Every country and its people have their own peculiar ways. As much as there is excitement and positivity in moving back home, many returnees have confirmed that with the excitement, there was equally frustration and even fear as they navigated building a life in their motherland.Whether you have never lived in Ghana before or you are returning after several years away, the move back after living in the western world will require a certain mind shift.
Inquiring from some Ahasporans, upon returning home, anxiety, concerns and worries from how to find a job to affordable housing, and the right school for their children were high on the list; and even higher still was how to stay sane. It didn’t take long to realise that their own mindset was very different than that of the majority of the population that they were now living with. So in a bid to help those considering the move to Ghana and those who are in their early days and are feeling the frustration and anxiety of this new life, here are a few pointers that you should be aware of which will hopefully help you to cultivate the right mindset and set you on track for a positive outlook which is crucial for success in any new country!
Acceptance and Contentment
Being content and having acceptance of what you have and where you are is a character discipline we must all strive to achieve. Yes, it’s not always easy to accept that with a change of environment there will be a change of what you are used to. Experiencing inferior quality of things compared to what you are used to from your former country, a lower level of service in a restaurant or the untimeliness of a date who you’ve arranged an appointment with are sure to set frustration abound.
However, we have to be aware that without contentment you are always looking toward the future or reminiscing about the past, never enjoying the present moment. This lack of contentment for the present usually brings about sadness, dissatisfaction and distress. To rise above any negative situation, we must look within and ask, how much does this really matter in the grander scheme of things? Is it something worth ruining my peace over? If the answer is even 80% in the negative, then just let it go. Remember, contentment is independent of material things, what we have, who surrounds us and our environment. Contentment comes from the heart. The true source of happiness and contentment is within ourselves.
Attitude and Gratitude
How you view anything is how you view everything! Realising that your attitude to this new country you’ve chosen to live in is the key to how successful you are (and will be), is paramount. It’s been said that you always get more of what you focus on. So choose to focus on what’s great about the country you are in and more great things will pop up for you each day. Seeing the brightness of your new life is a turning point in the mindset of many returnees. Focus on your new experiences, the character strength you are developing, even how far you’ve come in making such a bold move to return to Ghana, and these perspectives usually push us to be more optimistic and motivated, enabling us to breeze through any perceived challenges with ease.
With a new positive attitude you’ll also tune in to how many things you have to be grateful for each day. For me, even something as small as not getting junk mail through my letterbox keeps me grateful! So spend each morning or night recalling at least three things that you are grateful for in this new country and I promise you that most of your burdens will be more bearable. Can someone say “summer year round?! :-)”.
The initial months after landing in new country are usually stressful, but if you develop an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude, you will focus more on what you are blessed with – a new country, new opportunities and a chance to direct your life as you please.
Changing your attitude changes your life. So are you a glass half empty or a glass half full? It’s all up to you.
No Complaining and No Comparing
We could go on and on about how wrong things are here and compare every experience in this new country with that of our former, but that approach is just not healthy and solves nothing! Constant complaining brings no benefit to anything or anyone and can actually be classed as the poorest form of thought.
It’s true that life is not always easy and sometimes things seem unfair, but a spirit of discontentment takes us nowhere. We often complain because complaining is easier then finding out what should actually be done. I suggest focusing on solutions rather than mindless complaining. Nobody likes a complainer and anyone who does is just looking for company in their miserable state.
Complaining and comparing blocks the mind from finding solutions to the very issues you have, and even blocks the awareness that not every issue has an immediate solution. We have to be mindful that when a solution can’t immediately be found, we have to accept the situation as it is or just let go. This approach leads to a much healthier state of mind, and with a more relaxed and grateful mindset you’ll find that solutions to problems come up much more frequently. You are not alone.
Know that others have experienced same or similar issues, so never get discouraged. Find your tribe and share your experiences with each other. Not only will it help to offload and vent (which at times is all we need to feel better), discussing and sharing experiences can suddenly throw light on a solution to what seemed like an impossible situation. We all have tough times, whether you don’t know a soul in Ghana before or your ‘connected’ to the top. Also recognise that the up and down feelings you have will not last forever, have patience and believe that it’s just a matter of time before everything falls into place and the life that is right for you in this new country is created.
Moving from one country to another is a HUGE step for anyone. There are so many details to take into consideration prior to the move and even in the first few years after you first get there. The peculiarities of a country’s systems (legal and social) are unique and until you are familiar with these systems they remain challenging. Navigating immigration, new jobs and even culture and social practices will at best feel alien and at worst seem downright ridiculous!
Instead of dwelling on the bad stuff and how different everything is compared with the country you just left, make it your central goal to change all seemingly negative situations into a positive learning experience. Remember not just why you made the move to leave your former country but also the purpose you wished to fulfill in this new country!
Remember, in changing your mindset, you are guaranteed to enjoy the best possible time at home.
by ANITA WILLIAMS