The challenges of immigration – developing strength through courage

In recent two years, more and more Hongkongers are considering immigrating to other countries.  It is common for most of us to have friends planning to immigrate and even departing without thorough preparation.  It is quite a challenge for people in different age groups to relocate themselves in a new country with only minimal planning and social resources.  Young adults might have financial constraint and felt worried about whether they could sustain their living without a stable employment in foreign countries.  People in middle adulthood might feel ambivalent about leaving their stable job in hometown and worried about the adjustment of their young children in schooling and socialising.  They might also have difficulty in deciding whether to bring their elder parents with them for immigration. 

The decision to immigrate to other countries is beyond dispute an anxiety-provoking situation due to the uncertainties one has to face.  In fact, it is reasonable to expect difficulties and adversities when one immigrates to a new country.  For instance, it may be possible for an immigrant to be discriminated and face some unfair situations.  Even worse, one might be bullied by others in one’s social circle, such as workplace and school.  The bullying experience might sometimes become a trauma that causing emotional distress.  In the face of these adversities, one might experience fear.  This fear might be related to one’s lack of self-confidence to overcome the challenges and deal with the difficult situations.  It might also be related to one’s anticipation of a catastrophic outcome in these adversities. 

Is it possible for us to have a transformation after experiencing the challenges or adversities?  First of all, when we are being confronted by challenges and adversities, we need to embrace the anxiety and fear associated with these difficulties.  In fact, the courage of facing our challenges and adversities is to cope with the situation with our fear and anxiety being with us.  For instance, I had an experience of embracing my fear of facing a very difficult client.  By embracing my fear and not trying to get rid of the fear, I face the client with courage.  Second, when we are willing to face the challenges with courage, we ground ourselves for making a thorough preparation for coping with the adversities.  For example, mindfulness meditation is one of the effective ways to ground myself when I need to prepare for facing difficult situations.

Third, after being confronted by the difficult situations, we may embrace any uncomfortable feelings with self-compassion.  Being compassionate to ourselves that we are human beings and have our own limitations is very important for us to cultivate acceptance of what have happened to us.  It is helpful if we plan some resting and relaxing activities after being confronted by challenges and difficult situations.  Fourth, when our emotions are settled, we can reflect on the situations and garner meaning form the adversities experience.  It is at this point, we are transformed by facing this challenges and have a personal growth.  This process of facing the challenges and adversities with our courage will result in the further development of our inner strength.  It is with this increased inner strength we can face even higher level of challenges and difficulties in the future.

Immigration is a great challenge for most of the people.  Psychological preparation for the possible adversities is important given the enormous uncertainties one is facing.  If you are experiencing fear and anxiety in the face of relocation currently, you may face the fear and anxiety with an approaching attitude instead of avoiding tendency.  To face our challenges with courage means to embrace our fear and cope with the difficulties with thorough preparation.  Whether or not you are planning for immigration, let’s face our life challenges with courage and prepare ourselves for a possible transformation and growth.

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