One of my new favorite humans is Sheryl Paul, international counselor and founder of Conscious Transitions. I wrote a post one time about how I viewed every change as a loss. I then proceeded to write about how viewing change as a loss was a terrible way to view change. While that may be true to a minor extent, following Sheryl's work has made me realize that it is normal and valid to feel a profound sense of loss while experiencing change and transition---because you are losing something. Whether it's comfort, love, security, identity, or peace of mind, we are losing something and figuring out how to embrace something else.
It is especially common to experience fear of and resistance to change as one year comes to a close and another one quickly approaches. We spend time looking back on the past year and thinking about what is to come in the next one. I always go through a quarterlife crisis this time of year. Every year brings new challenges and new changes to face. And I'm embarrassed to admit that all I want to do in the midst of such times is crawl under a table and rock back and forth until it's over.
Popular culture often pushes the notion that change is a good thing and that we should be happy about it and brave enough to face it. And when we resist, we feel as if something is wrong with us for not pushing through our fear and being more positive and enlightened. We think something is wrong with us for feeling terrified, heartbroken or confused.
Change shoves us out of our comfort zones, and while being out of our comfort zone ultimately leads to growth and healing, it's still a scary and sometimes painful place to be. Reminding myself that it's normal to freak out when things change actually makes change a little easier to deal with.
How do you deal with major transitions in your life? Do you view every change as a mini loss and go through stages of grief? Do you ever feel pressured to stuff down your true feelings about change or tell yourself that you "should" be brave or that you "should" be happy?
Leave me a comment or shoot me an email, and let me know your thoughts!