The desire to emigrate

We often assume that people migrate due to political, professional and social circumstances … But we lose sight of this there are also complex psychological reasons behind voluntary migration.

    Immigration and self-actualization

    The reasons that prompt a person to emigrate are initially unknown. It is only with time that it is possible to take a step back and re-signify the deepest motivations.

    However, we know from clinical practice that the psychosocial motivations for migration are linked to four basic needs that are related to each other. They are: identity, self-esteem, belonging and meaning.

    1. Identity

    For many, the sense of identity is neither created nor discovered. On the contrary, those who migrate alone do so because they consider that a new physical space is the prerequisite for the development of their identity. The questions at stake are: “Who am I?” and “who could he be if he lived in another context?”

    The need to know the world is a reflection of our desire to know ourselves. It is only when we are in a space without social conditioning that we can feel free to explore our identity.. Anonymity allows the immigrant to cross the boundaries imposed by the culture of origin, which are often monotonous, oppressive and unimpressive. Having new experiences in other places helps us to know ourselves better and to feel more authentic.

      2. Self-esteem

      Deciding where to live, solving bureaucratic problems, learning a language and adjusting to a new culture are just some of the challenges that immigrants face on a daily basis.

      The development of self-confidence is the product of the belief that we will be able to do something because we have already done it. In this way, immigration allows us to prove to ourselves that we are capable of (over) living in unpredictable circumstances, while confronting our limits. Or, in Seneca’s words, “no one is more miserable than one who never faces adversity, for he is not allowed to prove himself.”

        3. Belonging

        The migration process begins before emigration. Immigrants often feel they have never fully belonged to their country of origin.

        The idea of ​​”feeling at home” has more to do with the relationship that is established with the environment and others than with a particular property, region or country. We feel at home in those times when we are unconditionally understood and accepted. Carl Jung summed up this idea by saying, “Loneliness is not about not having people around, but not being able to communicate things that seem important to someone, or being silent about certain points of view. that others find inadmissible.

        Finding a job, renting, buying a house, and building deep relationships are all activities that root a person in a physical location, but it is also possible to do this process in multiple locations, there is no need to opt for one. alone.

        However, systematically moving away from a solid center can lead to a fragile and precarious identity. For this reason, it is advisable to establish a precise point of reference to avoid feeling in “limbo” and losing the sense of continuity. There comes a time when every traveling traveler needs to stop and establish a work plan, personal and emotional, if only for a moment.

          4. Meaning

          At the psychological level, migration can be understood as an escape, but also as a manifestation of a spiritual or transcendent search. It’s about feeling that you can belong to something bigger than yourself. The big questions here are, “What makes us humans?” “And” what unites and separates us?

          Cultural differences, which at first glance seem unfathomable, they manage to be transcended when the same values ​​of tolerance and respect are shared. For this reason, it is not surprising that there are so many friends and couples of different nationalities who are more concerned with similarities in terms of values ​​than with local customs and idiosyncrasies.

          Living between two lands allows us to have a broader, less provincial perspective and to understand ourselves as an active part of the world.

          Bibliographical references

          • Achotegui, J. (2018). Migration intelligence: Manual for immigrants in difficulty. NED editions.
          • De Montesquieu, C. (1989). Montesquieu: The spirit of the laws. Cambridge University Press.
          • Goldenberg, H. (2012). The End of Belonging: Untold Stories of Leaving Home and the Psychology of Global Relocation. Existential Analysis, 23 (2), 369-373.
          • Jung, CG, Jaffé, A., & Borràs, MR (1989). Memories, dreams, thoughts (pp. 476-477). Seix Barral.
          • Maalouf, A. (2012). Killer identities. Editorial alliance.
          • Madison, G. (2005). “Existential migration”: experiences of migrant volunteers who are not at home in the world (doctoral thesis, City University London).
          • Seneca. (2018). Letters to Lucili. Larousse-Edicions Càtedra broadcaster.

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