Dear Harlan: I am an international student studying in the U.K. I have found this transition very hard. I saw your TEDx video on people, places and patience. I’m not sure if I have any specific places where I feel happy. I do, however, enjoy pursuing art and dance. When it comes to people, I have found one or two good friends, but I still find it hard to open up to them or anyone else when I’m struggling or feeling lonely. I love talking to my family back home, but don’t feel like troubling them with this, as it would become quite hard for them (especially my parents). Any advice, please?
— Looking for People
Dear Looking: Change can be incredibly hard. Focus on the patience piece. It’s the hardest part. Patience is the ability to tolerate the discomfort while working to find your people and places. It takes a good year or two to build trusting relationships and find places you love. The answer is to keep dancing and throwing yourself into your art. You also have to continue to explore interests that excite you and engage in experiences that fill your life with meaning. Try meditating, exercising, playing an instrument, creating art, journaling, practicing religion, volunteering or experiencing things that will help you grow, love yourself and love life. Put yourself in places where you can meet more people doing the things that bring you joy. In addition to being patient, find someone to help you. Find a mental health professional who can be in your corner to help guide and support you. Change takes time. Exercise patience.