Have you ever heard someone say that they hate where they are? I have. Growing up as an Air Force brat, I realized that the family would move every few years. Whether I liked where I was living or not, in a few years I’d be gone, and there was nothing I could do to change that.
Some of the people in the military I met were perpetually unhappy with where they were stationed. They would sing the praises of their last assignment, but their current location was either too cold, hot, dry, rainy, crowded, quiet, or whatever, to suit them. It is certain that when they were next transferred, their new station would be the worst, while their previous assignment would be viewed as being better, regardless that they had been spending many months before complaining of that same place that they would now praise. These people lived in a state of perpetual annoyance.
Rather than do that, my family decided that it would be better to focus on the good aspects of wherever we lived. We were twice stationed in North Dakota, and the winters were harsh. Rather than dwelling on the weather, which we couldn’t affect, we relished the hunting opportunities and the wonderful people we found in North Dakota, and we liked being there.
Are you finding that you are saying, “I hate this place!” more and more? What can you do? Well, you basically have four options before you, so let’s list them.
That’s right. Just grit your teeth and learn to bear it. It may help if you keep reminding yourself “this too shall pass.” But this is a solution that may work for you if the time frame is short, and you can bear being there for that long. You’ll only be sitting in the dentist’s office for a short time, regardless of how much it feels like an eternity. Gritting your teeth will annoy the dentist, however, so in that case you’ll just have to bear it. If you dislike your in-laws, and you are stuck with them for a week vacation in a tiny houseboat on the lake, remember that this too will pass. And be nice to them. The police will find the bodies eventually, and prison will be even worse than hearing your father-in-law telling that story about the huge fish he had to let go. Again.
If you hate where you are because you don’t fit in, then change and adapt to better fit. If you don’t speak the language, it’s no wonder you feel like a prisoner in your own home. Put forth the effort to learn some simple phrases, attend some classes, go out of your comfort zone, and speak with some people you meet. You may be surprised just how nicely people will treat you if you smile and say hello. Maybe you should also learn to say “I don’t speak [language] much.” Most people will be happy to help you out as you trip over their language. Well, maybe not the French, but what can you do?
What if you speak the language, and you still feel like your home is your prison? Have you gone out to visit the neighbors? Have you invited them over for a barbeque and some soft drinks on Memorial Day? Have you placed yourself in situations and locations where you can meet others if you are feeling lonely? Are you doing anything to make yourself interesting to others? Find out what you can do to change your situation, and then do it!
Change Your Environment
Do you live in a crime-ridden area? Contact the local police and get to know them. Organized a Neighborhood Watch program. Clean up the yard and paint the house. Fix that broken window in the front. You will feel better if you are not surrounded by filth. Don’t like the local politics? Then get involved! Write the newspapers or people directly. Organize. No matter your cause, you are sure to find others to join you and help to make the changes you want or need.
You can’t force everyone in the foreign country you live in to speak English, but you can encourage other English-speaking people to gather around, and you may even succeed in getting local businesses to cater more to the English-speaking people. If you don’t like where you are, then put forth the effort to change it into something you do like.
Sometime you just have to get up and get out. The Pilgrims didn’t like their situation in Europe, so they set out for an entirely different continent. Do you think that was easy for them? Could it be easier for you today with cars, trains, and fast-traveling planes? It will be most certainly easier for anyone today to move across town, the country, or the globe now, but that doesn’t mean that this will be an easy thing to do. Nor will this move be done without sacrifice on your part, and possibly on the part of your family and friends.
People live in slums in the inner city where crime, drugs, and violence may rob people of their lives as well as their peace. You could grit your teeth and wait it out, but that’s only worth doing if you will be there a short time. You could change yourself into a tough street hood and dominate the neighborhood, or you could motivate the people to clean up the slums and drive out the unwanted criminal activity. But it is probably more realistic to flee the scene, and that won’t be easy. Where to go? What to do when you get there? How to get the money together to finance the move? Well, the last is probably the easiest to answer — sell or leave whatever you have, and then go some direction, any direction, out of the inner city, and make sure you don’t stop in another slum.
It takes courage to uproot yourself and head into the unknown. Family and friends can make the transition easier, but there may be times when you may have to forge ahead and break trail for others following behind. There is no shame in leaving behind a situation you do not like and seeking for a better future ahead of yourself. But you need to make sure that moving away isn’t your first instinct when you don’t like where you are. In a situation like that, the problem may not be the place where you live — the problem may be you.
There are basically four ways to respond when you don’t like where you are. So choose already.