When youíre in transition, you may feel very, very uncomfortable. Whether youíve lost or left a job, become a new mother, buried a loved one, divorced a spouse, found yourself with an empty nest, or been diagnosed with an illness, youíre likely to find yourself feeling constricted, at least at first.
You gut feels tight. Your heart hurts. You curl into a ball. You shrink. Itís like a mini-death.
You mourn the loss of your former self, letting go of your identity as Mrs. Such-and-Such, or the mother of [insert your childís name], or the expert in [insert your job title here], or the healthy being you were before your illness. You must say goodbye to a part of yourself that will never be the same again. You are irrevocably changed — whether you like it or not.
And even if that change is a positive one, itís likely to hurt.
The topic of our conversation was ďTransitions,Ē and given that Iím in the midst of yet another transition, having just left my medical practice, I eagerly anticipated our gathering. Rachelís words about the subject moved me so deeply I wanted to share what I took away from our meeting.
Transitions Are Like Birth
When we are in transition, we go on our own heroís journey, of sorts. We start out in our usual state — which may be simultaneously comfortable and miserable, as it is when a marriage is falling apart or you leave a job you hate. No matter how unhappy you are, at least itís a known quantity. And many of us prefer a state of known unhappiness to something completely unknown that lies on the other side of a transition.
And so we often stay unhappy, choosing what we know over the mystery of the unknown. Until the pain of staying put exceeds the fear of the unknown. Or until we get pushed off the cliff against our will, as happens when someone dies, or we wind up with cancer, or someone divorces us.
Next: How to not get stuck in the narrow place