Change may be the only constant, but that doesn't make it easy for any of us. Even when positive, life transitions can be complex at best, leaving us with mixed feelings and even a sense of loss.
After all, in order for your life to move forward, certain things must be left behind, right?
A life transition can be any big and/or relatively recent change your life has undergone. While some can adapt with little difficulty, many may find these changes extremely painful and wrought with uncertainty.
If the latter is the case, it may be best for you to speak with a professional therapist, who can guide you through the highs and lows of your life's new direction, and help you make the most at every turn.
Here are some of the most common signs of a life transition, and how therapy can make all the difference in how you adapt.
You Recently Relocated
If you've changed jobs or physically moved to a new state or country, you probably know better than anyone how hard it can be to acclimate.
Whether it's new coworkers or new neighbors, finding your place in an unfamiliar environment takes time and an open mind, especially if the vibes seem more hostile than welcoming.
Both our homes and jobs are significant markers of stability, and replacing either can feel more like upheaval than progress.
You've Lost Someone
The loss of a loved one is something you never quite recover from, and such grief is one of the most common, albeit painful, life transitions. Adjusting to life after another has passed on can feel like an impossible feat, but you're far from alone.
Additionally, this loss may not necessarily pertain to death, but rather the end of a friendship or dissolution of a marriage. It's perfectly normal to mourn the loss of these relationships, as well as question your own identity outside of them.
Or Welcomed A New Addition
As mentioned above, some life transitions can be cause for celebration, such as the arrival of a new baby. Becoming a parent is perhaps the biggest endeavor one can take, and it's understandable that this would bring about as much anxiety as joy.
First-time parents may especially feel a mixture of elation and apprehension, no matter the planning or anticipation, and struggle to adjust to their news roles.
Becoming a parent can have a ripple effect on other areas of your life, bringing about multiple “mini” life transitions: friends may drift with the altering of your social availability, and as your values change so too might the environment you constructed pre-baby.
Changes To The Self
Sometimes the most poignant life transitions occur from within: a spiritual awakening, a desire to improve certain aspects of your physical and mental health, or the desire to move away from that which no longer enriches you.
These internal changes can take place at any time, but usually occur as we grow older and start to reevaluate our surroundings, as well as the people we've chosen to surround ourselves with.
Pursuing deeper meaning in your life is a transformative process, but that doesn't mean everybody will be on board; you may in fact encounter some negative pushback from former acquaintances and even friends.
Not everyone may be in support of your quest for improvement, particularly if their own security depends on the former dichotomy.
Stages Of Life Transitions
Much like grief, there are a number of steps in a life transition, laid out as such:
- Experiencing a range of “hot and cold” feelings including self-doubt, excitement, anxiety, and hope
- Feeling a loss of confidence while you navigate your new circumstances
- Gradual acceptance of the change
- Acknowledgement that in order to make the most of your future, you'll need to let go of the past
- The beginning of positive feelings about the future
- An increase in self-esteem
- The development of a more optimistic outlook on the future
How Can Therapy Help?
If you've experienced any of the above transitions, you know how lonely and confusing such periods can be. The good news is, with the right therapist you can articulate your feelings, identify your goals, and learn to focus on the rewards rather than the losses as you embark on this new chapter in your life.
While this can be achieved with both in-office and online therapy, the latter may be more convenient for those who have just moved locations and are still getting their bearings, as well as new parents with complicated schedules.
A therapist will guide you through the seven steps listed above, and help you maintain balance and perspective concerning your situation.
You therapist will likely encourage you to practice self care, and not be in such a rush to reach your desired conclusion.
The process of healing and strengthening takes time and commitment, whether it's grappling with a loss or making the most out of a potentially rewarding experience, and a therapist will help you stay focused and positive.