According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of transition is passage from one state, stage, subject or place to another. To put it more succinctly: transition is change. It is certain that our lives will be altered. Change, after all, is inherent. Some life transitions are expected; such as leaving school and entering the work world. Other transitions are unexpected and often unwelcome – like the break up of a relationship, loss of a job, or the death of a loved one. Moving through any transition can cause an array of negative feelings like anger, loss or sadness. Despite these challenges, there are things we can do to ease the inevitable transitions that will happen to all of us.
When moving through a life transition, it can be helpful to approach the situation with acceptance. By this I mean, simply accept that the process will likely bring fear, discomfort and uncertainty. Taking one step at a time and allowing yourself the necessary time to adjust to your new situation, will help keep you from becoming overwhelmed. Acknowledging your feelings during this process is very important. As Noam Shpancer, PhD writes in his article Emotional Acceptance, “Avoiding negative emotions seems like a good idea. It isn’t!” Trying to push down an emotion or coping by avoiding unpleasant feelings will not help you move through them. Accepting your emotional response will allow the feeling to pass and be released so you can move forward. Using your support network to talk things through will also help ease the burden. Often during these times people will seek out a mental health professional for additional guidance and support. This can be a good choice if mood becomes significantly affected by depressed or anxious feelings. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, PH.D also offers the following sound advice in her article 10 Ways to Make It Through Your Life Transitions:
“recognize that transitions hold a special place in your life memories, appreciate the benefits of change, remember the times you’ve successfully navigated a previous transition, use a transition to reflect on where your life has been and where it’s going, and use role models to inspire you through this transition.”
A second definition of transition is also provided in the dictionary and pertains to its use in literature: “Transitions can turn disconnected pieces of ideas into a united whole and prevent a reader from getting lost in the storyline.” This definition clarifies how essential transitions are to achieving flow and unity in writing with the goal of wholeness and a good outcome. Transitions can do the same thing in our lives by helping us tend to what has been changed or disrupted while assisting us in moving forward into our own next chapter. As Melanie Baron Eggleston says in her article The Beauty in Transition, “ It’s never easy and it’s rarely comfortable, but it helps me to think of it like a birth – often painful, scary and raw, but there is so much beauty bringing that new person to life.”
Learn more about the author of this post: Marsha Brock, LCPC