Letter To a Younger Me: 9 Things I'd Say to My New-Immigrant Self
Updated: Feb 15, 2021
Take that Job
Don’t get caught up in your feelings. One quick way to get stuck is by refusing to be flexible. When in a new country and considering a new industry, a great way to get your feet wet is to take a job that gets you interacting with people from different backgrounds, understanding the way the industry’s set up and deciding if you want to take the same route. That humbling job will teach you things you never knew about yourself. If it pays your bills and you learn from it then it isn’t beneath you.
Let it go
Migrating is more than just leaving one place and going somewhere else. It can also be about leaving old mindsets that don’t serve you in your new location. A mindset like that may have helped you survive where you used to be and even saved you from unimaginable situations but they might not serve you now. Let them go.
Don't shrink yourself:
You are a miracle. A dream-come-true. Your ancestors dreamed about this so don’t you dare shrink yourself. Claim every piece of land you step on. The world is yours for the taking. Your ideas, sass and stories are needed here but you’re about to meet people who have no idea what a gem you are.
Stop waiting for permission:
Stop waiting for another nod. Are you listening to your instincts? Do you recognize your gut feelings? Then don’t let anyone tell you any different. And I know what you’re thinking - What if I make a mistake? What if I lose money? What if you don’t? What if the opposite happens? What if you lose money but gain something even greater. This time will never come around again. Take advantage of your optimism and boundless hope.
Find your own affiliation
Be objective. Choose based on your own principles instead of other people’s expectations. Yup, even when they’re your peoples. Even when they love you and they’ve lived here longer than you have. Figure out your idea of wrong or right. Don’t leave any room for bitterness and bigotry. Or you’ll wake up one day disappointed at how easily you were conned.
Acknowledge the separations that have occurred:
Don't bury the hurt and trauma of separation even though it seems like a great idea. Acknowledge them, journal and talk to a professional who gets it. Not so you can wallow in it but because it's the safest way to cut the ties that have defined you until this time. Your choice will cost you friendships and some of the things you are passionate about. Accept this reality. Ties don’t dissolve by shoving them away. They’re only hidden until something else sweeps them out of their hiding place.
Demolish those feelings of smallness:
Start your own personal revolution by kicking aside that small voice in your head telling you to follow instead of leading. Kick it to the curb. You haven’t come so far to come so far. You are magnificent, now latch onto life and ride it hard.
Embrace the Boundary life:
Boundaries might have been the B word where you started from but who says it has to continue. That's why you crossed seas and oceans right to live a better life? Well, you’ll never achieve that better life without boundaries. They will save your life.
Your journey has just begun:
Even though I’ve asked you to value your past experiences, I hope you make room for new ones. I hope you relax your fists and let go of the ashes so beauty can take its place. You have watched men die, witnessed harsh treatment and harrowing corruption while others looked the other way - all of it was for a reason and the only way you’ll ever discover this reason is to fully embrace this new journey. Maybe this journey isn’t just to save you. Maybe it's to save others as well.
Check out the episode on The ImmiGreat Life podcast where I talk about finding my way as a new immigrant and the importance of making connections.