Making the Most of Our Life Transitions

From our newsletter Emotional Wellness Matters,
(found on the newsletter) *This newsletter is intended to offer information only and recognizes that individual issues may differ from those broad guidelines. Personal issues should be addressed  within a therapeutic context with a professional familiar with the details of the problem. Copyright 2016 Simmonds Publications: 550 La Jolla Blvd., 306, La Jolla, CA 92037

There are times to let go of the old and embrace the new

Throughout the course of our lives we experience many endings and many beginnings. In nature we observe times when things move slowly without visible change- and then suddenly an acceleration occurs followed by a transformation. Daffodil shoots emerge from the cold ground, and then before we know it bloom in a dazzling array of perfumed beauty. Tree leaves which have been green all summer suddenly turn gold and within a short time are blown to the ground, the tree’s branches left bare. Transitions are as natural as night and day. And so it is with our lives.

Life transitions are predictable changes in our lives associated with a discontinuity with the past. With each change we must give up the protective structures which have carried us through and then face the world anew with a sense of fragility and vulnerability. These times of disruptions may force us to test the limits of our ability to adapt. However, with each transition we have the opportunity to learn a great deal about our inner coping resources and to ask ourselves what we really want out of life. This period of self-reflection can then lead to self-renewal and a new phase of stability and eventual equilibrium.

At times transitions are thrust upon us dramatically and unexpectedly. Disabling accidents, the deaths of those in our lives, divorce, the loss of a job, an illness- all of these events mean that we must leave something behind and then adjust to a new way of living, even if we feel totally unprepared to do so. These events can strike without warning and leave us in a personal crisis characterized by denial, anger, mourning and withdrawal. But not all transitions emerge from negative experiences. Marriage, a new job, a move to a new city, the birth of a child, reacquaintance with an old friend- these events which may be planned  and expected can also lead us into the process of a life transition.