- Jae’s Website: jae-creates.com
- Our Discord Server: everyone.berlin/discord
[1:36] And I think it's important that we consciously transition from feeling like we have to prove ourselves in a new city to feeling like a city is our home, and in this case, Berlin for me. So in this little episode I wanted to kind of talk about what surviving to thriving looks like, and is there an actual thing called surviving to thriving? You guys are all aware of the struggles I have experienced moving to Berlin, from adjusting to the culture to dealing with the behavior and the rudeness of certain types of people, to the never-ending housing situation, the racism, the bureaucracy, the weather, the change of income, all of these adjustments that I had to encounter on my arrival to Berlin and my now trying to live in Berlin. And for me, it seems that a few of these challenges are still somewhat apparent. In a few of these challenges, I've learned to adapt to, so to say, and not necessarily that these challenges actually go away, but I think there is a level of figuring out how to navigate the system in a way that allows you to feel okay and feel like you kind of, like you got it, you know.
[3:11] So I was sitting in Tempelhofer Feld the other weekend because it was sunny - yeah, a very rare occasion here in the city - but it was sunny and it was 22 degrees, and, I don't know, I just had this moment of like satisfaction. I had this moment that I could breathe. And that was ... is such a nice feeling. I mean I had just made a year in Berlin last week, so I've been on this whole reflection of like: Oh my gosh! Like how's my life been? How have things ... What have been the challenges? What have been the good or the bad or whatnot? And yeah, I had this like moment that I wanted to get out of this survival mode, that like, I don't know, I just felt so exhausted in that moment. I felt that I was finally taking the weights off of my shoulders and and just lowering my shoulders just a little bit more, and it's something that I don't think I've ever consciously thought about. And that kind of prompted me to discuss this in this episode of just: How do we get from that transition ... ?
[4:17] How do we transition from, you know, as I mentioned, the survival mode to thriving mode? And also, have you transitioned from the survival mode to thriving mode? Like at least for me, like I said, there wasn't any conscious method, and then also, there's also idea of like, okay, like: Well, I still have not completed everything I have wanted to complete. Doesn't mean you have to be in survival mode, though. I mean, there's a lot of people who are in their day-to-day lives still wanting to do hobbies or whatnot, but they're also not necessarily worried that things are going to crumble at the foot of their bed, you know, tomorrow. And I wanted to kind of discuss like recognizing survival mode, because I think that is like the first thing you have to do, is how do you necessarily point out when you are in survival mode and get yourself into that mindset of like: Oh shit, I've been in survival mode. I would guess for me, the survival mode definitely comes a lot in the form of like anxiety. It's this like every little problem, and every big problem as well, but most of these are like minute problems, feel like the end of the world.
[5:32] If I get a fine from the BVG, which has happened three times, if there is a housing situation I have to deal with, if I encounter some sort of financial issues, I am now automatically in this fight-or-flight mentality. Automatically, I get into this: Oh my fucking God, the world is ending, I'm gonna have to leave Berlin, everything is crumbling at the foot of my bed. And this sign, I think, is a big sign that you, at least for me, am in this survival mode, because there is a lack of trust, a lack of security, and a lack of comfortability, and a lack of just awareness that you've been here before, this shit just happens, you know? Another sign of survival mode for me is also just feeling very overwhelmed, feeling like I have to kind of do everything right now. Like if I don't go out to every club, if I don't meet a lot of people, if I don't, you know, get the flat of my dreams right now, if I don't do all this stuff right now, then once again, my whole entire world will be crumbling.
[6:57] And that is once again, not the most healthiest state of mind to be in because when you're in this fight-or-flight mode, to be fair, I think a lot more things can go wrong because you're in survival mode. Your adrenaline is going up. And to be fair, there's only so much energy you can have in this survival mode. Do you not realize how much energy it takes to always be on guard and to always be in flight-or-flight mode? It takes a lot of fucking energy and a lot of exhaustion. And if you are exerting your energy out time and time and time and time and time and time and time again, you're gonna have no energy for like the actual things that do matter. And I've found myself into that. It's called burnout, you know, and I have been suffering from burnout for years. And, you know, it always comes from this ambitious mentality, I think, in my perspective. I'm always, you know, a go-getter. I love doing something. I love having different ideas and I love doing something new and trying different things out.
[8:09] And, you know, this feeling of never feeling satisfied is great, but also it's not good if you're not managing it and it's not coming from a healthy perspective, and a lot of my survival modes also come from these mindsets of fear. They're all from: Oh, I'm scared that something bad is going to happen. They're never like: Oh, I'm so excited for something good is going to happen. It's always from: Oh shit. It's always this drop in my stomach, it's always this pain in my chest. It's never this really, really good, good, good feeling. So these are the signs that I've been recognizing that have allowed me to recognize: Oh shit, that I'm in survival mode, I am feeling like the world is over, I am feeling like I need to have everything done right now, I'm feeling like everything is going to crumble, and I'm most likely all under the fear umbrella you know.
