How to Make the Hardest Times in Your Life the Most Valuable Times…
…From Transition to Transformation
By Stacey Rose, LCSW, PhD
Transitions are the hardest times in peoples’ lives. When we go from what we were familiar with to what we don’t know, we understandably get scared and stressed. But how can you take life-changing experiences and make them into life learning experiences? Read on…
Think about an event that occurred in your life that you would say had a lasting effect on you; such as a move, a death, a divorce, birth of a child, a job change, and/or a significant change in your health. Initially, I imagine you might have been stressed by any of these circumstances but in looking back now, can you say you are stronger, wiser, or even a better person for having gone through that experience? Depending on your personality and the specific event, you may or may not feel this way…but I encourage you to open your mind to the fact that with all pain comes a gift.
Just like the caterpillar that transforms into a butterfly, so too can we transform ourselves, and our lives. Follow these 5 steps to make your own transformation starting today:
1. What did you learn from this experience? (Even with the most tragic of events, we can learn and grow. Think about how our country came together after 9/11. We were reminded of the importance of community and patriotism; valuable lessons.) Write down what you learned from this hard time and look at it every day.
2. If you are of the belief that all things happen for reasons, what was the reason for this event in your life? Even though we don’t always know the reason, try to focus on how you grew as a person for having gone through this experience.
3. Without hard times, we don’t appreciate the easy times. So, appreciate the easy days. Be in the moment and enjoy the present.
4. Find the value. Did family and friends support you during this difficult time in your life? Did your faith get stronger? Focus on what was valuable during that life change.
5. How are you different today? Have you been able to help someone else in a similar situation as a result of your hard times? If so, this is a gift that you are now able to give to others. Sometimes when we go through a major loss or trauma, the only people we want to talk to are those who went through something similar…they ‘get it’.
Regardless of what your hard times have been, know that you are not alone. Loss, pain, and even traumas are a part of the human experience. Also know that there is help. Read below for two options if you are seeking support and remind yourself that every life experience has lessons waiting for us to learn. EMDR is a specific type of therapy (typically faster than talk therapy) that helps people move past their traumatic experiences. I am trained in this and have found it to help many people.