Creating Balance In Transition
Change or transition? I start many of my writings from this question because there is an erroneous tendency to use both words interchangeably with each other.
Change is an event; Transition is a process of changing from one state or condition into another. While change may trigger a transition, change may also just be an event in which something becomes different than it was.
Some trademark feelings associated with transition are: Feeling alone Confusion Fear, or feeling scared Feeling like no one understands you Wanting to hide Discomfort or unsettled feelings
It is the last descriptor I provide that I am diving into today: The feeling or sense of being unsettled or off balance is uncomfortable for the greater majority of us. How can we manage that?
The unsettled fears
Let’s face it: feeling unsettled can feel really crappy. It often leads to stress because of the thoughts our mind conjures up in trying to answer all the uncertainties that come along with being unsettled.
When asked what we are scared of so many of us say, “I am scared of the unknown.” Well, that’s just not true. We cannot be scared of what is unknown. We are scared of what we think about the unknown. That’s what actually scares us. The story that we create about it in our mind.
What the mind doesn’t have an answer for, it will create to fill in the blanks. And we can’t really stop the mind from thinking whatever crazy thoughts it thinks up.
So what can we do?
The mind will grab hold of us if we have nothing solid to latch onto. So, when we are wandering in the unknown and feeling groundless, that is when we are most susceptible to the torture thoughts of the mind.
What helps is knowing (learning) what we are grounded in, even when everything else in our life feels in upheaval. I am talking about knowing our values and boundaries. This is our foundation. And in a transition – especially one that follows an event that really rocked us – our values may have shifted.
When we become clear on the result of that shift, we feel a sense of solid footing beneath us again.
Getting grounded in our values
The circumstances of our life may be shifting and uncertain, but we can remain solid as a rock when we are clear on our values and what we stand for. Boundaries come from having a strong set of values that we uphold to ourselves.
One way to get clear on your values is by taking a personal values inventory. You can either write out your values as you think of them, or you can find a values compilation worksheet online. I prefer the latter because these sheets typically have about 50-200 different values to choose from. I recommend searching for the sheet that best suits you, with words that resonate with you. The words that the author chooses does affect the ‘feel’ of the worksheet.
Go through the values sheet several times, narrowing down your values to your top 10. From there, try to get it down to your top 5-7, and then to your top 3. You get real clear on the core of who you are when you get them down to the top 3.
Knowing what you value creates clarity
It may be immediately obvious which areas are out of alignment with what you value. For example, if one of your top 3 values is health and you have been drinking a lot to cope with your emotions, it is immediately clear that this behavior is out of alignment with that. And once you have awareness, everything after that is choice.
Another example: Say one of my top values is trust (which it actually is) and I am so much in my head with worry and not heeding to my spiritual practices that keep me aligned with trust. I recognize this and evaluate the changes I need to make to honor that value.
So, you can see how by getting clear on our top values makes it very easy to evaluate and realign our behaviors with what matters most to us. This establishes a solid, values-based foundation to build from.
When we honor ourselves first, we trust ourselves. A most helpful thing when navigating transition is to feel that we can trust ourself. When everything around us is swirling like a tornado, we can still manage to be our own safe center – the eye of the storm is still.
Okay, now once you are clear on your values, use them to assess every area of your life and determine where in those areas your behaviors are aligned and where they are not. You do this by listing the main areas of your life (i.e. career, personal development, relationships, finances, environment, leisure, well-being, etc.) and assessing your behaviors in each of those areas in accordance with your top values.
So, if one of my categories is spirituality and trust is a top value, I am going to look at my current behaviors and patterns to notice if I am honoring that value in that area or not. If I am not meditating or praying at all, I recognize that I need to bring that in to my daily routine to create the balance I crave. Done. Remember, once you have awareness, everything after that is choice – and choice means empowerment.
Essentially, take into account each of your values in each of the main areas of your life and evaluate how your behaviors and environment are aligned with that value or not. Then determine what you want to do – that is in your control – to create that alignment.
Living in balance
Once you start living from this values-centered approach, you will find that despite changing circumstances and the ebbs and flows of your own emotions, you remain more calm and balanced in the core of yourSelf.
The more anchored you feel into your core values, the easier it becomes to keep a calm mind or at least to choose and change the thoughts you keep based on what you know and trust about yourSelf.
And when the inevitable discomforts arise – because they will arise – you are able to remain mostly unshaken, grounded in the foundation of who you are and what you trust.
I would love to hear from you! If you have questions about how I work with women just like you, you can reach out to me directly through my contact page or right here, firstname.lastname@example.org