Finding Your Voice during Expatriation

 John Niland from the Self Worth Academy is a professional who I appreciate very much for his excellent advice. I had the opportunity to meet John some years ago and I am an avid reader of his articles and tips.

His February newsletter covered an article on “Finding your Voice”. It was around the same time I had published the post “The Voice” and “Presence” of the Expat Accompanying Partner”. Reading Johns’ article, I found it practical and a positive perspective on finding and embracing ones’ “Voice”.

The following is an extract:

“It’s often hardest to start something….To find your voice, you have to do something. Whether that is writing, hosting, singing, making people laugh or making a video; you cannot find your voice in splendid isolation. There is always that scary moment of trying it out, dealing with rejection and then trying some more.

During those initial days, self-worth is vital. A loyal friendship with yourself allows you to deal with set-backs – those dozen of things that just “don’t fly”. Unlike self-esteem which craves positive self-evaluation, self-worth makes no such demand. It allows you to befriend yourself until you find your voice. And in finding your voice, to find yourself”.1

Comprehending this, the key is “self-worth”, befriending and valuing oneself.

To do this, it is important to accept oneself, to know what we like and what we want to accomplish. Expatriation is a period where we may feel that we are going unheard or hold little importance (this could be due to giving up a career), however, if we find that inner “self-worth”, then we can find the determination and passion to find “our voice”.

With “self-worth, we experience an inner serenity that is no longer dependent on what others think of us or how we are perceived. It entails with it the “self-confidence” to make things happen.

Expatriation is a perfect period to find ones’ “voice”.  It is a period where one has to deal with the ups and downs of life abroad. For an Expat Accompanying partner, It is a period where you often have to know your “self-worth” in order to accept the downs - to find the strength and personality to carry on during times of solitude (long periods alone at home in a foreign country).

In times of solitude, we can sometimes more easily find our “voice”. We have time to listen to our thoughts and ambitions and let our inner self and creativity guide us.

In my case, during a period of expatriation as an Accompanying Partner, I found my “voice” by writing. I finally had the luxury of “time” and a “new environment” which boosted my creativity and desire to put my “idea” in place and in action.

Since childhood, I had a desire to write. My idea was to combine this with my expat experience, as well as, my recruitment expertise. I wanted this combination of experiences and knowledge to be valuable advice for Expat Accompanying Partners looking to return to work.

My “voice” belonged in my blog.  I launched the blog during my expatriation. At the onset, I technically had to figure out the layout and find my writing style. The first few posts took time to write but once the mechanism was in place, the voice came naturally and I didn’t want it to stop anymore. I found a real enjoyment and desire to write and to share experiences and advice. Now that I am back from expatriation and with a full time career and family to take care of, the voice is still there, it is a part of me which I sincerely like and value. The launching of the blog was the result of me finding my “self-worth”.

Looking back, starting the blog was like a self-therapy/ introspection; a constructive means of finding my “self-worth”.

If you feel that you have not yet found your voice or that no-one is listening to it, then embrace your self-worth and explore and try ways of expressing your voice in a constructive and enjoyable manner. As John points out in his article, this could be writing, this could be singing. The importance is to try. Don’t live with regrets or wait for others approval or encouragements.  Encouragements and approval don’t always come when you need them. Find what it is that you enjoy doing, don’t feel an obligation to follow the crowd. If you are true to yourself and like who you are, it will be so much easier to find your voice and move forward in a constructive and positive manner.

A special thanks to John for his valuable insight, which assisted me in analyzing my journey to finding my “self-worth” and this post on Finding Your Voice during Expatriation.

To read more from John on self-worth, please consult:

“The Self-Worth Safari” is now on Amazon, for release on March 21st

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