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When the home and the heart live in different places

Homesickness is something that tends to come up quite often when I work with expat clients. Naturally there are different levels of homesickness, and often it can be overcome quickly with the right tools. Lately I’ve started to notice a slight nuance in the conversations around homesickness. Where it’s not really about a desperate need to want to go home or missing a specific person/thing and wanting to create a fast move to overcome the immediate pain.

For many expats it’s far deeper. It can be the simple fact that your home, where you feel like you’ve landed now, is not where your heart is. And if that old saying that ‘home is where your heart is‘ holds true, could it mean there is no hope for some expats to truly feel at home? Some of you out there know what I mean when you know where you’ve found the right home for you right now. Because home is never a building or a place. It’s the feeling you get when you’re there. It feels right.

The challenge you might have then is that your heart is torn between the feeling of home here and the part of your heart that will always belong where you grew up or lived before. This type of feeling is much deeper than homesickness and is the place where many expats hit the famous fork in the road. Where many people resign to the internal conflict and go back home. For some this is undoubtedly the best decision for the long term and after some emotional turbulence immediately after the return, they land on their feet. But then there are those who resign to the conflict and go back to their place of origin only to find an even deeper conflict. Having abandoned their real (new) home because of what they thought their heart wanted. Feeling too proud to admit to the world around them or themselves that they really want to leave again. Holding a true desire to give the new place a chance to feel at home and really bring the heart along this time.

What’s the solution to this dilemma then? The key is integration of the parts that collide. To allow the heart and the home to land in the same place. Full acceptance and allowing yourself to feel at home in the place that you love. Even if it has it’s challenges.

I know that you might have already thought about this many times before and gotten to a point where you’ve accepted most of it, but there is still a tiny nagging feeling underneath it all. Maybe fuelled by guilt or something else, especially in difficult times. If this is you, there really is no need to suffer. Call me to lock in a short session and we’ll help you move past it instead.

Also, if you’re finding yourself at that emotional fork in the road (regardless if your heading out on your first big move or considering going back home again), you should join me on the free webinar I’m hosting next week. Join in on Monday 25 January at 8pm (Melbourne GMT+11) and ask any questions you might have on the live call. If you’re not in Melbourne and feel unsure what time this is for you, make sure to check for your local time via this link. If you can’t join in live on the webinar, make sure to register anyway so I can send you the free recording after the call!

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