Transitions. Older woman sitting under a tree by the water.

Movin’ on Up—Making Difficult Transitions

Life is full of transitions. Some are big, life-altering changes, others are small changes in habits or activities, but transitions happen all the time. The more you’re conscious of them, the more intentional you can be. Try to notice any changes in your routine and ask yourself if they are intentional or just convenient. If you can be intentional about the little transitions, the decisions about big transitions will be easier to make.

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Personal. Illustration of man and woman fighting.

Don’t take It Personally—Even When It’s Personal

It can be hard not to take things personally.

There are many situations in which we feel insulted, belittled, or attacked. People act in ways that don’t align with our most deeply held values or strongest beliefs and we feel it’s an affront to us personally. It doesn’t even have to be part of an interaction with us. We might see someone on TV or read about them spouting ideas that insult or offend us. Social media is another culprit. We see things all the time that make us incredulous. We can’t help but to leave a scathing comment in reply. Finally, we will invariably run across people who just don’t like us. So what can we do? How can we respond or react to these people appropriately? How can we not take it personally?

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Reinterpret pain. A woman is working to stop the suffering associated with her pain.

Pain Interpretation—Separating Pain from Suffering

All of us feel pain at some point in our lives.

Most of us experience moderate pain, and some of us have to endure chronic, intense pain for extended periods. Pain is there for a reason—to warn us of harm, to let us know that something is wrong, or to stop us from doing further damage. It’s generally not pleasant, and is sometimes difficult or impossible to endure. But pain and suffering are not the same thing. Pain is a signal, and suffering is our reaction to it. In some cases, it’s possible to control or reinterpret that reaction and decrease or cease our suffering. It’s certainly easier said than done, and it may not work for everyone or in every circumstance, but it’s worth exploring.

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Resilience. A flower growing on barbed wire.

Personal Resilience—Thriving During the Hard Times

The past year was challenging for many. Most of us had unprecedented circumstances that we had to deal with and adapt to. Some of us faced more dire circumstances than others, including the presence of COVID and the resulting illness and loss of loved ones; the specter of losing our livelihoods; and the stress and uncertainty related to hurricanes, wildfires, and the alarming political landscape. It was not a relaxing year. How do we cope when everything seems out of whack and there are multiple sources of anxiety and stress? How can we learn to be resilient? It’s certainly not a switch we can turn on when we need it. We have to take the time to process what we’re going through while at the same time figuring out how we can best adapt to the specific effects of what we’re experiencing. This takes reflection, perspective, and proactivity. It also takes courage—we have to face the new reality and accept the changes that are happening.

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Ebb and flow. Silhouette of the girl on the background of sunset sky

Life Cycles—The Ebb and Flow of Our Lives

Most things in life are cyclical. We have periods when everything goes our way and periods when nothing seems to go right at all. This is natural and normal. Rather than always waiting for the highs and bemoaning the lows, we need to expect and learn from the lows and fully experience and be grateful for the highs. There is always something beautiful, meaningful, and important in our lives, even in the lowest points. 

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