Sam Mednick is a professional life and executive coach based in Barcelona (www.blueprintcoaching.ca). A Canadian native, she’s been living in the city for eight years working with companies as well as individuals focusing on transitions, communication, leadership training, time management and productivity, as well as emotional intelligence development. For more coaching tips, tune into her Podcast.
THIS MONTH: MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME
I am a fellow North American living in Barcelona. I’m well into my fourth year and still enjoying it... surprised? I love reading your column and I just wanted to enquire about something that’s been playing on my mind. Having lived here for so long, when I go back ‘home’ to the States, I feel pretty disconnected from everyone and in general I can’t see myself living there. At the same time, despite the fact that I have an incredible network of friends in Barcelona, I often can’t help but think that I’m not from here; I’m not Catalan, Spanish or even European. The combination of these thoughts perpetuates this sort of nomadic feeling and I was wondering if you had any mental mantras for my wandering psyche. I want to call Barcelona my home and mean it!
Say something, Sam!
Hi Feeling Nomadic,
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I’m not surprised that you still love this city—it’s an easy place to set up shop and put down roots. Your query is very similar to a past column, ‘Living in Limbo’, but I still wanted to address it because the theme of ‘feeling like you don’t belong’ is quite prevalent amongst foreign residents.
I’ve definitely been in your shoes. I remember how weird it felt those first few years going back to Toronto, not feeling like I belonged there, yet still unsure as to where I actually did fit in. It can mess with your mind as it’s a huge transition and one that many people struggle with. It seems like you’re committed to staying in Barcelona; it just sounds like you want to feel more connected to the life you’re creating.
When it comes to ‘mental mantras’, I could give you a long list of ‘feel good’ phrases, yet the ones that work best are those that stem from truly believing in what you’re telling yourself. If you want to ‘mean it’ when you call this place home, I’d challenge you to shift your mind so that you genuinely feel that you belong here.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- What do you need in order to feel connected?
- What does connection look like to you?
- What’s really standing in the way of you feeling like you belong and are these beliefs self-imposed or are they rooted in something concrete? For example, what is it about not being ‘from here’ that is preventing you from feeling like this is home?
I’m going to let you enjoy coming up with the mental mantra on your own, but what I will tell you is to make sure that you ‘back yourself’. Get on ‘Team Nomadic’ (or change the name to ‘Team BCN HOME’) and don’t question whether or not you belong. Once you make that decision, you’ll start feeling more secure and ultimately more connected.
Lastly, be patient. Even though you’ve been here for four years, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that long. Transitions and mental shifts take time. You can’t rush it. What you can do is start putting the pieces in place so that it speeds up the process.
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