[9:13] I've recently realized, I think, the impact of survival mode, especially when it comes to my mental health and my well-being. You're not enjoying Berlin to the full experience if you're in survival mode, just to be blunt, you know? How can you? You're always having to look over your shoulder. You're always having to, you know, worry about if you're going to be okay the next day, you know? You're always, like, always, always, always panicking. There's no way you can just stop and smell the roses if you're always trying to run through the fields. It's, yeah, it is a challenge that we slowly have to, I think, start to realize and be honest with ourselves about, especially when it comes to the impact. I think a lot of times I've just had to push out the impact because, once again, I'm focusing on the goal, the goal at hand. I need to get this, I need to get that, I need to get that, I need to get that, but always at the expense of my well-being, my mental health, my actual enjoyment for the city, and all of those things that come in between. And now I'm realizing that maybe it'll be good if yes, we still have our goals, but we also don't put that unnecessary extra stress on ourselves that then pushes us to be something that we essentially are not.
[10:37] So a big question we have to ask ourselves is: How can we start transitioning and moving from the survival mode to thriving mode? And I have thought of a few ways that I have been trying to intentionally incorporate into my life, such as finding community and practicing self-care, that I wanted to possibly share with you guys.
[10:59] One of the biggest things that I have tried to do is, just bluntly, stop complaining! It's very easy to get into the mind of complaining, especially in this city, in this city where, you know, the mentality is always this kind of like grumpy angriness, especially during like the winter times where everyone is complaining either about the weather, either about someone on the bus stop or whatnot. I have intentionally, and it's not easy, I'm not perfect, I am not perfect at all, but I've been intentionally trying to not complain, if anything, not as much, you know? Of course, there's always gonna be things that you don't like, and I'm not a big fan of this whole toxic positivity where you're like: Oh, everything's fine, everything's great. No, but you don't necessarily have to complain about every little thing. You don't have to complain about your living situation all the time, you don't have to complain about how the person maybe bumped into you, you don't have to complain about how the weather is or whatnot.
[12:04] These small little things can make a big difference, because every time you complain, subconsciously you are like just accepting the cloud that is over your head. You're accepting the rain pouring down on you, and then you're complaining about the rain pouring down on you when you kind of, you know, took the umbrella off. So I've been trying to move from the complaining mode and go into the gratitude mode, and just at least find the things that I can be grateful for. I might not be in my perfect housing situation, but I'm grateful that at least I have a housing situation. I'm grateful for the location of the situation like where I live. I'm grateful that I live in this city to begin with. I'm grateful that I have a visa that is lasting as long as it is. There are things that you can be grateful for and that you can appreciate. It may not be a lot, but just recognizing one or two things can help you start to realize that things aren't as bad as they might seem, and that little step can do so good for you in the long term.
[13:16] Another thing that I don't do enough is commending myself on what I've done. If you have moved to Berlin, I just want you to take a moment to just like settle into that. You moved to Berlin. Berlin is not an easy city to move to. And you did it. You're here. You might not have the perfect situation. You might still need to do a few things. You might just need to get a job, a more secure house, you might need to get more money, friends or whatnot, but you have done such a monumental action, that so many people have not done ever in their entire lives. So many people have not even left the place they were born in. And you have done your best to do that. That right there just deserves a round of applause. There's no like applause machine on like this thing, I don't think so, I can't like do it, but if I could, I will be giving you guys a little round of applause. But not only for moving to Berlin, but also dealing with all the obstacles and challenges that do come with Berlin. Like you are still here, you know? Like this shit is not easy. And like you have decided that you want to push through and you are getting stronger.
[14:32] I mean, it's not like ... it is kind of like going to the gym and you know, like you lift these heavy weights and like you actually start to see the actual gain. You might not necessarily see it physically, but you are getting stronger, and that is something that like, yeah, you should just feel fucking happy about it and feel proud of yourself for it. It's not about being perfect. It's about the fact that you are moving to it. This idea of perfectionism really is so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so toxic sometimes, and it's not always the best. And a lot of times we feel it's this all or nothing mentality. You either have it all or you don't have anything. And that is not the case. You have moved to Berlin. You are in this city, you have made one step further than a lot of other people, and then you have made it one step further to your goals, to your dreams, you have proven to yourself that you can do something that you put your mind to. Like that is awesome, so don't forget all the amazing shit that you have done.
