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Make Life Transitions Your Superpower

"The Romans had a wonderful expression for how our lives get upended when we least expect it: “Lupus in Fabula”, it means “the wolf in the fairy tale.” Just when life is going swimmingly, along comes a demon, a dragon, a diagnosis, a downsizing.

Just when our fairy tale seems poised to come true, a big, scary thing threatens to destroy everything around it"

Bruce Feiler

For many people, the idea of a transition or change (a lifequake) can have a negative connotation and it can be anxiety-inducing. After working with hundreds of women over 10 years I have come to see a positive side to change and life transition.

A life transition can be the catalyst that forces you out of a toxic or unhealthy situation. I often say to my clients that if they do not make the change necessary for their growth or evolution, the universe will do that for them by ‘spitting’ them out of the situation.

According to Psychologist, Bruce Feiler, a transition is how many of us get unstuck.

A lifequake may be voluntary (we leave a bad marriage, start a new enterprise) or involuntary (we get laid off, become ill), but the transition must be voluntary. We must choose to take the action and go through the process of turning our fear and anxiety into renewal and growth.

This I believe is the gift of transitions. Although they are painful, if we voluntarily enter the process, the payoffs are endless.

Make transition your superpower

Feiler states that when you enter a transition, you often feel either chaotic and out of control or sluggish and stuck in a rut.

Experiences of many therapists suggest that there is surprising order to these times.

Transitions have three phases:

The long goodbye in which you mourn the old you

The messy middle in which you shed habits and create new ones

The new beginning in which you unveil your fresh self

These phases need not happen in order. Each person tends to gravitate to the phase they’re best at (their transition superpower) and get bogged down in the one they’re weakest at.

Feiler points out that once we enter the messy middle phase, we begin to shed things, such as mindsets, routines, delusions, dreams. Like animals who molt when they enter a new phase, we cast off parts of our personality or bad habits.

I have had clients lose their job and at the time, it seems like the worst thing that could happen to them. However, 12 months later, they were running their own business and happier than ever.

Another client came to me after the end of a relationship. Her partner did not want children and she was holding onto the relationship hoping to change his mind. He broke up with her and after doing some healing work she met her current partner and is pregnant with their first child.

Yet another client was living with inconsiderate flatmates who were dirty and disruptive. She did not want to leave the home as it was in a great area and very cheap. The decision was taken from her when the landlord put the house on the market. This client was forced to evaluate whether she wanted to continue living in shared accommodations. She has now moved into a 1 bedroom apartment and is very happy.

A life transition can ultimately be a meaning-making exercise. It is an opportunity to revise and retell your life story, adding a new chapter in which you find meaning in your lifequake. The experience itself may have been positive or negative, but the story you tell about it can be positive and forward-looking.

In other words, we get to control the stories we tell about our transitions. Instead of viewing them as adversities that are done to us, we can see transitions for what they are, a time of healing that takes the challenging parts of our lives and begins to repair them.

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