For those with close family and friends abroad, a visit from them would be one of the most wonderful things — a chance to catch up and feel their presence once again. But then comes the time to say goodbye and the thought of having to carry on once again without them near.
With more than 1 million Filipinos leaving the country each year to work abroad, this must be a popular, though often undiscussed sentiment. It’s no longer about rootedness, but one’s priorities in life.
It’s sad how distance is a barrier, but because of circumstances, goals, opportunities and responsibilities, it is what it is. I can only imagine what the person having to live abroad must feel. Dealing with an entirely different culture, surrounded by mostly strangers in a foreign land is not a walk in the park. Everybody has their own stories and we must learn from them.
Clearly, the loneliness of being left behind is not comparable to the feeling of homesickness. I don’t say one is worse than the other, it’s simply different. The realisation that they’ve already built a life with a less significant role for you is truly heartbreaking, especially if they still remain an important part of yours.
You can leave. I’ll remember you. I remember everyone that leaves.Lilo and Stitch
While there are so many tips on how to combat loneliness when living abroad, there’s scarcely a handful for those who are staying. I can understand that. It’s a passive thing to be properly categorised. One article I saw was about being left out. It may not be precisely the topic I was looking for, but helpful in a way nonetheless.
It talks about how feeling left out is processed as pain by our brain, as interpreted by the same regions responsible for processing physical pain. That’s an interesting mind-body connection.
As for the general tips on dealing with loneliness, they seem simple enough yet for someone who is experiencing these types of emotions, they just don’t seem enough. While research may back the effectiveness of self-care rituals, volunteering, shifting perspectives, tidying up, and talking to someone, sometimes the loneliness can be so overpowering.
So left without a choice but to carry on with sadness in my heart, I face everyday life once more.