[15:33] Another thing that can help you transition out of survival mode is to start focusing on a few relationships. Not necessarily romantic, but friendships included. But like, I, and I love this about myself, it's like I love meeting new people, love talking to people, making new friends or whatnot, but honestly, like at this point, I think I have made, not too many friends, but I think I now want to start focusing on a few relationships that I want to find meaning in. Because to be fair, you can't be best friends with everybody, you have to kind of filter, and you have to curate your lifestyle! That's what I tell my friend I'm doing: I am curating my lifestyle, I'm curating my relationships! And I think that is also important to also helping you feel that you are thriving, because when you're trying to push yourself into all of these different little places, your energy is going all around and you don't have one energy for yourself, nor are you putting any real deep, deep, deep energy into a few of these people.
[16:44] And I think that is important as well, to allow yourself to prioritize and allow yourself to see: Okay, these are the people that actually mean a lot to me. Let me start prioritizing them. Maybe I need to start saying no to a few other people. That is okay. They will be okay. They will find their own friends, too. They will make things work for themselves. But once again, this is your life, this is your journey, this is your story, and we're trying to get out of survival mode, so we need to curate and be intentional. And I think that also can help you feel that you're a little bit more settled, you have those relationships that matter to you. I think that's another thing that you feel unsurvivable because you're always having to fend for yourself, you're always having to ... like you don't feel you have anybody. But when you're able to kind of settle in and be intentional with the people that you want to be around, you can start to trust people. You can start to like look to people to like help you and support you and stuff like that.
[17:43] Another thing is: Be proactive on making this city your home. Start finding things that you really enjoy doing and put in the effort of doing those things, you know? I think it's very, very important that you find ways to make the city your own. You have to be creative with this. It's not going to look the same for everybody. For me, I like the Kiez that I'm in, so I like to go around that Kiez, and I like to eat there, I like to just walk around. I love going to Tempelhofer Feld. Tempelhofer Feld makes me feel at home. I have found my favorite park, you know? Finding your favorite just things are a great way to make yourself feel at home in this city. Finding your favorite bars, finding your favorite restaurants, finding your favorite activities to do, that is great. And once again, you don't have to have this mindset: Oh, well, I still need to go to every museum, I still need to do that.
[18:40] No, to be fair, you are trying to live in the city. This shit is not going anywhere. Your goal is to live in a city and make a city your home. And what makes a city your home is the familiarity, it's the comfortability. Yes, a novelty is great, and I always encourage you to always go out there and try new things, but if there's things that just make you feel at home and make you feel comfortable, there's no problem with just accepting that and settling into that. You don't need to do everything. You don't need to put yourself into every little pool. It's great if you can, and it's great if you want to, but you don't need to do that, you know? So finding these things that makes you feel at home, finding what livens you, what gives you joy, and what gives you peace, and what gives you comfort and what gives you security, that's so, so, so important. And if you can do that, always kudos to yourself.
[19:32] And another strategy I would say is ask yourself: What do I have control over? So like my friend, he feels that ... I was talking to my friend and he was saying that he feels that he was like only gonna be in Berlin for like another two years or whatnot and he feels that he has not necessarily done everything that he wants to do. He's not at the ideal job that he wants to do, and he feels that Berlin is slipping through his fingers because he can't get a job that he wants or whatnot. I can't say anything really about the job force or whatnot, but the one thing I can say is ask yourself the question: What do you have control over?
[20:12] Like he may not have control over jobs but his skill that he has is a great freelancer type of skill. He can start building up his own portfolio and reaching out to his own clients and actually putting an effort on his own type of method. When it comes to housing, I don't have control over these realtors and real estate agents getting back to me, but I do have control over if I start packing up my flat or not. I have control over looking on eBay and finding what furniture I want. I do have control over the budgeting for it and planning out how much I'll need whenever I do move into my flat. I do have control over those types of things.
[20:59] So I would say: Start focusing on what you do have control over, so then you give yourself a lot more motivation, a lot more excitement to do the things that mean something to you. It's a lot of this mental mind shift that goes into play here. Like a lot of it's all mental, and like that's why I just challenge you to focus on the gratitude, focus on committing yourself, and focus on what you do have control over. And these are also just not just specific to this Berlin. These are just general things just in life. It's something that I have to try to remember and keep in mind, especially with my anxiety. But yes, I've been making the mindset shift a lot with just feeling at home and just reminding myself that I'm at home, to telling myself that: Jae, I belong here. Jae, this is where I ... like this is the place ... like I deserve it. I've done the shit to get here. This place, I deserve all good things in this place, you know. Those affirmations and those like gratitude statements are really, really, really important, and it's something that you can just do for like a minute or two, like a day that can really go a long way, you know?
