The other side of the coin: when the strengths of immigrants can backfire
Not only psychologists, but also ordinary observers are sure that immigrants are, on average, stronger and more resilient than local residents. Finding the strength to break away from home, familiar places, familiar culture and well-established life, risk well-being and social status, break through in a foreign environment - all this requires a lot of courage, enterprise, willpower and openness to the world. Not every person decides to immigrate, and therefore leaving for another country often becomes an involuntary criterion for selecting people of a certain type, most of whom are more ready for difficulties than ordinary people.
People who have achieved success in immigration, as a rule, are able to achieve their goals, are capable of self-study and self-discipline, initiative and hardworking. They know how to cope with emotions, step over their own desires and weaknesses, and also be strong in spite of everything. However, these very virtues, indispensable for fully integrating into a new society, can sometimes interfere with successful adaptation and simply achieving happiness. Let's list at least three cases where strength and resilience can harm an immigrant.
The first stage of immigration, as a rule, is the idealization of the new country. It is not explained at all by the naivety or youthfulness of the visitors - to feel the charm of the "new homeland" is possible at 40 or 50 years. In fact, idealization, like other stages of the experience of immigration, is due to purely physiological processes - this is how our body reacts to stress, in this case - to positive stress caused by an abundance of new things. The effect of novelty is accompanied by an adrenaline rush and euphoria, which makes everything around seem especially beautiful and unusual.
Nevertheless, some "novice" immigrants, knowing about such a weakness of the human psyche, try to hedge against "unnecessary" emotions. Such people are guided, in general, by a rather reasonable principle from an everyday point of view - "in order not to be disappointed, you do not need to be enchanted." They understand that feelings are deceiving, and they try to remind themselves more often that "you should not confuse tourism with immigration", and real difficulties are likely to lie ahead.
However, the joy of the first stage, even if it is conditioned more by the peculiarities of the human body than by the objective situation, is given to us for a reason. It allows you to fall in love with a new country just like that, "in advance", without making significant efforts. This love, in turn, gives rise to a sincere interest in the inhabitants of this country, its culture, traditions, business habits, helps to improve the language and more easily absorb local customs, promotes openness and understanding.
In addition, the stage of idealization gives incomparable emotions, vivid impressions and an experience of joy, which, transforming into pleasant memories, then very much helps at other stages. This is the time to find new favorite places and form joyful associations that you can rely on in the future. Opportunities for joy do not come so often in life, and it is important to be able to appreciate them. In this regard, one can recall the famous "Patronus" spell from "Harry Potter", the meaning of which is quite true not only for the fairytale, but also for the real world: in the most terrible moments of life, it is important to maintain yourself with bright memories.
Achieving a goal despite difficulties and fatigue is an essential element of survival, especially survival in extreme conditions. Immigration is, of course, quite an extreme experience, and people accustomed to giving up at the sight of obstacles are unlikely to succeed in it. However, it is not always useful to push yourself and demand results through force. According to all the same characteristics of the body's reaction to stress, the next stage after the idealization of a new country is usually disappointment and irritation. It is associated not only with the objective difficulties that arose during adaptation, but also with the fact that the body is simply depleted under the influence of stress. Unreasonable irritation is a clear sign that your body has run out of strength. Accordingly, the stage of disappointment serves precisely to reduce the speed and allow the body to calmly restore its resources.
During this period, you should not "force" the tired psyche and it is important to give yourself some rest. It is clear that often full rest can be impossible due to objective circumstances - for example, in the first couple of years, many are forced to work without vacations or combine study with work in order to get a qualified position later. But in such cases, it is important at least not to set new ambitious goals and try to work "to a minimum" giving your body the opportunity to survive the stage of exhaustion and recover.
Ban on nostalgia
Nostalgia is perhaps the most pressing issue for many Russian-speaking immigrants. For some, homesickness turns into torture, while others absolutely sincerely assure that in a few dozen lives in a new country they have never experienced anything like this. However, the "devil" in this case is in the details. The fact is that the human body physiologically predisposed to the stage of nostalgia, just like to any other stages, however, not all people allow themselves not only to express, but even to feel such a feeling.
The secret is that immigrants who do not want or are afraid to feel nostalgia do not consciously feel it. In part, this fear is based on the experience of past generations, repeatedly shown in the literature. The famous "Russian blues", the disease of homesickness that permeates the memories of many Russian immigrants, especially those who left the country after the revolution, is often capable of instilling in us the alarm that if we "give free rein" to nostalgia, it will be able to destroy our newly begun happy life in immigration.
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Even more nostalgia is feared by people who have dramatically severed ties with their former country and do not have the opportunity, and often the desire, to return there. For example, political refugees. Often, the unconscious psychological barrier against nostalgia, built in the minds of such people, leads to the fact that even the rudiments of this feeling are repressed into the unconscious, and immigrants may sincerely not reflect on them.
However, this does not mean that the stage of nostalgia passes without a trace. The fact is that in a psychological sense, nostalgia is not longing for the homeland, but longing for the past, for things that are forever gone that can no longer be returned. Over time, things always appear that we lose irrevocably, regardless of whether we live at home or abroad. And most importantly, we do not and will not have a chance to return to our youth.
In the same way, there is not a single long period of time during which something good does not happen to us. That is why our very nature provides a mechanism for mourning irreplaceable losses. It is the function of such mourning that nostalgia fulfills for the immigrant. It does not at all mean constant painful longing, on the contrary, it is a way to say goodbye to the past and let it go. Such a "farewell ritual" fulfills a very important function: it gives strength to come to terms with loss and with one's own past and start a new life. Conversely, if we do not allow ourselves to accept our sadness and say goodbye to the past, or even do not allow ourselves to feel our own longing, we will have to carry with us all the baggage of uncried tears through life. This burden can not only worsen the mood, but also the psychological state up to the appearance of clinical depression.
Practice shows that it is for strong people that it is most difficult to allow themselves the "weakness" of sadness and the "luxury" of memories. However, the need for such weakness, squeezed in the soul, is able to "faint" in the subconscious for tens of years. Excessive interest in events in Russia, not related to professional activities, active savoring of the news and too emotional reactions to them, the constant need to compare how it was “there” and how it became “here” - all these can be signs of repressed nostalgia. often intensified by incorrectly experienced psychotrauma. Needless to say, such reactions can greatly ruin the feeling of happiness in a new place.
These are just three examples of how sometimes excessive demands on yourself and the desire to always be strong can interfere with the process of harmonious adaptation. Still, one should not forget that the goal of immigration is the search for a happy life, and happiness is impossible without respect for oneself and one's feelings.
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