and confidence, which will lead you to live more purposefully.
The second key is to work with your own self-concept. Abroad you are far from what you know and even your personal identity is at stake. This experience can help you get to know yourself, find out what you think of yourself, what you look like and who you are. value. Our identity and self-concept is actually a dynamic idea and changes throughout our lives. Being aware of what you think of yourself and putting it into play will bring you well-being and security.
It is also essential to have a concrete, measurable and observable action plan to achieve the change you need. Having good intentions, desires, or simply thinking about what is happening to you can be positive, but if we don’t act concretely, nothing will change. Going into action means you have a number of different actions that help you manage your mood and manage how you feel in a more functional way. An action plan gives you the commitment, focus and leads to the change you need.
And finally: rely on an expert companywhich does not guide or guide you, but accompanies you in its own way, so that you can reflect, discover what you feel and interpret and thus apply the necessary changes within you.
A transformative experience
Although migration is a difficult experience and over time the difficulties seem to get worse, it is in turn a unique opportunity to get to know yourself, to discover how you understand and manage what you feel and how you interpret situations, and above all, to initiate changes within you that will help you live with greater well-being, acceptance, confidence and security in your decisions. It is about being well, wherever you are, so that your well-being depends mainly on you and that the change is stable.
The migration experience is a context that helps you live this process. The problem is not being “out” (in fact, you are always with you) or far from the people who are dear to you (human beings can build important emotional bonds throughout their lives) but the difficulty this change of context exposes you to difficult situations that were already within you.
It is then a great opportunity to get the change you need and to be stable, which means not only helping you to be well in your migration experience, but in the rest of your life. and the difficulties you encounter (personal, professional, sentimental, etc.).
The way to live a process of change that has stable results is to do it with constancy, also with flexibility, but above all work with all parts of your personality: your belief system, your self-esteem, your emotions, your communication, your relationships and your own confidence. By working with all parties in a deep and practical way (implementing specific changes that will improve your situation from the start), you will make the change lasting because it will be part of you.
The experience of a session-only process can be inconsistent or can make you feel like the business is contingent. For this reason, and in my personal case, I do not accompany people only with sessions, but permanently: every day, for any need you have, without consultation limits, with tools and weekly sessions.
If you want to live this process and solve what is happening to you, do not hesitate to schedule a first exploratory session with me via Whatsapp. In this session, we meet, dig deeper into the problem, find a solution, and see how I can help you. You can schedule this session via this page.
I send you a lot of encouragement, enthusiasm and commitment. Everything will change if the change happens within you. That’s why.