One of the most necessary things you will ever do as an expat living abroad is letting go when you need to. Whether people, places, or things, the ability to let go can determine the extent to which you can embrace your new life with open arms.
When you move abroad, it is bound to be an experience that will require you to reevaluate old stuff at some point or another. For example, recognizing when the things in your life or ways you spend your time do not align with your new value system or goals.
One reason is that holding on may prevent you from engaging in new experiences.
Letting go of the past and making room for the present
It is important to try not to cling to relationships that no longer serve you. Maybe your best friend or family member back home is no longer your number one supporter because your expat life has taken you in a different direction.
If they cannot agree with your new path, there isn’t anything you can do about it. Holding on will not do any good for your mental wellbeing.
Also, if this relationship or friendship does not match who you are or what you want to achieve abroad, then that’s another reason why letting go might be the best option.
When you say goodbye to those who do not support you on your expat journey, you will eventually meet those who do—the ones who will be there for you when you need unconditional support.
Not only does expatriate living offer endless opportunities to see the world, learn about different cultures, taste new food, and cultivate new perspectives on life, but it also broadens your awareness of yourself.
Letting go means rediscovering who you are and what you want
Expat life is all about self-discovery, so take your time discovering what matters most and what you want your life to look like. This is one example of a process that an expat psychologist can help you work through.
The fabulous thing about expat life is that you get a chance to redefine yourself and your values and embrace change on your terms. And once you realize who and what is holding you back, living abroad is also the best opportunity to let go of them because, at least physically, you have already moved on.
That said, it is just as necessary to know when it is time to let go and when you should fight harder to stay in touch with people from your past that matter a great deal, such as friends and family.
You can maintain relationships with those who support you or make an effort to stay in touch, but not if it keeps you from welcoming new interactions. If some days it feels like you are putting more effort into the life you left behind than the one you have now, that’s a sign that you need to let go.
The idea of letting go is not to forget about the life you once had back home but seek ways to incorporate elements of it, such as cultural ones, into your life now that bring you joy.
Sometimes it can be terrifying to think about all the possibilities for your future without these things or people in them, but it is crucial to embrace change and make new memories with those by your side now.
Whether you need some help with setting boundaries or coping with the difficulties that can come with moving on, I can support you, as an expat psychologist, to build an expat life you love and cherish.
Do you want to know more about on how to overcome Limiting Beliefs of life abroad? Check my Workshop here
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By your side,
Gabriela Encina is an online psychologist specialized in expat women and supports them with the guidance and tools they need to feel confident, make the best decisions for their lives, build and maintain meaningful relationships and prioritize their well-being.
Her approach is practical, solution-oriented and focused on the present.
Gabriela offers counseling to expat women in Spanish, English and German.