Endings and new beginnings

Whether it’s a new job, a new relationship, or a change of city or country to live in, a new beginning will always signify an ending of some sort.

For instance, a new commitment to a relationship will mean the ending of your days being single. This might stir up panic or joy depending on what that ending means to you. A change of job might feel exciting and daunting, and still another part of you misses the security of the old job. What comes to mind when you think of endings? Which emotions become stirred up in you? Sadness, regret, or loss?

How do you view endings? As something exciting or terrible? Endings inevitably bring about change. Sometimes there might be a reluctance to change, and at other times we might embrace the change and new beginning.

Perhaps how we view the change depends on the element of control that we have over the ending and the new beginning. If the control has been taken away from you, then you are bound to feel that the ending is a loss. There may be a period of regret or grief; think the ending of a relationship. How could this possibly be a good thing or a 'new beginning', I hear you cry. But if you dig deep you might realise that change and a new beginning was needed. To make room for new habits, relationships, or jobs, then we have to change the old ways.

Change takes time

Much of it is about acceptance. To accept change, we have to try not to fight it. Allow yourself to grieve, rage, be angry... whatever it is that you feel about the ending is OK. Once you realise that those emotions won’t be with you forever, once you allow yourself to feel them, then you realise that you can move on. Embrace the change and begin anew.

Sometimes, we might cling onto the idea of the ending for fear of what it may bring. Possible scenarios play out endlessly and rumination can be draining. Scenes and images play out in loops in our minds and we are unsure about what we feel. For some people, they would prefer to wait until the decision is made for them. Yet you know deep down that the ending is what you need. Fear holds you back; fear of making the 'wrong' decision, fear of the unknown, fear of emotions that may arise from the decision, and fear of leaping out of the all too familiar comfort zone.

Once you decide on change, then you no longer have to wonder. The decision has been made and you can find some relief. Now is the time to be brave and accept that you made that decision. If the decision was made for you, then it is time to accept. Try to view it as though the path that you were on was simply not for you. Is there anything good to come out of the ending? Maybe it’s time to sit down and make a list of all the good that can happen now that there has been the ending. You didn’t have to make a decision, but now you can look forward to starting anew.

New beginnings and endings can also signal a change in routine and habits. We are creatures of habit, and for most of us having a predictable routine can be a comfort, even if we are bored of it and know we need to change. The end of a career or a relationship might mean that we have to create a new routine; we might have vast amounts of weekends to ourselves when once we shared the time with a partner, or we may have to rethink our work schedule and how we are going to fit family and commuting into that. Starting a new routine can feel scary. More thought has to go into the routine, and we may be left with emotions that we’ve not had to deal with in a while such as overwhelm, anxiety, fear, and worry.

Endings mean we may have to rethink our identity. Who are we in our new roles? Who are we without the relationship or career? The ending may lead to exploring the sense of self. We may feel unsettled and unsure until a new beginning grounds us in a new role and a more certain sense of self. Any kind of change can disrupt this sense of self where once we felt so sure of ourselves, our routine and our place in the world. We might be left feeling a little 'lost' and cast adrift, and this is what makes endings and change so frightening.

What if we don’t like our new beginnings? Will we feel worse and be lost forever? No emotions are forever and all emotions pass; both good and bad. Nothing is permanent; whether that means the situation that you are in now that you enjoy so much or a situation that you wish to change. Think about the number of changes that you have gone through in your life. How have you coped with them in the past? Chances are you have coped with endings, change, and new beginnings and lived to tell the story. Some endings have been for the best and some maybe not so, but think about how much you have grown, and learnt, from these changes. When you reflect on what you have been through in your life, you know that you can get through this ending too, emerge, and begin again.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, SK23

Written by Samantha Flanagan

Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, SK23

I am a member of BACP with a level 7, PGdip in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy. I am qualified to work with many issues which include but are not limited to: emotional abuse, trauma, anxiety, depression, substance mis-use, developmental trauma, domestic violence.

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