When They Don’t Want To Leave: Planting The Seed Of Emigration

When They Don’t Want To Leave: Planting The Seed Of Emigration

When They Don’t Want To Leave: Planting The Seed Of Emigration

There are several factors which hamper emigration and immigration. Visa requirements, finances, job opportunities, politics and health all play a big part in whether or not people can relocate.

One of the most common hurdles to emigration, however, is the reluctance of certain individuals to move. It often takes years to convince your loved ones to emigrate and by the time they’ve finally warmed to the idea much time has been wasted and many opportunities lost.

So how do you approach this issue? What can be done to convince others to move abroad? Rand Rescue takes a look.

Getting everyone on board

Before we jump into the reasons people oppose emigration, let’s just make one thing clear: while Rand Rescue will discuss rationale and methods of encouraging others to emigrate, our intent is not to encourage manipulation or bullying. At the end of the day emigration will only succeed if all parties are on board, and if everyone involved feels that they made the choice willingly and without coercion.

Our focus is therefore on persuasive tactics based on positive reinforcement. Getting people on board (whether in personal relationships, colleagues or even clients) is far more effective when:

 – parties treat each other as equals, with equal input and authority in decision-making
 – everyone communicates transparently and parties don’t suspect each other of ulterior motives, embellishment or dishonesty
 – all parties are empowered by making them accountable for their own decisions and/or certain aspects of the undertaking
 – commitment and buy-in is explicitly stated and given and not obtained through ambiguity or treating the lack of a distinct ‘no’ as a ‘yes’ and vice versa.

Why people are averse to emigration

When we consider factors which influence individuals’ decision to emigrate, the answers often seem quite obvious. And these factors often are pretty straight-forward. The issue is not always that we lack knowledge and insight into these factors, but that these aren’t explicitly vocalised and discussed.

Psychologists believe that the key to addressing concerns, fears and trauma lies in describing and defining these. Turning abstract emotions into concrete terms encourages positive change for various reasons.

How do you eat an elephant?

The greatest problem with not identifying our emotions, problems is that we cannot properly address cause and effect. Labelling allows us to categorise things. We can identify whether something is an emotion, a trigger, a response, an action or a concern.

In much the same way that doctors shouldn’t merely prescribe medication which mask symptoms, we should not merely act on our emotional responses. Getting to the bottom of what bothers us is far easier if we know what we feel, why we feel this, how we respond, and where these reactions come from.

Who is the Boogeyman?

Abstract fears are harder to address, since there is no ‘human’ way to confront something which seems superhuman. Instead of focusing on the fear, we should name the things we fear.

The human mind is geared to assess risk and respond to it, if it cannot do so, it will avoid situations entirely. By giving names to our fears, we allow our minds to confront them appropriately and develop tactics to overcome our internal adversaries.

Confronting your own misconceptions

When thoughts and feelings are allowed to fester in our minds, they tend to dilute and dissolve into each other. When we don’t dissect and label our emotions and fears, we often assume that a response is triggered by the wrong event/prompt, or we assume that we feel the wrong emotion.

For instance: many people cry when they are enraged, some people laugh when they are anxious, you may avoid a situation because you think it is due to fear of harm, while your actual fear is humiliation of not being self-sufficient or proactive when push comes to shove.

Coining new terms

In line with the above, we have become so accustomed to labelling emotions, triggers and reactions a certain way, that we tend to believe these are the only categories we can use.

Anger, Sadness, Despondence, Happiness, Positivity, Depression, Hyperactivity, Excitement, Fear, Hatred, Humiliation… we are told these words represent our feelings, and that they

There is no right or wrong to any such decision as there are pros and cons for both choices. This common delay does point out a crucial concern parents face when moving abroad – whether their children will adapt to the new home, and whether parents’ choice of location for starting a new life is right for their children.

Such a big move cannot readily be reversed, so we want to be sure that it’s in the best interest of all.

Fighting stigma

Emigration carries a stigma with it which is primarily fuelled by animosities. Those who stay behind are often resentful of those who want to leave or perceive the move as a betrayal of their roots and country. When taking on emigration it’s important to understand that these animosities aren’t rooted in fact and that they aren’t within your control.

Failure is not fatal

As the saying goes, failure is not fatal. We are often most opposed to emigration because we fear failure. We fear not adapting to our new environment. The key is to allow yourself a few failures along the way and to change the way we perceive failure.

We are conditioned to see it as an indication that all our efforts have been in vain, but we should rather perceive failure as a necessary diversion or change of direction. We may need a few detours to reach our goals, and these should be seen as opportunities for growth and self-exploration. These detours oftentimes also bring people and opportunities across our path which we may not have found had we followed our intended course.

Pack away the prejudice

No person wants to admit that they’re prejudiced, but it’s highly unlikely that any person can be entirely prejudice free. These preconceived notions are often big hurdles to growth and change.

When moving to a new country, you may have fears of not assimilating due to your ideas of the country, culture, language, climate, healthcare, education, religion and so forth. While some of these may be true, many will be false perceptions.

