Gaining Self Confidence in a Foreign Land 自信のなかった私へ

Published on: March 17, 2021

The transition to a new life in Bangkok caused anxiety and loss of confidence for Fumi. She recollects how she gained strength and self-confidence through school and volunteer communities.

By Fumi Yasui / Translated by Chyi Lee​[日本語記事へ]

During my two years of volunteering for BAMBI’s editing team, I have had the opportunity to meet many amazing people. Each has their own special capabilities and shine in their own ways.

I wasn’t always a confident person.

I always thought that I didn’t have a special skill or professional qualification, and I was never given any huge responsibility when I was working in a corporate environment. Although my experiences before coming to Bangkok were part of my important life journey, I wasn’t particularly proud of them. 

When I was out interviewing and gathering stories for BAMBI magazine, I was often impressed by how confidently the interviewees talked about their profession and stories. Sometimes I even became a bit envious of them. 

I started to question why I was so unconfident? 

From what I read in parenting books, there’s a theme called ‘low self-affirmation’ — but I don’t think that is my problem. As an only child, my parents gave me lots of freedom and space to make my own decision since I was young, and I am quite comfortable with who I am. 

There is also a saying that perfectionism could kill confidence. This isn’t my case either, I am a very easy going person who fits well with the Thai ‘Mai Pen Rai’ characteristic. I can let go of problems very easily. 

Or is it because of the confidence gap between men and women? I used to read about the genetic difference between genders, that women tend to contemplate more and become more anxious about things compared with men, and hence they are less confident. 

Perhaps there’s no absolute reason for my lack of confidence, so I think it is probably linked to genetics and the anxiety that I felt when I first moved to Bangkok. Before the move, I was in a stable and predictable career so I had a sense of ‘helplessness’ with all the unknowns when I first came here. 

Shouldn’t I be proud of my years in Bangkok? The answer is “Yes”.  If my friend shared a similar concern, I would have answered, ‘This is your first time being a mom in a new city with an unfamiliar language, why don’t you just take it easy and enjoy your life here?’ 

But I didn’t want to blame the external environment for my discomfort. I wanted to be more proactive and positive about this change. Even though the move was due to my partner’s career (not my own decision), I wanted to stop lamenting and see it as an opportunity to achieve something from this new experience. 

I wanted to stop being a person who was always unnecessarily worrying about the unforeseen future. I had fallen into a vicious mental cycle that was not positive to anyone especially myself. Reflecting back, it gave me time to understand myself better and think about my future. 

Since then I became more active in various communities in Bangkok – I tried to make more friends, started schooling, and began volunteering. In these communities, I always felt supported and challenged, and I was given opportunities to try new things and to prove myself. I was finally able to feel proud and encouraged by what I have done and achieved here in the ‘City of Angels.’

I wouldn’t be able to achieve all of this alone; thanks to the communities, I gained valuable experiences here in Bangkok. Although I miss my family, friends and a job that I felt comfortable with, I was glad that I could find other new circles that made my life fulfilled in Bangkok. More importantly, it helped me find out more about myself; who I have become, and what I am capable of doing. 

Everything is my part of journey

Thinking back, the time when I was feeling uneasy and unconfident wasn’t wasted because it was part of my life journey. I recall that I was drifting and unable to face myself or live my life to the fullest. Then I started volunteering for BAMBI. At first, I told myself, ‘it’s okay if I can’t do it, but I can still give it a try,’ by taking the first step and starting something I gained valuable experience and confidence. 

Now I am about to return to Japan. I realize that time is finite and my time here was limited. Even though my time here is ending, this experience will certainly enrich my future life.

Moving back to the familiarity of my country, I hope I won’t fall into my comfort zone again, but will actively apply the experience of overcoming my low confidence in Bangkok and stay positive with any new occurrences. 

I look forward to seeing myself overcoming another helpless situation because I know that it is one of the best self-help opportunities to grow and to discover another dimension of myself. 

Photos courtesy of the author.





BY 安井芙美



















また、環境のせいにしても何も変わらない ということも身を持って体験できました。

パートナーの転勤 といった自分ではどうにもならない環境の変化を前向きに捉え、その中でできることを見つけていく という考え方もこの数年間で身につけたものでした。 

何より、自分一人では何もできないのでは?という不安が年々募る中、時折自分の将来について考えては一人で勝手に不安になる という、誰のためにもならない謎の凹み作業をこの数年間よく続けてきたとも思います。思い返せば、こんなにも自分に向き合い、将来について考えた時間はこれまでありませんでした。






















About the Author

Hailing from Japan, Fumi moved to Bangkok in 2016 for her husband’s job transfer. A mum of a 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy, she is part of BAMBI’s editorial team and enjoys writing articles and learning about other’s experiences.





The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects.

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