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Self-Esteem Needs - Confidence, Achievement, Respect

Copyright Bill Watterson, Awesomest Cartoonist Ever. This one's for accompanying spouses without work-permit in particular: If you are used to being employed, not earning a living changes your sense of self. America is the country of “what do you do?” and the common lack of spousal employment during international assignments is the biggest factor of discontent. Maybe you’re choosing not to work, maybe you’re planning on starting a family, maybe you’ve never worked, or maybe you didn’t get a work-permit: living abroad will burst open even the tiniest cracks of self-doubt.

Become aware of your limiting beliefs that affect your

self-worth. Many are tied to numbers: the scale, the bank account, or friends on Facebook. If you find yourself spiraling into negative self-talk, try a coaching process called cognitive restructuring.

Cognitive restructuring works for thoughts or beliefs that are causing you pain. It helps you examine them and find more helpful alternatives, one belief or thought at a time. There are resources like The Work or of course you can talk with your Coach to get a personalized solution.

There are many ways to make a difference, even if you’re not allowed to work. Learn something in the local college or through an online course. Immerse yourself in the language and culture, you’ll be building marketable skills for your return! Learn to measure your contribution not in money or numbers, but in happiness, or time spent with your kids, or memories created with your partner.

What plans have you always postponed that you could now make time for? Write a book, start to paint, let out all the creative energy you’ve been storing up.



It is often said, Western civilization tends to follow the “having” and “doing” path, where a person’s value is measured by achievement. Eastern civilization, on the other hand, subscribes more to the concept of “being”. Consider the cultural difference in the two approaches: “doing” implies a person is the steward of their own fate, there’s the potential of upward mobility. “Being” implies acceptance and is often tied to the social status you’re born into.

Respect is a two-way street. As an expat, you are walking, living, and breathing diversity. What were your thoughts on immigration back home? How does it feel to be a foreigner yourself?

The more you know, the more you’ll understand what motivates our behaviors. Learn about your own culture and the one you’re moving to. Recognize behaviors are influenced by our values and our different interpretations of the same. The Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do to you” does not work across cultures. Apply the Platinum Rule instead: “treat everyone the way they want to be treated”.



My recent school reunion

I've just been reading through some of the last posts and found that I still owe you an account of the recent highschool reunion I went to! So, as promised in The Perfect Myth, here goes:I was nervous, but I brought help: a little Dutch courage and a great friend. Of course, the timing of this event was great, too. It was just one week after my Coaching Seminar, in which I had such a great time and ample opportunity to learn about myself, my reaction to others and their possible reactions to me, so its effects were still palpable. The knowledge that I am good just the way I am and that what I do is sufficient went a long way in making me feel confident. This self-esteem or self-respect if you will empowered me to basically just go in there head held high and confront some of those bad memories I have of my school days.Alas, the guys who had worst offended me weren't there. I can only speculate that their presence wouldn't have made a difference, because I had fun and once I was there, the fear and nervousness was gone. There were a couple of moments when I wanted to fall back into my old teenager-habits of pleasing others by making myself as insignificant as possible, but that's when my friend swooped in and sang my praises. I never could deal well with compliments, but I'm learning to accept them gracefully when they're bestowed. The way I see it, it's the greatest compliment that someone special thinks just as highly of you as you do of them - so why fight it? In the end, I had the chance to reconnect with childhood friends and I'm also more or less up-to-date in terms of village-gossip. What was most interesting though was to find out that people I thought never liked me when we were young now came up to me and we had nice conversations. I'm pretty sure I didn't imagine their hostile attitudes all those years ago, so what has changed? We've grown older and wiser and just want to get along with everybody? Perhaps. Or is it that my own attitude has changed and that maybe they're still behaving the same way but I'm now listening with different ears? I'm not ready and willing anymore to take any and every criticism to heart and think they're right. I now refuse to accept evaluations and comments about my behaviour as absolute truths and put-downs of my person. I understand now that kids sometimes lash out not because they're evil but out of uncertainty and insecurity.

I'm not saying all is well and miraculously everybody went from hating to loving me. I'm sure some people still can't stand my guts, and that's ok. What I'm saying is, I've found a way to deal with that fact. And if I can, so can you. There simply is no pleasing everybody, and it may help to keep in mind that there are people you don't like either. After all, we can't change other people, we can only change ourselves, our attitudes. Once you're ok with yourself, once you find that esteem and respect for yourself, the stuff other people say about you won't knock you off balance so easily.

I invite you this week to think about things you can do to feel good about yourself. In case you get stuck, call a friend. :-)

Til next time!