You have to strive every minute to get rid of the life that you have planned in order to have the life that’s waiting to be yours.
– Joseph Campbell
As human beings we continue to grow and develop, moving from one stage to the next, including during adulthood. Transitions not only affect us, but also may have significant impact on relationships at home, work and in friendship. Some of the best-known life transitions occur predictably or were sought.
Getting through big changes
Transitions with easily understood consequences include:
- raising children
- going to/leaving high school
- college or military
- new job,
Sometimes we find ourselves letting go of old life structures and building new ones almost without awareness. At other times these transitions, whether anticipated or not, are difficult because it can be so hard to give up old ways that have become comfortable and familiar. Moreover, others may react to our changes in ways that range from supportive to problematic.
Getting through difficult times
Among the most difficult transitions are those coming upon us unexpectedly and painfully, forcing us to make changes we did not anticipate or seek.
Some examples are:
- death of a loved one
- loss of a job
- a major illness
- an unexpected move.
Research into adulthood has also demonstrated naturally occurring developmental challenges (sometimes called a “developmental crisis” to highlight both their normal inevitability and possible stressors) approximately every 7-10 years throughout life. Along with other issue-related life transitions, these stages allow for reworking of one’s previous beliefs and choices and a chance to consciously choose new paths.
In the process of transitioning, irrespective of the circumstances, we may have to put closure on the old, as well as work on the adjustment to a new phase of life or new life circumstances.
Transitions often present an opportunity for reshaping our relationship to ourselves and/or others, for self-reflection and self-discovery, experimentation, and the building of new skills. For some, spiritual growth is also a focus of these transitional periods.
Psychotherapy can be used to effectively understand ourselves during these times, to tolerate the confusion of change while considering choices, to grieve or put closure on endings, and to find the resources that will aid us in building that new life structure.
Reach out for help
Rebecca Compton is here to support you in getting through difficult times. Call now to make an appointment, or just fill out the contact form and click Send.Please share this post!