When immigrants arrive in Australia, they never come alone. Immigrants usually bring on their luggage all their hopes and dreams for the journey that is about to start and plenty of idealizations about what can happen – or not! – in Kangaroo land.
However, when these people establish themselves, they face their first lost: their dreams face the reality, which can be completely different from what was imagined. They meet a different culture, with people from several backgrounds, face violence… The reality shows itself different even on the “realistic” idealizations: work outside their field is harder than what they have predicted, sharing a place with someone outside your family requires more behaviour flexibility than expected and even the day-to-day activities, for those people usually prepare themselves the most, are outside their comfort zones.
Once they don’t have the same support they encounter on their home country, immigrants can face a huge internal battle to cope with those situations, because even though the reality is different from the idealization, it is hard for them to simply let them go.
It is really hard for human beings, in general, to accept the grief for what wasn’t lived and to accept the reality as it is.
However, this grieving process is essential for the acceptance and internal growth of them, and it can start with the admission that some external things cannot be changed – the change must start internally, with an alteration of perspective.
A few ways to break into this grief state, are:
- Understanding the difference between the idealization and the reality;
- Exploring the new possibilities that the presented reality can give them;
- Being present on the now and embracing mindfulness.
The most important factor is to remember that this acceptance doesn’t need to be done by themselves. Immigrants could – and should! – use their community (such as their family and friends in their home country) to express the conflicts they are facing or they could look for a mental health professional to support those people to develop their new life in Australia.