Growth is more than simply reaching traditional milestones and living the life others want for us. And, as a GGI you reach that conclusion often way ahead of your peers as we make a decision not to follow traditional routes and living the lives of others.
Give yourself some credit as you are on an accelerated personal growth journey and developing the following awesome qualities as you go through the first few years of living abroad.
1) Self confidence
Trying new things? Facing your fears whether that be walking into a room of 20 strangers to try to make friends or jumping out of a plane or moving to a remote island to take up a job that you have hardly any training for? Of course you are. All this builds tremendous amounts of knowledge and self confidence to take on the world. The more new things you try, the less scary and more exciting challenges become. Your appetite for new experiences grows and as it does, so do you.
You are constantly evolving and adapting to your surroundings. Sensory onslaught, battling against red tape in foreign languages, drastic change and hit by elements outside your control means you learn to twist and turn and morph and adapt and accept.
Events like death, sickness, divorce, separation, job loss, or other life crises happen and the intensity and consequences are even greater because you are far from home.
But you learn to see that life happens, it always goes on, you find ways to turn bad times into learning experiences. You get through crisis upon crisis, becoming stronger with each one and you move on more prepared for the next.
3) You are mapping out your limitless future
You are quickly learning about yourself, the inner workings of your mind – the effects of your upbringing, education and culture on how you look at the world and how you operate in it. You are immersed in unfamiliar places and lives and connecting with diverse people who bring to you all that has gone before them too.
All this inspires you, pumps you up and bends and opens your mind to the utter limitless possibilities out there. You constantly surprise yourself with skills, strength and talents you never even know you had.. because they have been developing as you have journeyed.
All this maps out your life, tentatively helping you grow in a particular direction. It sets you on a more determined path, with a clearer destination which doesn’t have to be a place but a way of living your life, a feeling, a sense of true happiness and meaning that you are finding on the awesome earth we get to call home.
4) Self Love and Respect
You are learning to be so grateful for your health because you know that being in the most beautiful place in the world means nothing if you feel sick / are uninsured / are in pain.
You are grateful for the body you have that takes you across the world, the feet that walk you through new cities, the nerves that let you experience new touch and the mouth that lets you consume new countries whole!
You may have eaten too many arepas or sacher torte but you are kinda fond of the extra pounds because of the fun dates, the cafe hopping and food splurging that went into accumulating them.
Living a busy REAL life, you rely less on magazines and TV and while you may still enjoy them, you have seen enough of the world to know that real people come in all shapes and sizes.
You have seen too much to be vulnerable to marketing attempts to scratch away at your insecurities to try to sell you things to make you prettier /skinnier which they try to tell you will make you happier. You know that happiness is not ‘things’ nor is it external, it is experiences and a healthy nourished mind and body. You don’t compare yourself to others so much as you are becoming happier in your own skin and so are more resilient to the negative body culture forced upon you.
4) Love and Respect for others
You are awed, shocked, pissed off, delighted by so may people so quickly that you learn that each person has a new experience to offer you, a new thing to teach you and that while we are so different, we are all so alike. You see the connections between people and the strange magical invisible force that binds us all together.
Your empathy grows, your understanding, your patience and your respect and you start to be kinder and more helpful to others. You give more of yourself to others, to the world and that right there is probably the meaning of life.