Written by Randi Fine
Life transitions are uncomfortable and difficult but nothing would exist without them.
Transitions have beginnings and ends. We cannot possibly know what is in store for us, but hindsight of our past will assure us that everything will work out for the best. The confusion will pass, clarity will be restored, and our vitality for living will return. The end will always come, followed by a new beginning.
Change is an inevitable reality for all of us; it will come whether we are prepared for it or not. It is just another one of life’s challenges.
Acceptance of your reality and patience with the process are essential. Life transitions can either flow through their courses or turn into crises. They are what you make them. Resistance and avoidance only hinder the process and get you stuck. Flexibility is necessary.
Though we cannot always choose our circumstances, we can choose how we deal with them. We can be a victim of circumstance and give away our personal power, or we can make the best of the hand we are dealt and steer the course of our lives. It does not help to take a victim stance; to say “why me,” or feel sorry for ourselves. Life has not singled us out to be punished.
If you are one who has always resisted change, try to shift your way of thinking. Embrace transition as a positive process you can trust; an opportunity for rebirth. Life has a way of working out though it may take time to see the positive outcome. You can choose to have a positive outlook, to welcome change as a growth opportunity, even if you don’t understand he reasons behind the transition or are unprepared for the process. There is much in life that we do not understand. It is the big picture that counts.
When faced with the unknown it is natural to feel as if you have lost control of your life. That is because you probably have, but you have only lost control of certain aspects of it. Start by recognizing one small aspect of yourself or your life that you do have control over and exercise that control. Be sure to keep some things consistent. These strategies will help in re-balancing the loss of equilibrium you feel and give you back some of the power that you feel you have lost.
When experiencing life transitions, each of us deals with the associated change differently . No two experiences will be the same. There is no manual, but there are strategies you can apply that will make the process more manageable and less stressful.
You cannot accept your situation unless you acknowledge your feelings and face your fears.
Observe your life from the outside looking in. What is the overall picture of what is happening? Ask yourself what the worst thing that can happen is. Often your fears take on a life of their own and cause you to lose perspective. Take a step back; get out of your own head for a few minutes. Take a rational approach.
Spend time alone to learn about yourself and gain self-awareness. This is the time to figure out what your needs are and who you would like to become. Take care of yourself, body, mind, and spirit; eat well, exercise, rest, and do things you enjoy.
Change your attitude from dread to anticipation. Understand that the comfort of old routines is only temporary. Take a new perspective; look at change as an opportunity for rebirth and growth. Try to find something positive about whatever situation you are in. Ask yourself what the potential opportunities that can come from it are and focus on them. Look back at your past to see how situations beyond your control ultimately benefited you.
Set manageable short term and long term goals for yourself, and then celebrate when you reach them. Give yourself credit for the progress you make. Identify any resources available to you that will help you through the process.
You may want to express what you are feeling through journaling. Reflection and writing on a regular basis will help to reduce the confusion you feel, help you identify your fears, and help you reclaim the power your thoughts have over you.
Before you can embrace the new you have to let go of the old. Create an event to mark the end of the past and the start of a new beginning. Make a ritual of saying goodbye to people, situations, or places that will no longer be a part of your life. Be willing to let old identities, roles, and routines that no longer serve a purpose in your life go.
Allow yourself to imagine the future as you hope it will be. Seek inspiration through books, blogs, podcasts, and special interest groups.
Don’t be afraid to humble yourself and ask for help. Share your feelings with those who are truly supportive of you, unconditionally accept you, and encourage you. You may need people you can emotionally lean on for awhile, people who will patiently listen to you as you obsess over the same feelings and frustrations over and over; people who will affirm what you are feeling and are willing to share their own experiences, their own positive outcomes, and offer you a more positive viewpoint.
Find an accountability partner—someone who will keep you on track, encourage you, and bring you back to reality when you stray. This is person you will share your plans and goals with who will motivate you to keep moving forward. Choose someone you can trust to be brutally honest and give you a dose of tough love whenever you need it.
Progressing forward in a healthy way is critical to the process. You may need the help of a financial counselor or mental health professionals to guide you.
Think about the many life transitions you have passed through. Realize that they have delivered you to this moment. You made it through the best and you made it through the worst, and you are still here to talk about it.
How did you deal with past changes? What would you do different? What have you learned as a result of transition and how has it transformed you?
The most important and probably most difficult part of the process is taking the first step toward accomplishment. Begin by taking one small step at a time. Put one foot in front of the other and propel yourself forward, no matter how insignificant the effort may seem.
Be proud of where you have come from, the strength you mustered in the past that got you through hard times, and the wisdom you gained as a result. That wisdom will be tremendously helpful in your ongoing life.
You may be experiencing life transitions now and you certainly will be in the future. Expect that in life there will be periods of smooth sailing and times of hardship. Sometimes you will easily stroll down the path of life and sometimes you will veer off course.
Transitions are not indications of failure; they are opportunities for growth, renewal, and rebirth. They allow us to become the best we can possibly be.