As I am sitting on the balcony of a wonderful ship, relaxing and letting the sea air blow over me – watching the activity in the harbor, I cannot help but feel calm. I’ve been thinking a lot about transitions and how they affect our lives. How they have affected my life. During this trip something interesting presented itself to me that was a perfect reminder about how transitions in my life have informed how I lived my life and how I could move forward beyond those points in my life while valuing the impact they have had on me. I think that some of this insight could be helpful to you or someone you know.
I have been on some wonderful tours on this trip and on one day as we were finishing the tour of Dubrovnik a Facebook memory came up on my tablet – it was the entry I made on the day I took my father to Memory Care – October 4, 2014. While I feel I have healed from that day, I could tell that there is more work for me to do from the reaction I had when reading this poignant memory. What I shared with my Facebook page that day gave me another glimpse about what I was feeling in that moment, on that day. I talked about being vulnerable, about those who I love and those who supported me during that difficult time.
If you think about it – when are times when you have felt lonely, isolated, maybe like you could never share these feelings with those who you care about or love because you feel they will not understand or maybe even that they will see that you cannot stand alone. You may even feel that it is some sort of weakness to share these personal feelings. Maybe someone you trusted has let you down so you have built up what you think is a wall so you won’t feel that kind of hear searing pain again.
There are very few times in our lives when we are totally alone, in fact humans are social creatures and are not meant to be alone for long periods of time. If you have read stories about prisoners of war or about children who have been isolated you will have read about the psychological and even physical damage this has caused them. In fact those who do survive have often figured out some way to communicate with those around them even if they are not allowed to speak to others around them – they work out elaborate codes and other ways to communicate. Humans are resilient and figure out ways to survive.
Think about it…what are the strengths you have used during difficult transitions that have helped you move forward? In my example, my father became a risk to himself if he remained at home. I was supporting my mother, who could not make this decision alone and I was supported by my husband who made sure that once I took my father to Memory Care that I would leave intact. He in fact was my safety net of unconditional love. I also have a close friend who has lived through a similar situation and whom I trust with my thoughts because I feel she can handle it. And I learned that I could not entirely deal with that transition all at once and was very glad that I have posted the raw, open thoughts on Facebook. Now I know I have more healing and work to do. My father has since passed away and even the grieving at his funeral has not completely allowed me to move on from being the one who took him to Memory Care.
So we end this blog together, with me thinking about it – what supports are a priority to have in place for you? It could be in this example, that you have family support or you may need someone neutral to talk to whom you trust to be honest with you. You may identify others that you trust – a friend, pastor, teacher, neighbor, parent or counselor. Then the next step is to have the strength to overcome your fear of sharing that raw emotion. And not seeing these feelings as a weakness. I realize that I need to do some work with a counselor to move forward to my next steps of healing. What do you need to do to further deal with your transitions in life? Trust your emotions and let them be your guide – if they are popping up in different ways – for example like this Facebook post affected me while on a beautiful vacation getaway, it could be because there are transitions that have occurred in your life that have strong feelings attached to them. Remember that emotions are very powerful and can impact your life in many different ways.
You can work with a counselor to identify what strengths are in your life that you rely on daily – maybe you can make a decision, plan and follow through – this is the strength that helped me the most. Your strength may be that of compassion and understanding. Or that you have clarity of thought. You will then be able to set goals and use these strengths to help you move through leftover emotions to a healthier you.
All I ask is that you just think about it because many transitions in our lives shape how we are dealing with our current day to day lives. Watch for other “just think about it” blogs as we will discuss other important transitions and how they can shape who you are and how you proceed in your own life.