Making sense of life's changes
I was interested recently by an article about Western society today and an amazingly positive view of how good we have it in the UK. In all honesty, I must agree with some of the ideas that we here in the UK actually have it pretty good when we look to other parts of the world. However, as a therapist, I am also painfully aware that such a wonderfully positive mental attitude is not always so easy to adopt. What about the situations which invariably crop up throughout life which ‘throw us off balance’? How do we cope with life’s transitions as they occur, often without any prior warning?
Change happens, inevitably. Sometimes, trauma happens…. In whatever shape or form it may manifest. Perhaps the life transition is becoming a mother, or the youngest child starting school or maybe the shock of redundancy and loss of income. Occasionally, the trauma goes much deeper and it takes time, courage and being given an opportunity to have ones story heard without fear of judgement for an inner healing to begin.
Life itself is a process of endings and beginnings. Note that I begin with the term ‘endings’ because each ending presents a new beginning, a life transition and a challenge. Most transitions start with loss of some kind or another, whether it is a role which offers you an ‘identity’, the loss of a loved one, or losing a sense of who you really are and where you belong. Frequently, a significant loss creates a sense of fear and anxiety and we may become depressed. Sometimes we feel depressed and we don’t even know why….. there’s just a feeling of ‘wondering what it’s all about’ – whatever ‘it’ is.
Transition, when looked at from a positive point of view, offers a chance to begin to explore who we are and what we really want from life. If we choose to ‘go within’ and reflect, often the result can be a sense of renewal and a new faith in life. We are given the opportunity to ‘go on an inner journey’ and explore – perhaps take the time to write a journal, begin a course of meditation, study our dreams or talk to a friend. The possibilities are, in fact, endless – if only we can see them, but there are times when we can’t. Perhaps at these times, it’s OK to seek the help of a doctor or therapist and give ourselves permission to feel our feelings, rather than attempt to tell the world ‘we are fine’ when we’re not!
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About Elise Wardle
Elise Wardle MA is an accredited counsellor, psychotherapist and supervisor in private practice. Integrative and Jungian in orientation, her specialisation is in depth psychology with a focus on dreams and the journey within, or for those who need intervention therapy, brief focused counselling is also frequently offered to clients.