Transitions aren’t easy, even when they are positive transitions. There is a myth that when you’re making a happy life change, everything should be rainbows and sunshine. But this is rarely the case. All transitions – “good” and “bad” – come with it an element of uncertainty and instability, which can cause angst, stress, and emotional upheaval.
“But I should be happy…”
Even when you’re transitioning to something that you want and have been looking forward to, fear and uncertainty can set in.
This fear and uncertainty can cause you to panic or question your decisions. You think to yourself, “I should be happy,” and when you’re not, you start second-guessing yourself.
When you hear yourself using the word “should,” press the pause button. “Should” is an indicator that you are trying to talk yourself into feeling a certain way. Instead of rationalizing your feelings, try to accept them, feel them, and then understand them.
Feel your feelings
Anytime we feel “bad” or “negative” feelings (like fear, discomfort, anger, sadness, frustration) we want to push them away and get back to feeling happy as soon as possible.
We try to do all the things — focus on staying positive, make gratitude lists, put on a happy face, stay busy — hoping that will somehow drive out our underlying emotions.
We do this with noble intent.
But if you keep covering up your feelings or pretending they don’t exist, you won’t process them. If you don’t process them, they’ll just come back again later, stronger than ever.
This is why it’s so important to give yourself permission to actually feel your feelings, especially in times of transition. In order to do this, you must first stop assigning labels like “good” or “bad” or “positive” or “negative” to feelings. Accept that feelings simply are what they are, and there is no need to judge them.
Practice identifying the feeling you have. Name it and acknowledge that it’s there. You’re not strengthening it by recognizing it; you are uncovering it so that it can come out of hiding and be addressed.
Change your view of uncertainty
Most of us cling to what’s familiar (even if what’s familiar isn’t that great) simply to avoid dealing with uncertainty.
We go through excruciating pains to avoid the unease of not knowing. But have you ever thought about how your life would be different if you stopped avoiding uncertainty?
What if instead of avoiding it, you accepted or even embraced it?
Often times what comes after moving through uncertainty is a time of great personal growth and life changing experiences.
When you can learn to stop running from the uncertainty and instead just stay with it, be curious about it, without judging it, you won’t spend all your time and energy fighting against it. Instead, you’ll be in a graceful state of acceptance.
Another way to process uncertainty through transitions is to trust yourself. Know that whatever is is happening for you, you will get through it, and you will come out the other side even better.
If you’re finding it hard to embrace uncertainty, try surrendering to and trusting the universe. If you knew the universe was guiding you in the right direction, how could your relax and enjoy the process?
Find your outlets
Whatever feeds your soul, seek out and engage in those activities during times of transition. Spend time doing things that nurture you, make you feel rested and rejuvenated, help you feel calm and relaxed, and allow you to access joy and contentment.
Do you feel like journaling, taking a walk in nature, meditating, kickboxing, doing yoga, spending time with animals? Whatever it is, make time for it. If you can, make time every day to do at least one activity that supports you.
The only qualification is that it must feed your soul, nurture you, and help you find a release.
Writing, specifically, can help you get the thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Sometimes we continue to process things in our head because we have a fear of forgetting them. Dumping it all out onto paper can help you to stop ruminating and start letting go.
Be patient with yourself
You can’t rush change. Well, you can, but you can’t rush the way you process change. And the feelings that surround the change must be processed in order for you to move to the next phase.
Allow yourself the time and space to process your transition. Just because it’s a positive change or something that you want doesn’t mean you will feel instantly happy. There is always loss that comes with change, and it’s important to acknowledge that loss.
Be patient and ease into your new life. Trust that you will slowly move from the caterpillar state to the butterfly state in its natural process, the way it was meant to be.
When you’re feeling impatient, remember to revert back to the present moment, where you are OK, knowing that this, too, will pass.
It is possible for you to move through transitions with ease and grace. When you know that you have the ability to handle whatever unfolds for you, you can simply let go, experience the process, and feel confident that you will come out the other side even stronger.
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