I have lived in the USA for almost 6 years. Transitions are quite familiar to me due to moves from Germany to California, North Dakota, and then Illinois. At the end of last year I decided to move back home to Germany. When I told my American friends about my plans, it sounded much easier and more exciting than it actually turned out to be.
Life itself is a constant transition phase. However, moving back to a different culture and living with your parents again after being on your own for so long was more than just a transition. It was culture shock and self-discovery all over again. And as if that wasn’t self-esteem eating enough, I received nothing but rejections to my job applications. After 4 months with still no positive feedback or constructive criticism from any company, I felt like a car running out of gas. I felt sorry for myself and for others around me who had to deal with my frustration and low moods.
Until one day, I decided to change my perspective and start practicing gratitude. This allowed me to make peace with my situation and the stage of life I was in. I looked at the job hunt as an adventure and enjoyed every step of the journey. I reminded myself after each new rejection of Marianne Williamson’s quote “If a train doesn’t stop at your station, then it’s not your train.” As simple as that, yet so powerful.
Here are five tips that have helped me become and stay positive during my transition time:
1. Focus On Yourself And What You Want
Ask yourself what makes you feel good? What are you passionate about? Do what nourishes your body and soul. Be good to yourself and eat well. Practicing yoga has helped me to start being in the moment and listen to myself. Stop paying so much attention to what others may say or think about you. Remember that some people like to talk you out of pursuing your dreams because they were too afraid to pursue theirs. Also realize that people like to focus on you and see problems with you so they can avoid dealing with their lives and themselves.
2. Keep Your Eyes On The Goal
…but accept that everything takes time. Step by step, little by little. Celebrate even the tiniest victory, rejection, or new challenge. See it as one step closer to achieving your actual goal.
3. Change Your Perspective
I personally believe in purpose of behavior instead of cause & effect. Ask yourself, what is the purpose of your behavior (being down, pessimistic, worry)? What can you do to change it? Worry is really just a “battery eater,” it takes energy away from you that you could use to achieve your goals. So, is this negativity actually a behavior you’re using to stay in your situation? Remember that you have the freedom to choose how you react to a situation. Why not look at not getting what you want as a gift instead? Maybe this situation (not getting a job, being out of a relationship, etc) is exactly what you need right now for internal work and self-discovery. Trust that you wouldn’t be given a situation that you cannot handle.
4. Don’t Ever Take It Personally
After accepting my situation, I started talking about it. Turned out, I wasn’t alone. As of today, I’m still surprised to find out that we are certainly all in the same boat. Trust, that you’re never alone or the only one with such challenges. It’s not against you or your personality. The challenges we are all facing are pretty similar after all. We also share the fear of what others may think when we would open up and start dealing with our setbacks openly and seek out for help. Why are we doing this to ourselves? We need to remind ourselves that nobody and nothing in life is perfect. Rudolf Dreikurs once said “Perfectionists lack ‘the courage to be imperfect’. Yet perfection is a Utopian myth; it has no existence in reality.”
5. Trust The Process
This is a tough one right? I’m a big believer that hard work, determination, and perseverance are essential to reaching goals, however, I also trust that everything happens for a reason. I do believe that there is a plan for each one of us. I envision this plan in the form of a treasure map. We only add colors, little obstacles, or puzzles that we have to overcome or solve, but if we stay true to ourselves, focus on the positive, trust our gut and listen to our inner voice, WE WILL end up exactly where we were meant to be, and that’s the treasure of our very own treasure hunt called life.