[22:25] I think I've started to realize that I've been making progress moving towards thriving in Berlin when, like as I mentioned, I have these safe places that I go to. And actually, you know what? It was the Aldi security guard that is right by my flat! When I first moved here, he was very much like, you know, just like, you know, like some Berliners, you have to warm up, they have to get to warm up to you, so he was just very civil, but very much like, "Eh." "Hi." "Bye." And now, he's a lot more kinder to me. He says hello and he smiles at me, and I'm like: Ah! I'm thriving here! Like the Aldi security guard likes me! I'm like: We warmed up to each other! And like, 'cause I go there all the time, you know, like this idea that you have these places that you always go to or that you know, really allows me to feel like: Oh yeah, you know, like I ... like the city is mine.
[23:25] Another thing that I've been trying to do is not resorting to panicking. You know, panicking was always my first, you know, like just first mode anytime anything bad goes, anytime something bad happens, I always end up panicking. And it's not the healthiest mindset to have, you know? But I have started to relax a bit and also tell myself that things are fine, I'm in no rush. Especially when it comes to housing, for example, I'm in no rush. If I find a great place now, great. If not, it's okay. Things will come when they come. It is okay. You're not being kicked out of Berlin. You're fine. And having to remind myself all the time that I am fine is like really necessary.
[24:12] Also telling myself that I can get back to something, you know, like it's not important that I deal with everything right now. The city is huge, there's a lot to do here, and you might not be able to go to every event or meet every person or whatnot, but you can come back to it. And if they've gone, that's fine, you'll meet a lot of new people. A lot about Berlin is a lot of just coming-and-going mentality, so you don't have to feel that you're in FOMO, nor do you have to feel like things are like slipping through your fingers.
[24:43] I also think it's very, very, very important to self-reflect, and also be a little bit self-aware in the process of transitioning from surviving to thriving. When I made my one year, I've been doing a lot of self-reflection, I've been doing a lot of journaling, I've been doing a lot of just like thinking about like my life and all my challenges and all the things that I've overcome this year and whatnot. And that really has helped me, I think, allowed me just to want to see all that I've accomplished, all that I have struggled with, but also see where I'm going and where I want my life to go to.
[25:15] Another thing that has allowed me to feel more about the thriving thing is, I wrote down what my goals were in my life or what my goals were in Berlin, and I realized that some of the actions that I had been taking weren't necessarily lining up to my goals. For example, I was doing a lot of going out, clubbing, eating out with friends, getting drinks, or whatnot, and that's all good. I love that for myself, I think it was great. But then I have goals of doing more art stuff, being outdoors more, having more time with these actual relationships, finding good housing, and then I ask myself, am I doing the actions that are actually getting me towards my goals? And the answer was no. So now I'm like: Okay, I'm now settled into Berlin. I've done the party scene. It's not going anywhere. It doesn't change. There's always a party every single month. I'm not missing anything. Maybe it's time that I can now take a break from that, and let's prioritize ourselves, our arts and what we want to do.
[26:20] And this like constant habit of self-reflecting allows me to always realize that, one, I'm in a good space, but also, two, what can I do to further allow myself to feel safe and to feel comfortable and to feel relaxed? It takes a lot of maintenance and it takes a lot of you caring for yourself and taking those time for yourselves, you know, and I would just really encourage you guys, you know, just to continue to do that. All the challenges that we face when moving to Berlin such as housing and finances, some of those challenges don't necessarily go away. Some of those challenges are repetitive, and you will experience them over and over and over again, but there is something that you have done. You have gotten through it before and you can get through it again. And I think that is when you realize that you are now comfortable, when you are now safe. It's when you realize that even in the eye of the storm, you'll be okay, and even if another storm comes, you'll always be okay.
[27:22] I just encourage you guys to think about where you're at and think about are you surviving, are you thriving, are you moving towards survival to thrival mode? And yeah, just have a conversation with yourselves and always know that you're doing awesome, and I am so happy and so proud of all the shit that you have done, and you should be happy and proud of all the shit that you have done too.
[27:47] So before I wrap up this episode, I want to talk about two things. First, if you don't know, we do have a Discord: Everyone Is Moving To Berlin, Discord that you can access on our website, everyone.berlin, and essentially, it is a place where people can talk, chat, interact, do everything they want to do about Berlin. It is a community that we are building, and we would love for you to be a part of it. So please feel free to go on everyone.berlin and access the Discord.
[28:19] Another thing that I want to talk about is I made a new website called jae-creates.com where I have now presented some of my AI art, and I would love for you guys just to just check it out, show your support or whatnot. So yeah, if you want to do that, they'll all be in the show notes. But thank you guys so much for another awesome episode and we will see you guys next week. Ciao ciao!