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The photo above carries this explanation: “An amazing piece of sculpture by the artist Frances Bruno Catalano, which symbolizes the vacuum created by being forced to leave your land, your life, your people… for any reason.” While that may be true for some, and the loss is definitely real, there is a bigger picture here.

People whose self identity, self esteem, purpose, happiness, peace of mind, and frames of reference are dependent upon their past, their circumstances, and their physical environment are like leaves scattered by the wind. We all love what our homelands once were, with their culture, friends and family, and unique characters. We all love the familiar, and that is human. But we are not validated by our surroundings. And when we leave, we take our individual character, philosophy, abilities, and dreams with us.

I left South Africa because it had started, within just two years of Mandela’s rule, to follow the downward spiral into crime, lawlessness, and violence that all its African predecessors had. I was proven correct. And while I miss certain what that country used to be, I’m not blinded by silly, imagined patriotism or confused by rose coloured glasses. I took “ME” with myself. Yearning for the past and wining and pining about how good things used to / might have been is for losers and those who wish to excuse their failure in their new home, their inability to adapt and adjust.

I lived in 18 different homes / cities / provinces by the age of seventeen, so I know whereof I speak. Since then I continued to move around, including to different countries, albeit with less frequency. Your relationship with yourself, and, hopefully, your God, should be your primary relationships. “Lonely” people are often those who don’t like their own company, and they seldom function well in any kind of close relationship.

The key to being able to adapt to change, be it unexpected, unchosen, or planned, is to get in touch with yourself and your God, to be able to forgive and understand yourself, rely on your God, and develop a philosophy of life that works for you. Then you gain purpose and focus, clarity,  and definition, and you become valuable to yourself and your fellow man. The only vacuum that man really experiences is that which can only be filled by God.

Just to be clear, I’m talking about real refugees, not those who invade one’s country – with the full assent of your government – under the guise of “refugee.”

Robin Elliott    LeverageAdvantage.com