5 steps to unravel your own perspective and overcome homesickness

Redwoods in Henry Cowell State Park

Here are 5 steps to challenge your perspective to lessen the intensity of feeling homesick. We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.

We see the world from our perspective!

A person, who is less anxious about an upcoming move, will find it easier to adjust to a new home, be less homesick and will see the whole experience in a more positive light.

A person, who is depressed and anxious prior to moving, will likely perceive the experience as negative, miss home and feel homesick.

A person, who had a bad experience with a dog, will be afraid of dogs.

A person, who grew up with a cute little dog, will see all dogs as friendly.

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. Anaïs Nin

A person, who sees himself as a success, will not be distressed by failure.

A person, who sees himself as a failure, will not try to succeed.

A person, who mistrusts others, will see everywhere betrayal and does not have many friends.

A person, who sees the good in people, will find goodness everywhere and has many friends.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anaïs Nin

What a revelation!

It makes you realize that we use our lens to see things our way. The lens of our believes, the lens of our culture, the lens of our knowledge, the lens of our past experiences, the lens of our fears, the lens of our personality, the lens of our disposition. With so many lenses, it is difficult to believe that we can see things as they are.


There is rarely a thing as the absolute truth!

As Anaïs Nin says, we rather tend to view things not as they truly are, but in the context of our own personal preconceived notions.

The world can be viewed from many different perspectives. I think we easily mistake our view of the world with the world itself. Everything we see and hear causes us to come to a conclusion about what we have seen or heard based upon our own experiences up to that point. And these experiences will often affect our expectation of future events.

Remember, what you experience may be entirely different than what your friend experiences. Situations, like moving to a new home, are not stressful in their own right – rather it is our interpretation of the situation that drives the level of stress that we feel. The direct and personal reflection “as we are” is like a mirror, projecting and predicting.


People perceive leaving home and feeling homesick in different ways.

Let me give you examples about the way some people perceived their move to the US.

When I was living in Atlanta, both my children attended an international school where they received lessons in English and German. The school was a great experience not only for the students but for the parents as well.

I got in contact with many people from all over the globe. You heard their various stories of living in their home countries and you learned how life there differed from life in the US. The international community was always very welcoming to newcomers, offering support and giving plenty opportunities to meet people.

Most people took advantage of these opportunities. They were usually the ones who had embraced the opportunity of moving to a foreign country. Talking to them I realized that they seemed to have an optimistic outlook on life and were firm believers that situations will change for the better if things were tough for a while.

They adjusted well to living away from home making new friends and enjoying life in a new city/country. I am sure that they also experienced some low points during the various stages of adjusting to their new home. That is normal.

However, some newcomers to Atlanta were first reluctant to join the community. They seemed gloomier and not happy about being in the new place. It appeared that they were stuck in inaction and did not venture much out of their home.

When I talked to them they were still suffering from the separation of their previous home. They thought that their present situation will not change and they would not be happy again unless they moved back. They were quite homesick. So much homesick that they were not able to see all the beauty and excitement the new city and country had to offer.

I realized that these people started often their move with anxious or depressed feelings already prior to their separation. Actually, studies with college students have found that the more intense the negative anticipations of separation are, the more likely it is that the person’s experience is actually perceived as negative. So in some ways, expectations of intense homesickness and negative experiences become self-fulfilling prophecies. You can read a short abstract about “anticipation homesickness” by Miranda Van Tilberg who studied homesickness extensively here.

Nevertheless, I have not witnessed one person who did not adjust and appreciated the new life eventually. I have one person in mind, Alex, the mother of my daughter’s girl friend. In the beginning, she missed her home country of Germany so much. She said that she shed many tears thinking about her home country. However, after a year she loved living abroad. When it was time to move back to Germany she was very upset. More tears were flowing freely. She came back to Atlanta for many visits.

Sometimes it is just about changing perspectives!

Sometimes it is just about changing perspectives! I know you are missing your home and that is alright! However, to feel better maybe all you need right now is a different point of view to see things in a more positive light.


Here are the 5 steps to challenge your perspective and lessen the intensity of feeling homesick:

Take 10 minutes now and sit quietly. Reflect on what is bothering you.

1. Reflect on your patterns of thinking and behavior. Identify your thoughts, believes and behavior about your moving experience.

2. Think about what thoughts and behaviors might be perpetuating and keeping your problem alive. Which of these thoughts and behaviors do you need to change in order to have the life you want?

3. Then go and ask friends about their opinion and their advice about your situation. It is not that their way is the better way. It just gives you one more choice to see things from a different angle and find out how your friends would react to the problem. This way it might make it easier to handle the situation.

4. Examine your friends’ answers and your own and try to see things in a more balanced and realistic way. Write down alternatives to those negative thoughts and behaviors and


Understanding how our perception can skew reality might help us in many ways. Not just in overcoming homesickness, but in many situations in our life. Being open to different point of views will enable us to be likely less judgmental towards other people. We might listen more to those who are different to us and learn to love and live the diversity around us. Maybe it might also be a little bit easier to forgive others.

Share this post with someone who could benefit from changing his or her perspective!

What are some of your thought alternatives so you can change your perspective and be more optimistic? Write in the comment section!



4 Responses to 5 steps to unravel your own perspective and overcome homesickness

  1. Michelle January 7, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly
    long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show
    up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Regardless, just wanted to say great blog!

    • Heike January 8, 2014 at 8:32 am #

      Hi Michelle,
      very sorry for the technical difficulties! I don’t know what happened since your last comment came in.
      I very much appreciate that you took the time to write a long comment! I hope that this article was helpful to you! Let me know if there is anything else you need help with.


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