In earlier blogs, I talked about the difference between change and transition. Change is an external event or situation that you experience and transition is the psychological and behavioral response to the change.
In other words, change is what happens and transition is what you think, feel, do because of what happened.
Imagine that you’ve decided to redesign your bedroom from top to bottom. You start by ripping out the floors, selling your old furniture and taking out your dated ceiling fan. That’s the change.
The transition is how you feel about letting go of your dresser from your first apartment. It’s the uncertainty you feel as you try to imagine then sensation when your feet don’t land on carpet on a cold winter morning. You wonder whether or not adding a chair and table will make the room too crowded. Periods of excitement over all the possibilities are followed by moments of getting stuck in uncertainty as you contemplate a myriad of design choices.
Eventually, a transformed bedroom emerges. Although you'll continue to adapt to the new, the change and transition are complete. You have a new bedroom that you can use in a completely new way. Picture sitting in your reading nook with a good book bathing in the afternoon sunlight.
Many of us struggle with transitions and may even avoid change all together. However, change is a normal part of life and the transition that follows occur swhether or not we try to hide from it.
Transition begins when we say goodbye to those things associated with our pre-change life. Think of the people, places, routines, and behaviors that you let go of. Goodbye you lumpy queen mattress. Hello California King!
During the transition phase you let go of the old so that you can welcome in new relationships, habits, thoughts, and things. This in-between period can be filled with uncertainty, unfamiliarity, and anxiety. This is the part many of us try to skip over. However, this can also be a time of discovery and growth.
However, change is a normal part of life and the transition that follows occurs whether or not we try to hide from it.
Learn how your walk through the process of transition can bring confidence and renewal.
4 Steps to Navigating Transition
Start by acknowledging a change has happened. Commit to dealing with the thoughts and feeling that come with tranisiton. Tell yourself that you can do hard things and you don't have to avoid this process.
If the transition feels hard, then so be it. You can do hard things and sit with difficult emotions. Talk to the supportive people around you and let them help you go through the process.
If the transition feels manageable or even easy, that’s OK too. Maybe you were ready for the thoughts and feelings that this change has brought and are primed to keep moving forward. Take some time to reflect on what has helped this particular transition go so smoothly.
Allow yourself to feel all of the feelings. Know that you can sit with anxiety and uncertainty without letting those emotions overwhelm you. You are not your emotions. However, emotions give you important information about how your brain and body are experiencing a certain situation.
Try to observe and understand your emotions without rushing to react. When you manage your emotions without letting them hi-jack your brain and behavior, you can respond to situations with choice and intention.
Let go of outcome
At the end of the day, we don’t always have control over the changes that come into our lives. However, you do have choices about how you move through the process of transition. Even if you can’t control how change manifests, you can make decisions that will help you adapt to and live with any change.
Change and the transition that follows can trigger uncomfortable feelings like anxiety and confusion. However, you can embrace change when you are empowered to move through transition with insight and see transition as an opportunity for growth.