Coping With Life Transitions

by Rose

Coping With Life TransitionsA long time ago, I learned that our lives can change in a "New York Minute" and never–ever be the same again. My life instantly fell apart when I found myself in a sudden divorce. One day I was happily married and the next month I was filing for a divorce. It was a devastating time to say the least.
 
Some of the major crisis that are very painful are the death of a loved one, an unexpected divorce, the loss of job, a financial loss, or a sudden move. All of these events are very stressful and we are completely devastated when these situations happen.  All of a sudden, we are feeling emotions that are outrageous such as shock, denial, anger, desperation, abandonment, fear, shame, bitterness, betrayal, depression, grief-stricken, helpless, hysterical, insecure, petrified, rejected, tearful, as well as experiencing many more negative emotions. These are all natural feelings that we will sometimes feel throughout this time of grief. You are just barely coping with this sudden chaos and turmoil in your life.
 
Nearly everybody has been through some kind of crisis in their lifetime unless they are one of the fortunate/unfortunate ones whose lives have sailed along fairly smoothly throughout the years. I have met some of those people and I actually felt very sorry for them because they had never had the 'opportunity' to grow through life's challenges and were really very shallow. Many of them had not acquired the depth of the lessons and wisdom that we learn on the journey of a life crisis that are truly transformational.   
 
I've learned that it’s difficult enough to manage a major life transition that was planned. However, what do you do when one enters your life through a sudden crisis? The depth and complexity of your crisis will eventually determine what you’ll do, how you handle it, and the choices you make along the way.
 
I remember that when I found myself in the middle of my traumatic divorce I told God that IF this was what I had to go through then, for Him to help me 'Grow' through it rather than just 'Go' through it. I did NOT want to go through this much pain and suffering for nothing and I certainly did not want to go through this again!  Therefore, I chose to grow through it. I asked that Him to mold me, to make me, and refine me as I walked through the fire of hell. And, He did! He brought all kinds of people, books, seminars, events, as well as all kinds of healing/counseling modalities into my life to help me grow and begin the process of healing.
 
However, I learned that are several steps that we can do that will make our situation easier as we are coping with this life transition. The amount of time it will take for every person to get through these steps will vary, as grief is a very individual process for everybody. Some people can move through them faster than others can. But, whether it takes somebody a long time to get through these steps or whether somebody can do it faster does not matter. These steps in managing this life transition emotionally are the same.
 
The first thing you need to do is to step back from the situation and realistically assess two things.
1. Become an observer.
2. Look at your crisis from another perspective. In other words, try to see the good that might come out of it.
 
Next, ask yourself: "What is the worst thing that can happen to me"?  It's important to accept your answer as a mere factual statement. Turn off your emotional attachment to the situation as best as you can by being your own mediator between your thoughts and the real world. That’s not the same as suppressing your emotions. It just means that you have to be able to think "through them" and not "with them."
 
This is especially true when your expectations of the worst-case scenario are exaggerated. Today, many people are facing financial crisis. The truth however, is that you have probably NEVER gone hungry and never will.  You may have to learn to do things differently. In fact, we may all have to do things differently, but that’s why a crisis exists. It’s a catalyst for change and life will just be different from now on.
 
Now, ask yourself what the "best possible outcome" could be. Let your imagination help you. Every crisis contains an equal amount of opportunity in it if you take the time to look for it. I have experienced many–many significant crises in my life. In some, I was able to see the 'opportunity' right away and in others, it took quite some time. My divorce is one that took me years to get over simply because I could not accept that it was happening since I did not want it. Have faith that the best possible outcome will happen in time although you may not see it as you are coping.  
 
For example: What if you did have to move? That might become a major adventure in your life. Visualize the people you would meet, the new activities that you could participate in, or the advantages for your family. Think of the legacy you will leave behind when you can tell your grandchildren what happened to you throughout that painful time. This will be an eye-opening experience for them to hear the story from you that helped make you a better person with more character, wisdom, and experiences to share with them. 
 
Then, ask yourself what you can do at this time. If there is something within your power to change for the better, then do it. Brainstorm with yourself to find an answer that will help you change for the better. Find a trained professional to help you such as a counselor or a specialized grief counselor. Often it is closer than you think. But, remember: The only thing you have the power to change is what’s going on in your own mind and how you choose to go through this transition.
 
As you are going through this major life crisis, it is important that you admit that you don’t know what to do and to be able to ask for help. Sometimes, this means letting go of your ego and humble yourself enough to ask for help. You were not meant to live this life alone. There are people surrounding you every day who are truly angels in disguise and would jump at the chance to help you–if you would only ask. There are infinite human beings everywhere that have unlimited resources to help you in this situation.
 
Now, the last thing you need to do is to accept the fact this this crisis and this major life transition is the Universe’s way of pointing you in a new direction. Be willing to look down that road and see what is waiting for you there. It will be a road full of emotions both positive and negative. However, it will also be a road full of life lessons that you have learned, perceptions that you changed, and new beliefs that you shifted to; as well as the opportunity for walking a path of wisdom and arriving at a newer and better you. There is so much hope for you and with this major transformation that you have just been through. Celebrate that– because you are a 'new you'. 
 
"As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves." –Mahatma Gandhi

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Victoria Gazeley March 19, 2011 at 10:21 PM

Your story is so important for anyone going through a traumatic situation.  Thank you for sharing it with us.

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Rose March 19, 2011 at 10:36 PM

Victoria–IF you really knew my story you would faint. I did not write everything else that happened throughout the time I was going through my divorce. In time I will write about all of that. Thanks for posting.

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Donovan Grant March 19, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Great post Rose. I agree that when we look at things from different perspectives, we can see them through fresh eyes. This will enable us to grow through them. This post will be a timely read for many people.

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Rose March 19, 2011 at 10:13 PM

Thank you, Donovan. We get to shift when we choose.

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Solvita March 19, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Life is all about change, when we agree we are willing to change. It is not possible to grow without lessons in life, they are hidden gifts we receive, when we don't see those gifts, and then life becomes a suffering. It's good to know we always have a choice…:)thanks for sharing!

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Rose Mis March 18, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Rose … thank you so much for sharing these very valuable insights. I think that at one time or another each and everyone of us will have to "transition" through a challenging situation. Awareness of what to expect and knowing how to cope are the at the heart of growing through rather than just going through that part of our lives. All of these things happen for a reason … and as you pointed out … it ultimately leads us to a new chapter in life requiring the "new me" to show up !!
I LOVE the changes that you have made to your site … WOW … WOW … WOW !! I am EXCITED for you !!

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Rose March 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Thank you, Rose. You are such a sweetheart.

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Carol Giambri March 18, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Rose, Thanks for sharing. Being a "new you" takes work and worth it.   A New York minute can happen to anyone.  It's probably "pressing through" that helps make us better for our next chapter of growing.

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Michele March 18, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Thanks for sharing your insights Rose. Life lessons are always challenging.

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