Life is filled with transitions and they’re difficult. There are planned and positive transitions like marriage, promotion, a new child, graduations, and career changes. Then there are the unexpected transitions like job loss, divorce, an illness, the death of someone you love, relocation, and financial problems.
I’ve had some positive transitions in my life including getting married, becoming a dad, and starting a business. I’ve also had some negative transitions. Many fail to realize that the positive transitions can derail people just like the negative ones if not handled properly.
You CAN go through any major adjustment in life ending up healthier on the other side. Here are three actions that have gotten me through my darkest days. Each actions can help you navigate your positive transitions just as well.
Action #1: Don’t Go at It Alone
We were not made to go through the challenges of life all alone. Our supportive friendships and communities (groups, clubs, etc.) are the backbone of any recovery. They decrease our stress level because they share the heavy load with us. The odds of progress and recovery increases tenfold when we engage our support networks during our struggles and allow them to love us.
Engaging support also means risking people actually not being supportive. During positive and negative adjustments, we discover the truth about our relationships. Those we thought were supportive we realize are not. The truth can hurt but it also brings clarity and freedom. Take the time to identify those people and groups you intuitively know have your back and engage them consistently.
During my darkest days, I called and texted friends and family dozens and dozens of times. I’ve attended hundreds and hundreds of support group meetings. I’ve made some of my closest friendships during the worst times. Get around people who care about you, especially when you feel like nobody does.
Action #2: Make Your Perspective Healthy
There’s ALWAYS HOPE. There’s always a reason to be grateful. I hated hearing those 2 statements from people, but they’re true. My mom told me hundreds of times, “Adam, you’ll get through this”. Although hearing this often frustrated me, it also helped me change my attitude.
What you focus on the most, you will magnify. Be very careful where you focus your attention and energy when struggling. Little changes in the content you listen to, the people you engage, and the things you watch and read will change your perspective fro negative to positive. There is tremendous power in willfully choosing to be grateful.
Some days, doing my daily 5 & 5, where I list things that have happened recently in my life that were positive and what I’m excited about in the near future, was nothing more than an act of the will. Willfully reflect on what’s good in your life and the opportunities ahead, especially when it feels like there are none.
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Action #3: Be Your Own Best Friend
When I’ve struggled the most, making the intentionally choice to treat myself in the same fashion that I would treat a close friend has made a big difference. Since I want to be a loyal, faithful, generous, and gracious friend to others, I must give myself that same type of treatment. Not expecting perfection and celebrating the small steps in the right direction.
You’re no good to anyone if you don’t take good care of yourself. Identify tasks, activities, and things that fill you up and make them a part of your day. Engage these activities, especially when that’s the last thing you want to do. Eliminate, minimize, and delegate those tasks, activities, and things that drain you. Here’s a worksheet I frequently use with clients that can help you clarify your energizing and draining activities.
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