Change your expat life
Overcoming the Blame Game, Pt. 1
Why do I look like a mess while my friend always looks perfect?”
“My house is so untidy compared to other people’s houses!”
“I should be much more advanced in my career by now…”
“I should know better.”
Do you ever have thoughts like this? Do you compare yourself with other people and often feel like you fall short?
If your mind is telling you that you are not capable or not good enough, or you are constantly telling yourself to work harder, the next two blog posts are for you!
Facing challenges + playing the blame game
A friend I met in Zimbabwe got a new position in Latin American just before the COVID-19 pandemic. The family was excited about the new adventure, thrilled even. And it was all scheduled to being with 9 months in Madrid to improve their Spanish.
But the plan was derailed when the Spanish government went into lockdown for COVID-19. The family first moved to France, then to England, where HQ had repatriated its staff mandatorily. The family stayed in England for almost a year before finally relocating to Latin America—17 months after their initial move out of Zimbabwe.
But the story did not end there. When they arrived at the new post, the organization announced major cuts in staffing. And so, still today, my friend and his family do not know whether they will be able stay in this new country or for how long.
Unfortunately, many similar stories have affected expats around the world. Upheaval and change have become more prevalent than ever. And when we face such uncertainty and challenges, our brain tends to default to one of two unhelpful patterns:
- We look for someone to blame—and that someone is usually ourselves, our partners, or the organizations we’re involved with
- We start drawing comparisons—and we start wondering why we seem to be facing such challenges when it seems like others have it easy (or, at least, easier)
The judgment pile-up
Even when we’re not in a global pandemic, we all likely have the tendency to compare our lives to others or look for someone to blame when things get challenging.
But the minute we start looking for someone to blame or compare our situations to, we are already on the fast track to making things worse. Why? Because adding judgment, blame, or comparison only compounds the difficulty by preventing us from really addressing the problem.
Of course, it would be easy to simply say “stop it! Stop comparing your situation to others and stop laying on the blame!”
But, of course, it’s never that easy, is it?
In fact, in my career, I have found that this is one of the more difficult facets of mindset work—but one of the most impactful.
In Part 2 of this blog, I will be addressing what’s actually happening when our minds start to spin into blame and judgment. (Or, if you want to get a jump on it, you can listen to Episode 14 of the Girafe Coaching Podcast: The London Double Decker.)
But for now, the key is starting to recognize if and when this pattern is happening.
When you are facing a challenge, be it big or small, do you feel yourself reaching for comparisons or starting to blame yourself or others for your difficult circumstances?
If so, you are not alone.
Stay tuned to learn more about this phenomenon in next week’s blog!
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