Miserable in Paradise: When moving doesn't make it all better

You made the decision. You pushed back the fear and bought the ticket. In every way, you have arrived.

So why aren’t you happy?

This was everything you wanted, right? You were so ready to Eat, Pray, Love your way into paradise, and now you’re here.

Our environment - an expression of the external self par of our identity - is only one small piece of who we are.

Also, it's one of the easiest places to pawn off our happiness. "Oh, if I just lived THERE I'd be happy!" Or to put it another way, “If I could just get out of this town…”

Whether it’s running to happiness or running from our fears, changing places is one way we postpone our happiness.

It doesn’t help when everyone from back home you talk to is telling you how wonderful it must be to live in paradise. When we move somewhere identified as a great place in our social circles, there's an expectation that once we've arrived, everything will be wonderful.

Meanwhile, you're struggling and miserable because just being in this amazing place isn't making you happy. The place might be rocking', but you have no friends, a hazy sense of your identity and who you are, and no idea what to do next.

This isn’t to say there isn't merit to certain places being a better fit with who we are as individuals, meshing more smoothly with other parts of our identity - but where we live is not the only piece of who we are.

You have to pay attention to all the other parts of your identity. Your external environment is in fresh order, but have you checked in internally?


Are you actively trying to strengthen your social life and engaging in meaningful activities within your community?


How are you feeling about your work in the world and your professional life? Are you feeling stimulated intellectually?


Is your relationship showing some stress fractures because of the personal stress and discomfort you’re experiencing? Where are you struggling to find joy personally and how is that showing up in your relationship?


There are so many places that twinge in discomfort during relocation. No matter what part of you is hurting, make sure you’re honoring that. Let yourself feel the way you feel. Talk to someone you trust who will understand that being in paradise doesn’t mean life is perfect. Accept that navigating your way through this identity shift will take time, and get the support you need to aid the transition.

When in doubt, ask yourself -

What would happen if I approached this in love instead of fear?


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Allegra SteinComment