There are defining moments in the journey of life transition. It is arriving at the place of committing to decision…the decision to retire, to divorce, to change careers, to move. This list could go on and on as our lives are filled with changes both big and small. It is that moment of standing at the crossroad of choosing to take the leap, or stay with what is familiar, that causes our uneasiness…
This month I am remembering my own crossroads…my leap into forming Women Reshaping Lives. It was February 2012. I’d done my homework and decided on my specialty; women’s life transitions. It was exciting, frightening and daunting!
When I recently came across the papers I signed in 2012 that made the vision of my counseling practice real, I connected to feeling my anxiety as a pit in my stomach and my heart pounding. Can you relate to feeling physical symptoms of discomfort, uneasiness and anxiety when being on the threshold of crossing over into a life change?
Maybe in the process of signing those divorce papers or mortgage documents, your hand was shaking and your thoughts were racing. That very point of stepping across the line into your life transition can bring on a whole range of emotions and accompanying physical sensations.
These are important signals that let us know we will need to let go of whatever we are clinging to in order to move forward. It is this moment of truth and trust in oneself that is the catalyst for choosing a new path and knowing that it is right, healthy and meant to be.
Sally knew that she could not stay in her marriage any longer, but this didn’t make the letting go any easier. She had made a home and raised a family with her husband. Over their 25 years together the storms of life had changed them both. They were no longer healthy together, but she couldn’t quite imagine them apart either. Sally knew in her heart that it was the right decision. Her crossroads was the process of releasing what was.
“How strange” she thought… “my situation even has a name.” Sally had read about how the eroding marital relationship in later years had come to be labeled “gray divorce”…couples breaking up in their 50’s, 60″s and beyond. How had she come to being in this group?
Along with wrestling with her decision and how she had even come to this place, Sally also experienced sleep difficulties and a loss of appetite. Now she was at that point of no return…making the divorce final and a panic attack was coming over her.
What can you do when you find yourself at that crossroads of choice? Here are 4 strategies for dealing with whatever physical and emotional forms this uneasiness of change has for you at your moment of finalizing your decision and making that change a reality.
1. Accept Where You Are
Rather than fighting what you feel, bring understanding and self-compassion to yourself. The fact that your transition is so hard is a testament to how much the place you have been has meant to you. The love that was in the years of your marriage or the passion and pride that you had for your career before retirement are important to honor especially at that moment of letting go.
2. Letting Go
Fears, anxieties or doubts and how they show up in our bodies, are signals that we need to recognize and understand them before we are ready to see how they are holding us back. By grieving the loss of what was, we free ourselves to be able to release it in order to move forward.
3. Gather Your Support System Around You
Having a friend be by your side at that definitive moment can provide you with the support you need. Feeling their presence can make a world of difference. Seeking help from a professional who will listen and provide a safe space for you to express and explore your feelings is another source of support. Reach inside yourself as well to access your sense of hope and faith that all will be okay.
4. See New Possibility
Hold on tightly to what brought you to your decision and the promise of new beginnings. That old place that you are leaving may have been comfortable in its familiarity, but know that you’ve outgrown it. It doesn’t fit anymore. It is time to try on and embrace something new that will fit you better.
Sally signed the divorce papers and bravely stepped into her new life. Through the challenge of her transition, she has learned a lot about herself. She has created a fresh and fulfilling beginning. Sally is learning and growing with each new adventure. She continues to nurture a growing self-confidence within. Sally has come to recognize the strength and resilience that brought her through her divorce and will be there for her when she is faced with new challenges.
With my hands shaking and my heart pounding, I signed the papers that made Women Reshaping Lives, LLC a reality. At my crossroads I saw and believed in my vision. I couldn’t imagine at the time how that would take root and grow, but it certainly has! Now, 5 years later, I remember with much gratitude how I took the plunge back then and began my journey. I was where I was meant to be then and I am where I am meant to be today.
Are you currently anticipating or experiencing the uneasiness of change? Do you need some support on your way? If you do, please give me a call. Support is what Women Reshaping Lives is all about.