Here’s some do and don’ts to mentally chew on during transitions.
- Don’t tie present emotions to past negativity. – When we’re in the ‘here and now,’ it’s much easier to cope with emotions and see them as just that: emotions. If we get caught up obsessing over the past, emotions and situations can take on new (and untrue) meanings as they become attached to stories. For example, imagine you just got turned down for a new job. Obviously, you’re disappointed. But if you’re not present with that emotion, and instead try to act like a tough girl or guy by burying it, the mind delves back into your past for all the other times you’ve felt that way. Now you feel like a failure and you start to carry a feeling of unworthiness into every future job interview. When we stay present, we’re empowered to start fresh every moment and we can see every situation with a sharpened perspective, which allows us to grow beyond the negative emotions (and outcomes) standing in our way.
- Do realize that if the grass looks greener on the other side, it’s time to stop staring. Stop comparing, stop complaining, and start watering the grass you’re standing on. Stop looking for the next best thing, because what you have could be pretty great if you put in the time!
- Don’t try (or pretend) to be perfect. – Despite what others may tell you, you can disappoint people and still be good enough. You can fail and still be smart, capable and talented. You can let people down and still be worthwhile and deserving of love and admiration. Everyone has disappointed someone they care about at some point. Everyone messes up, lets people down, and makes mistakes. Not because we’re all inadequate or inept, but because we’re all imperfect and human. Expecting anything different is setting yourself up for confusion and disappointment.
- Do express gratitude and think about how rich you are. – Your family and friends are priceless, your time is gold, and your health is true wealth. Try to be thankful for one thing in every situation. Being thankful doesn’t lessen your situation, but it does help to put it in perspective.
- Don’t get stuck thinking the world is ending. – Sometimes the darkest times can bring you to the brightest places, your most painful struggles can grant you the greatest growth, and the most heartbreaking losses of relationships can make room for the most wonderful people. What seems like a curse at the moment can actually be a blessing in disguise, and what seems like the end of the road is actually just the realization that you are meant to travel a different path. No matter how difficult things seem, there’s always hope. And no matter how powerless you feel or how horrible things seem, you can’t give up. You have to keep going. Even when it’s scary, even when all your strength seems gone, you have to keep picking yourself back up and moving forward, because whatever you’re battling in the moment, it will pass, and you will make it through. You’ve made it this far, and you’ve felt this way before. Think about it. Remember that time awhile back when you thought the world was ending? It didn’t. And it isn’t ending this time either.
- Do realize that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. – Just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean it’s worth your while. Do what’s right in life, not what’s easy. Nothing great comes easy in life.
- Don’t take other people’s behavior personally. – It’s easy to feel unloved and unwanted when people aren’t able to communicate and connect with you in the way you expect. And it’s so hard not to internalize that disconnection as a reflection on your worth. But the truth is, the way other people behave and function is usually not about you. Most people are so caught up in their own problems, responsibilities, and struggles, that the thought of asking you how you’re doing doesn’t even cross their mind. They aren’t trying to be mean or uncaring – they’re just busy and a bit self-centered at times. And that’s okay. It’s not evidence of some fundamental flaw on your part. It doesn’t make you unlovable or unworthy. It just means that some people aren’t very good at looking beyond their own egocentric bubble. But the fact that you are – that despite the darkness you feel, you have the ability to share your love and light with others – is an incredible strength.
- Do admit when you are wrong, and then embrace the fact that you are wiser now than you were before. – People, it’s okay! It’s okay to be wrong. It means you don’t know everything; admitting that shows a lot of humility and gains respect. No one likes a know-it-all anyways!
- Don’t try to escape change. – Sometimes, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel to admit it, there are things in our lives that aren’t meant to stay. Change may not be what we want, but it’s always exactly what’s happening. The earth does not stop spinning. And sometimes saying goodbye is the hardest thing you will ever have to do. Or saying hello will make you more vulnerable and uneasy than you ever thought possible. Some changes are almost too much to bear. But most of the time, change is the only thing that will save your life and allow you to dream and grow and succeed and smile again. Life changes every single moment, and so can you.
- Do see transitions in life as the perfect opportunity to let go of one situation and embrace something even better coming your way. – Transitions aren’t easy, but boy, are they worth it!