Encouraging change and resilience

There are several effective tactics one can use to encourage your loved ones to take on the big change of emigration.

Encourage independence

This is a tough one for many people, especially couples in long-term committed relationships and overprotective parents. Truth be told though, emigration often sees people spend some significant stretches apart, especially during the first few months.

Encourage your children and other loved ones to spend time apart. Let them attend courses, become exchange students, travel alone or with friends. Nurture their independence so they know that they can have fun on their own and also become less afraid of exploring the world on their own.

Metathesiopia (fear of change) is, oddly enough, a side-effect of not experiencing frequent change. The way to overcome this fear is literally to immerse ourselves in new and unknown situations. This rewires our minds since the irrational fears it envisions rarely transpire, which creates positive emotions around novel situations.

Have a plan in place

One of the greatest factors which create resistance to change is uncertainty. Our brains want to protect us from any undue harm, which is an impossible task when it doesn’t know what it’s protecting us from. In an effort to assess the risks we might face, our minds will run down an endless reel of scenarios which are quite often incredibly farfetched. When it cannot determine which of these risks are bound to transpire, it will oppose the situation or circumstances from transpiring altogether.

If you lay down a plan which outlines the steps for emigration, how decisions will be made, what needs to be done and give approximate dates for different parts of the move it will be easier for your loved ones to make sense of it and accept the changes to come.

Focus on their interests

Your loved ones may be wary of emigration since they fear giving up the things they love. A good way to get them involved is to focus on those interests they will be able to pursue abroad, as well as new hobbies and interests they may not have had a chance to indulge back home.

One thing you’re guaranteed is that your new home will have a range of novel activities, crafts and hobbies to pursue.

Set an example

Those who are keen to emigrate are often push their loved ones into accepting the change and may even shame them for their reluctance by claiming that you’re all going through the same changes and all experiencing the same fears.

Firstly, if you are the main driver for emigration, chances are that your enthusiasm overshadows your fears. Secondly, this coercion may be perceived as selfish and also increase existing fears as your loved ones may wonder if you’ll make other decisions without their buy-in in the strange new world they face.

Setting an example begins long before emigration is on the cards. You should not only make compromises to show that you are willing to do things for them which you’ve previously denied, but also show them that you’re willing to make drastic changes in your life in other ways.

If you’re a loner, perhaps join a cultural, sporting or hobby club. Learn a new language. Take a new job. Learn a new craft. If you habitually spend evenings in front of the television, get a record player and play music instead. Sleep on a different side of the bed. Buy purple shirts. Dye your hair. These may seem like silly things, but if you show them that you are willing to make changes they will be more inclined to do the same.

Let go of the negative drivers

Many people are prompted to emigrate due to negative drivers in their home country. While these are legitimate reasons to emigrate, they aren’t sufficient for successful immigration.

The negative forces driving you to find a new home don’t always disappear when you’re in your new home. The anger, dismay and sorrow about the state of your home will follow you abroad. You may even find that some of the same things you’ve experienced in your old home also exist in your new home.

Using fear to force others to make change is often a powerful tool, but it does nothing to endear people to their new situation. Relief at being safer or more financially secure is great, but there should be other factors which pull your loved ones to the new location. They should not feel like they are simply fleeing or taking refuge – they should believe that they are building a new dream.

By focusing on negative emotions and fears, you inadvertently create a mindset of cynicism and negativity. This mindset will taint all other experiences which are wholly unrelated to those negative points you are pointing out.

Focus on the good to come, the opportunities which could transpire, the adventure and growth you are bound to experience. As with the negative, the positive aspects you point out will nurture positive attitudes and hopefulness in other aspects of your loved ones’ lives and in turn make them more open to taking on new challenges.

Share your expectations

It’s important to know that everyone may not be entirely on board, despite such efforts mentioned above. You should not expect them to be 100% in either.

It’s human nature to resist change and part of our innate knack for risk assessment is to always leave a little back door open in case things don’t go as planned. This may transpire as your loved ones lashing out at you abroad, but you shouldn’t take that too personally. In business this resistance to change is often fuelled by competing commitments. If people don’t know what is expected of them or what they’re allowed to feel and express, or believe that you expect them to commit to both making change and maintaining a positive attitude all along, they may not feel like committing at all.

Tell your loved ones what your expectations are and give them some room to lash out, be angry, negative and critical. This doesn’t mean you should indulge such negativity all the time, but make room for it. Set time aside where they can share their grievances and fears without judging these.

Time to pack up and go?

If you’ve got the family on board, the time to start planning your move is now! Emigration can be quite a long-winded affair, so be prepared for a lot of admin, waiting, consultations, tests and paperwork.

While you’re busy sorting out those affairs, allow Rand Rescue to take care of your cross-border financial needs. We’ve extensive experience in assisting South Africans with the financial aspects of their move and can advise on the best routes, processes and platforms to get your money to you.

Simply leave your details below and we’ll get back to you.

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