“Honour the space between no longer and not yet.” Nancy Levin
Yes, we have all been through much change over the past two months. I wonder if any of your personal relationships have also changed?
And how are you handling the transition that goes along with the change?
If you’re not sure what I mean, here’s a quick recap of William Bridges’ transition theory.
A change is the external event or situation – positive or negative – that is largely practical. For example, a change could include the tangibles of welcoming a new friend or baby to your life, or saying goodbye to someone who is no longer your friend or is moving away.
A transition is your internal experience of the change – emotional and mental – that is a gradual process of adjustment. So, the intangible transition of moving through the psychological part of handling the new arrival or the departure of someone from your life.
If you find yourself stuck in a relationship, it could be that you haven’t moved through one of the ‘3 Stages of Transition’ in their natural order:
- The Ending – You enter a change here, and identify what you are losing and how to manage these losses. Think of it like a storm’s arrival.
- The Neutral Zone – The bridging between old and new, you are in the confusing and murky middle of change. This is like the foggy calm after the storm.
- The New Beginning – The final stage where you accept the new normal with renewed energy and start to experience wins in your new direction. Here the sun, or even a rainbow, are visible through the parting clouds.
Considering a personal relationship of yours that is currently changing, what stage are you in?
If you find you’re not steadily moving through that stage of transition, here are some suggestions to help you gain some momentum with your relationship transition:
1. If you’re stuck in your relationship’s ending (or ending in the sense that it will be different going forward than what it was before), do your grief work. Both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ relationship changes involve some element of letting go: of who you were, of what was, or of what never will become. Allow yourself the space to feel and release your sorrow.
2. If you’re lost in your relationship’s neutral zone, address your fears, doubts and resistance. This period can feel very uncomfortable as you may sometimes want to go back to how things were, but you also know that you must move forward. Resist the urge to fill this emptiness to avoid the temporary discomfort. Learn new perspectives or resources, from trustworthy sources and people, to address your limits and worries.
3. If you’re caught in the new beginning, spark up your desires. You’re starting to become more clear on who you are and how you are in relationships. Bravely dream up the best possible outcomes for yourself and pursue what feels right for you. Take small steps, and try small things, as you increase your confidence in your new identity and reality.
From here, I’m confident you’ll notice some momentum through your changing relationship. Reach out to may any time for further clarification. Together we’ll catch a glimpse of your fair weather relationship forecast.