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Life Transition: Embracing the Middle Phase

embracing changes

Life transitions begin with a life change and the end of an essential aspect of the self or life known up to that moment. 

  • Life transitions are characterised by three phases:

  • The ending phase can be sudden or chosen, pushing one out of the comfort zone.

  • The middle phase is characterised by exploring ways to cope with inner emotional confusion and finding a new meaning.

The final phase is the new beginning phase; this phase is about consolidating the new skills learned. There is finally a direction to work toward and openness to the future.

A deeper explanation about endings was covered in previous blogs, Explore 4 Different Types of Life Transitions and Life Transitions: Why Are Changes So Painful? 

explore possibilities

The challenge of the absence of directions.

We naturally identify with the roles we take up in life: parent, child, student, worker, partner. We identify with that role, and it defines our purpose. When that purpose ends, the question is about what is next.

The middle phase is characterised by researching a new direction that gives life meaning.

Emotions during this phase range from confusion, emptiness, self-doubt, and an upcoming curiosity about the future. In the middle phase, there is no clear plan, but there is a strong awareness that there is no chance for things to go back to the old.This phase can be exciting; there are no limits except the self-imposed ones.

"What matters is not the meaning of life in general,

but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment."

Victor Frankl

Embracing Life Transitions: Building a New Identity

Developing a new self goes along with the need to adapt to a different perception of the selfIt's a slow process, therefore, any transition requires time. An example of this can be moving country. Arriving in a new country is not only about adapting to your new surroundings but also finding new reference points, a place to stay, making new friends, sometimes learning a new language, adapting to new habits, and finding a new job. It takes a lot of adjustment skills.

It is an exciting, challenging, complex time. 

Sticking to the past will make the transition harder. Instead, focusing on the process of rebuilding helps find opportunities to explore what the future self may look like.

building a new self

“I have always believed, and I still believe that

whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always

give it meaning and transform it into something of value.”

Hermann Hesse

Supporting yourself through the Middle Phase

The openness to adjust to the situation, learning new skills, and making new friends will allow you to explore different aspects of your potential. This phase can be a great experience if you trust yourself enough to roam outside your comfort zone.

This phase has no limits other than the ones you set.

While resistance to change is natural, it is likely to increase feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety and self-loath. Embracing life transitions accelerates progress towards the new self and cultivating awareness and inner flexibility makes the progress toward the final phase easier. 

Be curious, embrace every new opportunity for growth, and observe this unknown self outside the usual comfort zone.

embracing challenges

Here are some ways to help yourself through the Middle Phase;

  • Be kind to yourself. Pay attention to the words you use when you’re talking to yourself; it is essential to use positive self-talk.

  • Practice mindfulness, learn to meditate or use breathing techniques. Slow down and observe how you’re feeling, embrace those feelings, and allow them to be with you but not to rule your experience.

  • Do walks in nature; nature is therapeutic and healing; allow yourself to observe your surroundings mindfully.

  • Exercise regularly, no matter what kind of activity you choose. Dancing, gym or yoga classes are a great way to socialise.

  • Try something new, be open to your new experience, and explore things you were interested in doing but needed more time and courage to try.

  • Consider to resuming activities you loved in the past and gave up.

  • Make an effort to socialise and meet new people.

Listen to yourself and notice what feels good. Embrace the new and do what’s right for you.

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

Brené Brown

When unpleasant feelings rule your day for too long, it’s time to reach out to someone you trust. You don't have to face everything alone. If you need someone to talk to, contact a helpline, a support group, or a professional. Your GP or a counsellor can make a difference in your wellbeing. 

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