It’s been said that there are only two things in life that are certain and those are death and taxes.
To that short list, we would definitely add “change” and along with changes there are always “transitions” that
we must navigate through as well.
It’s how we handle relationship change and transitions in our lives that are partially responsible for our degree of happiness we feel in life.
So, why is this so important and how do we do this with as much skill and grace as possible?
Several years ago, we were going through a huge transition of our own–moving from the small Ohio town where we lived for many years to a house in a much larger city, Columbus, Ohio.
We know we are not alone and we’re willing to bet that small or large, you are probably going through some transition of your own right now.
We get calls and emails all the time from people who want to work with us and have us be their “coach” to help them work through relationship and other challenges.
In fact, some of you reading this are going through big relationship challenges that are causing you to consider the question of whether to “stay or go” in your relationship.
Others reading this may be going through separations from the people they love through death or other means, dealing with new jobs, new marriages, new homes, the challenges of dealing with parents who can no longer care for themselves, young children going off to school or older children leaving home for the first time for college. The list goes on and on of changes and transitions you may be dealing with right now.
All transitions usually come with a variety of emotions. Even new marriages are filled with ups and downs–from the joy and happiness of being with your loved one to the anxiety of living with a new person and getting used to new ways of doing things.
If you’re trying to decide whether to stay in your relationship or leave, that can mean you’re facing a lot of changes and a big transition.
Whatever the transition–and we all go through them–the question becomes this…
How do you go through transitions with as much peace, love and even joy as possible?
Here are some ways we’ve discovered to move through a relationship transition with grace and love for yourself and for others…
1. Recognize what you are feeling and know that it will pass.
We’ve heard it said that your emotions are like clouds passing by and they will eventually change and move on.
When you are in the middle of a transition, you might think that you’ll be stuck forever in sadness, grief, anxiety, ungroundedness or even anger.
This doesn’t have to happen if you allow yourself to acknowledge what you are feeling and tell yourself that this is what you are feeling now but that it can change.
Know that underneath the grief, anger or whatever else you are feeling is a place of love. Find that place of love inside yourself–love for beauty of nature, love for an animal, love for another human being. Find a thought
that feels better, even if it isn’t “love.” Just find some relief in another thought.
That relief is there if you just look for it.
2. Be patient with yourself and take the next step.
If you’re in the middle of a transition, you may not be ready to hear that this change will actually help you to become a better, happier person–if you choose to look at it that way.
The trick is to move through your emotions, being patient with yourself, with the knowing that this transition is for your higher good.
No one can tell you when it’s right to “move on” with your life after a transition. For Susie, the process of letting go of her old house and of living in the town where she had been living for almost 40 years took more than 9 months. For Otto, his letting go process was much quicker.
The idea is to feel what you are feeling, while allowing what may be your next step to show itself. If a step seems too big or overwhelming, back up and take a smaller step. Don’t be critical of your process or another’s.
Sometimes, all Susie could do was to sort through one small area in their previous home. That was her next step.
You be the judge of what your next step is.
3. Keep your “eyes on the prize” (where you want to go, do or be).
We played Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Eyes on the Prize” from his “Live in Dublin” album over and over as we were making our way through our recent moving process.
Each time, as we listened, we felt encouraged, uplifted and able to take another step forward toward our goal.
We suggest that you find some music, art, book, a meditation process, or type of exercise to keep you going when you start to feel discouraged and want to give up. Make it positive–something that uplifts you–instead of bringing you down or keeping you stuck in the past.
Last year, as Susie’s mother was in the process of passing, we played music that reminded us of how joyful her life had been. Sure we cried, but we also rejoiced in the beauty of who she was and it helped us to take that next step toward healing the hurt of her passing.
4. Finally, when you are faced with changes and are going though a “transition,” we suggest that you make yourself as conscious as possible about your “story” about what you are faced with or going through.
At every step of the way in our lives, we all tell ourselves “stories” as a way of making sense of what’s going on in our life.
When you are going through any transition, make sure the “story” you are telling yourself is a powerful one that will lead you toward more of what you want instead of it being a disempowering one that takes you away from what you want.
If your current “story” for your situation and life isn’t working for you, you can always change it and create a new story that does work for you.
Finally, there are many other things that you can do when going through life and relationship transitions like gather a support system around you–but we think you probably get the idea.
Transitions aren’t always fun to go through (although they can be) and we are inviting you to go through
whatever is happening in your life right now with a lot of love in your heart.