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3 Types of Life Transitions

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

Whether we are aware of it or not, life is constantly changing. Even when we have a sense of stagnation, things around us still do change. This is the beauty of life; it only takes time to learn to appreciate it.

Most of the small changes have little impact on how we feel about ourselves, like starting yoga classes, knowing new friends, or challenging yourself to learn a new language.

Other changes are more impactful. They turn our life upside down and change forever the person we are. These changes are more profound; they change how we perceive ourselves; these are called life transitions.

What are life transitions?

Life transitions can be initiated by you or imposed on you. A life transition involves an internal process and a profound shift within yourself. It impacts the way you feel, think and act in the world. It also has an impact on self-perception.

What’s the difference between a change and life transition?

Changes are mainly external events. Change itself does not impact the way you perceive yourself.

CHANGE may lead to a life transition, but TRANSITION always leads us to a CHANGE.

Different types of life transitions

You’re likely to experience more than one transition in your life. Here are three different life transitions. The first two are most likely already part of your life experience, while the third is a little more uncommon.

1. Developmental Transitions

Developmental transitions are the changes you experience as part of growing and ageing. These include; the transition from child to adolescent, adolescent to adulthood, adulthood to middle age, and middle age to mature age. Even if these transitions are a natural process, in some cases, they can be profoundly painful. A lot depends on the personal attitude toward changes, the capability to understand one's inner process, the awareness one possesses and circumstances of the change.

2. Transitions initiated by external events

External events may result in profound life transitions, as they have the power to lead to a change of values and beliefs. After such events, there are some difficulties to recognise oneself. They can be extremely painful and take through a grief process, as most of the time, one loses its identity. It will take time, self-care and patience to recover.

Example of transitions initiated by external events:

  • Marriage or divorce

  • Career change or loss of job

  • Having or losing a child

  • Moving home, city or country

  • Serious illness (yours or family member)

  • Death of a loved person

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over.

But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm,

you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Haruki Murakami,

3. Awakening life transitions

Awakening life transitions can happen at any point in life, but not everyone will experience them. As the word “awakening” suggests, these transitions are changes in perception and awareness.

Life events don’t necessarily initiate awakening life transitions. An image, sentence, or feelings can trigger life awakenings.

Whatever the cause of your awakening is, it will initiate a profound search of meaning within yourself and change your life forever.

Transitions will change your life.

What is common about all life transitions? They’re not merely painful; they are also an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve your life.

I’ve seen life transitions affecting people’s lives in both positive and negative ways.

How you cope with your life transition depends on many factors including;

  • Flexibility towards the transition

  • Your willingness to change

  • Mental and physical health

  • Support systems in place

Transitions can be challenging. The best way to deal with a life transition is to take the time you need to heal and become your new self. Allow yourself extra patience. Practice self-care and reach out for support if you feel overwhelmed. The result may surprise you and most likely bring you new meaning, improved sense of self, and a joyful life.

Are you going through a life transition? Subscribe to the website and get free 30-minute online counselling. Talking helps.

Get in touch.

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