To my way of seeing transitions in life, there are three types or categories, the natural transitions, the transitions unwillingly imposed upon us, and that the ones that we initiate for our betterment. In our life time, we will go through many, some will be lighthearted, others will be disconcerting, and still others will push us to our very limits.
A natural transition is one that sees us moving onto the next phase in life, such as, birthdays, graduating from elementary to high school, to university, etc. Unwillingly imposed upon us transitions can be changes that we don't see coming, loss of a job, divorce, death of a loved one, and loss of personal belongings (with the wildfires in our province right now, the loss of homes, etc.). Transitions we initiate include getting married, having a baby, new homes, and career changes.
Of course, any of the examples given above can be seen in any of the categories depending on how you feel about them. Any transition in our lives can leave us feeling anxious. In fact, during any change in our life, we can run a whole gambit of emotions, often in the space of a minute. Transitions can be exhausting, draining us not only on an emotional level but a mental and physical level as well.
Like I said, transitions are a part of our lives, ready or not. Whatever the circumstances, navigating them can be difficult, so how can we best survive and thrive during these times?
First off, expect that you are going to be feeling many emotions, and chances are others around you will be feeling those same feelings. Most transitions pull us out of our comfort zones, which allows our imaginations to run wild. It is natural to worry about our future and be uncertain. Be gentle with yourself and others. Even if you initiated the change, chances are you are going to be thrown for a loop. Whenever we are leaving something behind we experience a period of grief. Accept whatever you are experiencing emotionally as a natural progression to seeing you through this phase. By accepting what is, you open to gracefully moving forward.
Don't get hung up on the past. You must acknowledge your loss, but pining for what can no longer be is not going to help you. The adage "when one door closes, another one opens" can be helpful to remind you that while we don't always know why something is happening it can often lead to better things. My personal favourite is knowing that when space is freed up in my life, something always comes along to fill it.
Look at it as an opportunity. Look for the silver lining. You might not be able to see it right away but if you stay confident, something will show itself. Even in your darkest moments, and please don't try to shove them under some proverbial rug, try to see something positive.
Get support. Don't try to go it on your own. Even though you probably feel like being a hermit, allow others to help you. Support can be a friendly ear, a hug, shared laughter, and even a different opinion. Chances are they have gone through something similar and know what you are experiencing.
Realize that transitions can happen quickly, or they can take time, but no matter what, they will conclude. Then, when it is all said and done, you might feel empty. Life can seem suspended, with a "now what" feeling that has no immediate answers. Part of this emptiness is attributed to putting all our eggs in one basket; we don't see past "the event", we focus solely on what is happening. It is common to have a period of "floating," as our adrenaline levels come back to normal. It bothers us to have this sense of emptiness as we are active beings, we feel best when we have something to be doing. Something to work towards, call it an innate need to be vigorously pursuing a goal. However, the quiet after the storm is just what we need between transitions. Use this period as a time of relaxation that prepares you for whatever reveals itself next.
In life, all comfort zones eventually come to an end as we evolve more and more into our true selves. Life in general never allows you to get too comfortable. Just when you think you have it figured out, along comes something that challenges your thoughts, beliefs and actions. If we learn to channel our anxiety around change into productive energy, it will help propel us into the next stage of growth and discovery. It requires that we trust in our abilities and capabilities to handle whatever life serves us so that we give into rather than fight the transitions.
Transitions usually bring about a positive change in our life. We might take years to understand why something happened. However, in life, everything is connected. One step leads to the next, and with each step we become our best selves. Next time you feel the anxiety of change about to control your life, pause, take a deep breath, and know within your heart this too shall pass and you will come out the other side better and stronger than you are right now!
Copyright (c) 2017 by Marlene Cobb. All rights reserved. You may quote, copy, translate and link to this article, in its entirety, on free, non-donation based websites only, as long as you include the author name and a working link to www.merrlina.com . All other uses are strictly prohibited.