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One thing I always hated about immigrants to the Netherlands, growing up, is that they only ever seemed to have bad things to say about the country and the culture they migrated to.
This is not even a generalization. Not once have I witnessed an exception to this rule.
I’ve always found this extremely rude and off-putting, and I always told myself that I would be better about this if I was ever in the same position.
Now that I am an immigrant myself, I can honestly say that I kept my promise. And… it’s not that hard, really.
But I also have to say that I understand better now why this complaining about the new country happens.
Because even if you honestly feel like life overall is much better in the new country, like I do, your day to day exposure to the things that you don’t like in the new country is still gonna be much greater than to the things you didn’t like in the country you came from; simply because you don’t live there anymore.
Of course, exposure to the things you like better in the new country is also much greater, but people are just much more likely to complain than to express gratitude in general, which is why you never hear about that part.
This is where I try to be different.
I do my very best to remain aware of the things I appreciate about this country, and to voice that appreciation whenever I experience it.
And honestly, it’s been great.
As I mentioned before, the reason I started doing this was because I didn’t want to be one of those immigrants that constantly complains about the country they immigrated to, but I actually found that it also comes with a nice bonus:
Because, as it turns out, training yourself to recognize and express gratitude for the things you appreciate is a great way to become a happier person in general.
Which is why I thoroughly recommend it, whether you’re an immigrant or not.
In the beginning, it’s going to feel weird to do this; and you might feel awkward and wonder what people might think.
But I’ve only ever had a good experience, and nobody has ever made me feel stupid for doing this.*
(*Granted, this might be because Americans are generally much nicer (aka less direct) than Dutch people. I don’t know if this is the reason, but at this point I’m afraid to find out 😆)
Either way, go give it a shot.
It’s a small lift, and it might change your life.