Don’t forget to grieve the loss of what was when you celebrate major milestones and positive change. It is normal and necessary to feel the pangs of letting go while adjusting to your new circumstances. role.
There are many milestones and life events that we celebrate throughout our lives. You may be getting married, having a first child, moving into that dream house, getting the job you always wanted, becoming a grandparent. If you are experiencing such a transition, you might be confused when you find yourself feeling melancholy or disoriented. The change is positive—it represents something you have wanted for a long time; you’ve been looking forward to reaching this important milestone. Why then would you be feeling anything but joy and celebration? What are these intrusive and unsettling feelings all about?
What I want you to know is that you are experiencing a normal and important aspect of change—feeling the loss of what was as you adjust to what now is.
When we are faced with a positive change in our lives, we often forget to grieve. We don’t associate such negative feelings with positive change. So if you are going through a welcomed transition, don’t be surprised if on occasion you feel irritable, as if something is not right. You might wake up one day feeling the blues or wishing your life was back to “normal.” If this occurs, don’t be concerned. It doesn’t mean that your new life circumstances are bad. It doesn’t mean that you made the wrong choice. It simply means that you are letting go of your old way of life.
Here are a few suggestions on what you can do to move through your transitions with more ease.
- Make sure you give yourself permission to feel sad about losing life as you knew it. It doesn’t mean you’re betraying your new life in any way. Take the time to grieve.
- Have or do something that anchors you to the old while you adjust to your new life’s circumstances. If you got married, keep a tradition that you did while single—at least for a while.
- Call on your support system during times of change. You may feel a bit disoriented as you adjust to your new role. Having familiar and supportive people around you will help you as you shift into your new identity.
- Monitor your expectations. Even positive change comes with its challenges. Things may go wrong, your life may not turn out exactly as you thought it would, and the change may require more of you than you anticipated.
- Understand that transitions take time. Give yourself and your significant others enough time to move through the transition before you decide if the change was good or not. Remember, life is messy and change is challenging. Life is rarely greener on the other side of the fence – it’s just another location from which to live.
- As with most things in life, keep your sense of humor.
Times of change and transition are golden opportunities for you to redefine your relationship. Take a look and see what your relationship needs in order to feel supported as the relationship moves through the change. You may find the relationship’s needs have changed as well as well as your own. Share your story with our community. How did you deal with loss the last time you moved through a major transition? What worked well and what did not? When you share your story with others, you empower both yourself and our community. If you find yourself struggling with any change or transition, I’m here to help. For a private consultation, contact me via email or call at 310-379-5855 or 1-888-99PATHS.
Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery
Create Relationships in Your Life That Work — learn more at www.julieorlov.com