Even when change is welcomed and happily received there is a letting go that must happen before we advance through the next stages of transition. William Bridges, author and change expert suggests asking yourself the following questions when you are in the early stage of transition. Taking the time to go through these questions should help you end this stage well and move into the 2nd of the 3 stages of transition.
Help Yourself to End Well
- Now that this change has occurred, what old ways of doing things must I give up?
- What have I lost?
- What needs do I have that will no longer be met?
- How can I meet those needs in other ways?
- Because of this change, what parts of me and the way I see myself are now out of date?
- How can I grieve these losses?
- What can I do to symbolically say good-bye?
In the spirit of transparency and with the intent of making this a true space for learning and development I am answering these questions for the change of my daughter going away to school for 5 months:
- Now that this change has occurred, what old ways of doing things must I give up? The biggest change that I have to let go of is the daily interaction with someone I greatly love and who loves me. I come home to my pets only, not a person. Nobody asks about my day consistently, I have a boyfriend, friends and other family who are interested in my life when we talk or see each other, but none of those are daily connections like my daughter and I had. My home life is the place with the greatest change.
- What have I lost? I have lost a deep personal connection on a daily basis.
- What needs do I have that will no longer be met? Daily companionship in my home.
- How can I meet those needs in other ways? Write letters to my daughter daily. Put more effort into connecting with friends and family members outside of my home. Transform my home into a personal retreat for me. Embrace the time this creates in my life.
- Because of this change, what parts of me and the way I see myself are now out of date? My home is no longer where I raise my family. My home is my retreat, where I recharge, rejuvenate, and explore ME.
- How can I grieve these losses? I think I need to allow the emotion of grief to surface for a brief amount of time when it does, then take action to move myself through the grief. I have not lost my daughter; I have just lost the daily companionship temporarily.
- What can I do to symbolically say good-bye? The first thing I did was change the home office to combine both desks into one big home work station. The second thing I did was reclaim my bathroom. I did not see these as ways of saying good bye, but as ways to say hello to ME and the opportunities this change would bring.
I think I have let go successfully. I think I am coming out of the second phase which we will explore tomorrow.
How about you? Have you been able to let go of the old so the new can come into your life? Today go through these questions and write in your own answers. Really take some time to think about what you have lost and how you will meet your needs in new and perhaps better ways.
Over the next few weeks I will blog about my journey through the change of my daughter leaving home for a few months. My intention is to really pay attention to what I am going through and learn from it. Then put this into a 30 Day Plan for others to use as a Framework for their New Change. Your insights on navigating change, your words of advice and wisdom, and your current or past experiences are welcome here. Please share and help me make this a space of learning and exploration.
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