Learning from Envy while an Expat

I FEEL SO ENVIOUS I COULD EXPLODE! – A client, 6 months being an expat

It was very powerful. After I decided to start this series of post (and statements) about all emotions being helpful, I have experienced many moments like this one:
A lovely client, an expat for almost 6 months, started to talk about how her life abroad is far from what she expected to be.

She described how she was feeling, providing many words and descriptions. After almost 40 minutes and a couple of provocative questions, she threw this bomb: “I feel so envious that I could explode!!!!”. Crying quietly at the beginning, almost shouting at the end, and after she said it, she smiled with relief.
She watches her friend, who came to the same country where she is in “only” 3 months ago. This friend already has a job, although she doesn’t speak the language and has a couple of new friends that are helping her to adapt to this culture.

My client is struggling especially with these two topics: finding a job and getting to know locals. When she sees that her friend is getting it “so easily”, she feels frustrated, angry, sad. Like she is reminded all the time, that she doesn’t have these things she so badly wants. It took a while until she recognized the envy.
When she did, although at the beginning she felt ashamed and guilty, she was relieved! She put a name on it, accepted it and dealt with it.

 

How can you be learning from envy?

 

1.-  Identifying it. Putting a name on this emotion is powerful and the first step to feeling better.
2.-  Accepting it. It’s here, allow yourself to experience it.
3.- “Hearing” this envy and the information that it’s providing you: “why do I feel this way”? “what is missing in my life”?” which needs are to be fulfilled”?
4.- Take action. Take this information that envy provides and try to change whatever you want to in your life. (Maybe you didn’t realize it until you heard your envy)
5.- Talk about it. I know this is tricky because there is shame involved. Then write about it, express it. Let it out.

 

Reminders:

 

1.- EVERYBODY feels envy sometimes. EVERYBODY. Even if they say they don’t. Everybody does. You are not alone in this.
2.- Don’t let the envy defines you. You are not an envious person. You just feel envy right now. It will go away if you accept it.
3.- Mantra: emotions are not good or bad, even the unpopular ones are providers of information.
4.- As expats, we are specially vulnerable to envy. Don’t feel ashamed, it is common and, above all, it will pass!

If you have questions, want to share your experience or have troubles to deal with the emotions that you are experiencing, let’s talk.

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By your side,

Gabriela