Afraid of (Returning) Home

Afreaid of returning home

They say the unknown is terrifying. Therefore, society has developed two main coping mechanisms for it. On the one hand, there are people who try to avoid ‘the unknown’ by staying in their comfort zone. On the other, though, there are those who face it, but even they usually have a safety net.

Afraid of (returning) home

Precisely because this black sea of uncertainty creates a mass of anxiety whenever embarking on a new journey, we always give ourselves a reassuring pat on the back as a reminder that we have been brave enough to at least try, even though things might not work out as planned.

We always leave the door of failure a little cracked to avoid deep disappointment. Strangely, we do not treat ourselves with the same level of understanding when facing a situation that we are somehow familiar with.

These were my thoughts a few nights ago before going to sleep. Why? Let me tell you a little about myself.

I am now 21 and a freshly graduated student in my gap year before my masters degree; in other words: unemployed. About three years ago I put all my clothes, dreams and my limited knowledge about the world in a backpack and moved to the UK for university. If you’re wondering how did all of that work out, all I can say is that I felt catapulted into a black hole with literally no understanding of the laws of physics. I was beyond terrified!

Saying it was difficult would be a massive understatement, but I kept telling myself day in, day out that I will adapt and I will make it work; and I have. But then, the final year came and I had no idea about what I wanted or needed. My mental health was in such a poor state that I barely had any energy left to survive, let alone make life-changing decisions.

So, I put all my clothes, dreams, and what now was my enriched knowledge of the world in a backpack, and travelled to Australia looking for answers, or at least that was what I kept telling everyone, myself included.

Van

Needless to say, my time in Australia was mind-blowing, but to my disappointment, and despite all the things that I have learned, I came to the realization that I was still confused and had no plans for the future. I was heading back to my parents’ house for the summer holidays. My plan was to figure out my next move, but returning home for good was simply inconceivable at this point.

I kept telling myself that my quirky character had no place in this society, that in order for me to keep evolving I needed to be elsewhere, that there was too much negativity around, basically anything I needed to hear to convince myself that I was not in the right place.

When presented with the opportunity to leave again, it seemed obvious I was making the right choice. Thing is, faith had something else planned and my moving simply did not happen. It seemed as if I was stuck in my ridiculously pink room decorated by my mother and it all had a claustrophobic feeling, as if I was a captive of the past.

Thinking of it retrospectively, I am happy with how things worked out and that I was forced to face my demons, because truth being told, the thought of returning home terrified me. More so, it was shocking to realize how petrified I was to let myself be afraid in a place that was supposed to bring me peace and comfort.

Hamsa Hand Flags

Over the years, I have managed to build an emotional bumper, kinda like Captain America’s shield – virtually indestructible, but when without it extremely vulnerable. Being at home again meant I was facing everything that I ran away from three years ago; and believe me there were plenty of fears and insecurities that I chose to leave behind.

I was afraid of not fitting in. I was afraid of making myself emotionally available for my parents. I was afraid of not being enough of a role model for my brother. I was afraid I would feel like a stranger in my own home. I was afraid of being irrelevant and that I would not be able to do any good in society. In all honesty, I am still somehow afraid of these things, but I decided to make one tiny adjustment that enlightened me. I changed something in my mind.

I started reading this book on mindfulness and positive thinking, which helped me make sense of what I was going through and put things into perspective for me. Three years ago, I was consciously aware of my fears, but I was not accepting them – maybe it was too hard or maybe I lacked the emotional intelligence to deal with them. More recently, I have started accepting my past fears, but was not aware of how much they were still affecting me.

By reading this book on mindfulness, I understood that I need to be both aware of my present experiences and accept them if I want to reach an emotional balance and find peace. I realized that it is my mind that determines how I experience the world and that I and only I have the power to control it. I had to work on myself and teach my mind to shape my thoughts in a positive way.

Hand Stand

The moment I lose focus, my mind loses its freedom and becomes invaded with negative thoughts and anxious feelings. It is something that I need to remind myself of actively and it takes a lot of discipline, but, fear not, our minds are incredibly powerful tools. So, next time you feel anxiety, sadness or depression creeping in, remember that you have the power to turn things around.

Last thing I want to stress before letting you ponder on these ideas is to always be gentle with yourself (no matter if you are embarking on a new journey or returning to a familiar setting). YOU matter the most!

Heaps of shanti vibes!!

Credits

Image Title Author License
Afreaid of returning home Afreaid of returning home Teo Dascal CC BY-SA 4.0
Hand Stand Hand Stand Teo Dascal CC BY-SA 4.0
Hamsa Hand Flags Hamsa Hand Flags Teo Dascal CC BY-SA 4.0
Van Van Teo Dascal CC BY-SA 4.0
Afraid of (returning) home Afraid of (returning) home Teo Dascal CC BY-SA 4.0