Mexican Living: What Makes You Happy?

Many ask me this question: "Did moving to Mexico make you happier?" My answer to that question is a resounding "no!" Does that shock you? Does that concern you? Does that cause you to pause? Do more questions come to mind?

Moving to Mexico did not make me happy.

To explain this I am going to have to get all Dr. Phil on you. If you are from America, you know exactly who that is and what he is all about. The man had an impact on my life I must confess. You should read his books. They might have an impact on your life too.

If you were an unhappy person living in America, you will more than likely be an unhappy person living in Mexico. If you have lived a life of reacting to circumstances with depression, rage, whining, crying, complaining, stress, anger or whatever, chances are you react the same way in Mexico. Moving here is not going to change that.

Circumstances or situations in our lives are nothing more than information. When the dog pees on the carpet, when the teenaged son wrecks the car, when the boss fires you, when you lose money in the stock market, all that is in your life is information or a stimulus. How you react to that information or stimulus is your choice.

Think about this for a moment. There is nothing in the examples I mentioned that has any power over you. These are just circumstances. They are "things" that happened. They have no power to control your feelings. The teenaged son wrecking the car is just a situation. It isn't good but it is just a situation. This situation cannot hold a gun to your head and say,

"Ok, now I demand you feel rage and scream and hit your kid."

If you do indeed react irresponsibly in that situation, it is because it is something you chose. No one, nothing is making you do anything.

Do you get this?

This is a hard concept for the victim mentality of someone coming from the American culture of victimization. It is what we have been led to believe. Someone or something is always at fault for "making us mad!"

How many times have you said to someone,

"You make me so mad!"

That phrase and the ideology that undergirds it, is programmed into Americans' thinking. It is as though we are on autopilot and say it without thinking.

If you have lived a life of rage, depression, anger, or whatever in America; that, dear reader, is a good indicator about how you will live in Mexico. Let me assure you there are going to be plenty of circumstances or stimuli in Mexico to which you are going to be tempted to react in the identical way you did to stimuli in America.

I cannot overemphasize this enough. Mexico will not change you. All it will do is provide you with a new set of circumstances, situations, information, or stimuli to which you will react in the same way you did in America.

If you believe moving to Mexico will change you then you are in for a big surprise and a heartbreaking disappointment.

If you are of the mind-set that someone or something else is responsible for your happiness, then you are not expatriation material so don't waste your time and money. Now, let me turn on a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. I believe it is possible for someone to change.

I think one can learn to choose better behavior. If you've lived your life with an anger control problem or whatever, then get some help before expatriating to Mexico.

Trust me when I say that Mexico has plenty of circumstances, situations, information, or stimuli in life that she will throw your way.

Doug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico. His new book, Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country, can be seen at">