Considerations for Life Transitions

We go through countless transitions and endings, learning early on to say goodbye to teachers at the end of each school year, and as we get older, to friends, colleagues, and people or places we care about deeply. Maybe you learned that leaving meant only looking forward, being told, "look on the bright side at what's to come!" or "aren't you glad that's done now?" Starting something new, even if exciting, can bring along a host of feelings, insecurities, and fears. So we feign nonchalance and wonder how everybody else manages to be so on top of everything.

These beginnings and endings can leave a lasting impact, one whose effect builds with each following transition until you are left with a deep sense of uncertainty and inadequacy. Talking about, processing, and understanding all the component parts of what you are experiencing can build confidence and a stronger sense of self.

To begin unraveling the difficulty of the change you are experiencing, consider the following:

  • What does this change signify to you?

  • Separate from the logistical changes entailed, how does this transition shift your expectations of yourself? How do you perceive others in similar roles?

  • How do you wish to relate to others in this new role?

  • Are there additional external pressures or expectations involved?

  • How have changes in the past been handled? What worked or didn't work about it?

  • What does your voice of fear say to you about how you will be in this new situation?

  • What version of yourself is ending or diminished in response to this change?

  • What did you enjoy or appreciate about that version of yourself? What are you hoping to move beyond?

  • During the time that is coming to an end, what were the moments that stood out to you either positively or negatively?

  • What is something you learned about yourself that you want to remember?

  • What are the parts of you that have stayed stable throughout various previous transitions?

  • What is an aspect of you that feels genuine that you want to bring with you into the new situation?

Allowing yourself to reflect on and grieve the ending of a part of you lets you move forward. Taking some time to appraise the new situation and clarify your goals and values can keep you focused and decrease comparisons to others.