Today’s guest blog is from relationship coach Barbara Waxman, who introduces a new word (at least to me) and more importantly, reminds us all that there are several ways to look at situations or struggles we encounter. There’s always a silver lining, even if it takes several seasons to arrive.
Endbeginnings. I first came across this beautiful, made-up word a number of years ago when I read Rachel Remen’s book, Kitchen Table Wisdom. At the time it didn’t resonate; I remember thinking it was witty.
I just re-read Rachel’s book and this concept has stopped me in my tracks. Endbeginnings. I am right there. My youngest son recently left for college. The house is quiet. The refrigerator empty. I miss his friends showing up to hang out. I miss his energy, enthusiasm, silliness and I miss the role of a mom with kids at home. That life chapter has ended.
At the same time, the house is quiet. I can shop for the things my husband and I want to eat. I can even skip dinner if I want to. I can travel more, take the Italian language seminar I’ve been putting off, become a regular at that evening yoga class…it’s a beginning. The question is, which will I focus my emotional energy on?
There are all kinds of endbeginnings. Penny, a coaching client, recently ended a long-term relationship. This was the man she wanted to marry. She committed to him for years, they enjoyed one another tremendously but ultimately, he wasn’t willing to commit to marriage. After numerous breakups with promises of a proposal that never materialized, Penny found the strength to end the relationship. Although she chose it, Penny mourned that ending, unable, for over two years, to see that it as an endbeginning. We talked about this a lot. We talked about acceptance and shifting focus to possibilities rather than wishing for a different past. I’m happy to tell you that Penny was recently married to a wonderful man.
Are you ending something? A relationship? A role you’ve cherished? A job? Do you find yourself feeling stuck in the sadness? Feeling as though that ending was your future? Try some or all of these steps to help you begin again:
• Allow yourself some “wallowing time.” Fifteen minutes of pure focus on the sadness of that ending. Then pick yourself up and move on for the day.
• Learn from your life experience. Think about other endings that were hard. What beginning followed?
• Lean on your friends — that’s what they’re there for.
• Start a gratitude journal. Be conscious about three things you are thankful for every day.
• Challenge yourself to do something new. It could be physical, like running a race. It could be learning a new language or signing up for a dating site. Venture slightly out of your comfort zone.
Learn more about Barbara Waxman, America’s Favorite Coach for Adults Midlife and Better.