Living in different countries and soaking up different ways of life and communication haven’t just taught me to deeply appreciate the beauty and richness found in diversity and the acceptance of differences, but have also made me continually rethink my own sense of belonging.
We live in a society where difference is often considered “weird” and easily triggers a reaction of defence or self-protection, leading to criticism, denial or rejection. When actually all human beings have the same need to belong as well as to be different in some way with respect to that “je ne sais quoi” that defines them.
Belonging is one of the key elements in the construction of identity. It makes us feel safe, calm and protected. At the same time, that “je ne sais quoi” to which we feel we belong, gives us reference models to construct our identity.
The feeling of belonging to the family, the community, the spiritual tradition, the gender, the “sex” itself, is certainly a point of support and security, although it can also drag us down and be source of profound conflict.
This is where "IDENTITIES" stems from, a professional desire to create inclusion and acceptance, both of internal and external differences, whether they have to do with race, nationality, culture, social class, gender, sex, femininity or masculinity, etc.
IDENTITIES in DIVERSITY
Belonging is a ‘feeling’ that connects us with both pride and shame, making us feel worthy or not of belonging. And sometimes when we feel that our need to belong isn’t being covered, we put up means and channel major resources so that it stops being that way. And this can separate us from our true self, sabotaging our life purpose and triggering states of anxiety that prevent us from being spontaneous.
Therefore, as human beings have the same need to resemble one another as to be different from one another, belonging can also be alienating. When what makes me different from the group to which I belong (or want to belong) isn’t assumed internally or externally, low self-esteem, stress, aggressiveness, isolation, anxiety or depression may appear. In short, pain of the soul.
If you suffer from ‘living yourself as different’. If you are going through tough times and you feel that your references are wobbling, you are questioning who you are, you are in conflict with what makes you feel different or with those who make you feel different, I will walk some of the path with you. Together, we will strive to discover who you are and what you are like. We will recompose that inner compass that allows you to orient yourself, regain your self-esteem, expand your sense of belonging, acquire your self-support tools, and take back control of your life.
IDENTITIES in TRANSCULTURALITY
Changing your place of residence or country, learning a new language, immersing yourself in a different culture, forming a couple with someone from a different culture, and adapting to new habits and customs can all be enriching elements that encourage us to grow and evolve, while also being a source of internal and external conflicts. You may experience feelings of emotional chaos, loss of references, insecurities, strict attitudes of preservation of your own traditions and rejection of the culture of adoption, among others, which create feelings of frustration, helplessness and loneliness that aren’t always easy to sustain, leading sometimes to a malaise whose origin isn’t always identified.
If you find yourself in any of these situations, I offer you to walk by your side and get acquainted with your way of life, so that between you and me we can discover which is the best way for you to integrate respectfully the two or more worlds that you have been immersed in when living outside your home country or your community.
IN WHAT SITUATIONS CAN I HELP YOU?
- If you are experiencing anxiety and confusion about the new social and cultural context you are living in.
- When grief over what you have left behind and the culture shock are making your everyday life difficult.
- When you are feeling sad and depressed because of the separation from family, friends and your usual environment.
- When you are feeling that you struggle in adapting and facing up to your new life project.
- When difficulties are appearing in the relationship of cross-cultural couples.
- When you are suffering the distance between you and your relatives.
- Or when you have lived abroad and gone back home, only to find that you are struggling to readapt to your home country.
IDENTITIES and THIRD CULTURE KIDS
Third Culture Kids are people who like me (and maybe you) grew up or spent most of their formative years in one or more countries (or cities) other than their parents’ home country (or city) without ever putting down roots in any of them. They may also be children of parents from different cultures, or children adopted from different cultures, or people who have studied abroad or at a language school different from their home culture, etc.
If you are a Third Culture Kid (TCK):
You may have a breadth of mind that makes it easier for you to relate to and understand different socio-cultural environments.
You might have major skills in adapting to the changes and new circumstances that life brings you, and you might respond better to different cultural norms.
You most probably speak more than two languages and you may feel like a ‘global citizen’.
However, living and growing up in different countries or cities has its challenges. You might be carrying around unresolved pain, either due to loss and/or trauma. When moving from one place to another, you might have had to leave behind people, relationships, links, places and customs, And suddenly you find yourself in new places and once again feel like a stranger, the new kid on the block and/or unwelcomed, waiting to feel integrated again.
The unidentified wounds of this type of childhood, when dragged into adulthood, can cause difficulties such as struggling to feel identified, put down roots, engage with others, or form emotional bonds in a healthy way, etc.
IN WHICH CASES COULD I BENEFIT YOU?
- If the question “Where are you from?” causes you discomfort and you find yourself ignoring the answer, or simplifying it as much as possible so as not to attract attention, or because you wonder where you belong.
- If you feel that you haven’t got any links with a specific culture and with all of them in general, not even with that of your parents, or your passport, and this makes you feel misplaced and connects you with loneliness and a melancholy that you find difficult to cope with.
- If you eternally feel like an outsider, feeling that you don’t fit into any category, and that makes you cut yourself off.
- If you feel that it is difficult for you to keep up relationships, and to emotionally bond with people or life projects.
- If you feel that it is difficult for you to manage your life, your emotions, your work or your affections.
I propose that together we discover what the cornerstones are that support you, identify you and connect you with your belonging. Give a meaning to your experiences, laying down your roots and finding your self-support, so that you can relate to your surroundings from the inner confidence and assurance of who you are.