New beginnings. Are they a good thing or a bad thing?
We often talk of ‘new beginnings’ at happy times, such as weddings, or the birth of a new child, maybe the start of a new job or moving into a new house. We’re often excited when these things happen. We look forward to the future with optimism, positivity, hope and excitement. However, quite frequently, we might find ourselves having to start again. And whilst that’s also a ‘new beginning’, we often don’t experience it in the same way at all.
Instead, we talk about ‘having to start again’, maybe even saying we have to ‘start again from scratch’; we experience this negatively, feeling like it is being done to us and we’re out of control in the situation. Perhaps like a redundancy or a break-up.
While I have experienced some wonderful new beginnings, such as a new job, a new business (that was a bit of a rollercoaster though!), a marriage and a wonderful new house. I also have plenty of experience at having to start again… After a relationship ended, after a pandemic ended my travelling lifestyle, moving to a new country.
The list goes on!
It’s a matter of perspective
Not coincidentally, the events that made me feel like I had to ‘start again’ were often the events that preceded my happy ‘new beginnings’! That is the good news! Good times come after challenging times. It’s the same situation viewed from a different perspective.
The phase where I considered ‘having to start again’ usually felt difficult and uncomfortable; filled with sadness, uncertainty, worry and stress.
It can be incredibly overwhelming; having to deal with losing something in your life, something that was important to you. Perhaps something that you’ve linked parts of your identity and personality to. It can make you start to question yourself, rock your confidence
During this time, your focus is on what you’ve lost; something that was comfortable, something or someone you knew well, cared about. Whatever it was, it gave you a sense of security, perhaps it kept you anchored or grounded. And now that it is lost, you feel a little lost. Maybe you feel out of control of the situation. What’s more, the future suddenly seems full of uncertainty! What on earth are you going to do next? It feels impossible to think about.
What would you say to someone else?
At this time, it is important to try to be kind to yourself. Emotions can feel painful and uncomfortable, but emotions are not facts. That is an important thing to remember when you’re in the midst of an emotional storm! It can be helpful to consider what you would say to someone you love if they found themselves in your position. It’s more than likely that you would be much kinder in your words, opinions and judgements than you are to yourself. Giving yourself some time to feel your emotions, to observe them and to let them go will help you process the loss of the situation and give you a good foundation to start tackling the next step.
Because the next step can be incredibly overwhelming! How on earth do you start again? You’re still feeling lost, your confidence is shaky and the future is full of uncertainty. Where do you start? What do you do? It feels incredibly overwhelming and it can feel a lot easier to simply do nothing. To let events run its course and see where you end up. To simply let life happen to you as if you were nothing but a bystander.
Are you in charge of you?
To me, that feels incredibly disempowering. However, I know it can feel like the only thing available to you. It is so incredibly overwhelming because the questions, the problems, are so very big. In your mind, you’re trying to solve them all at once. That’s like trying to eat the elephant in one bite or climbing the mountain in one single step. It can’t be done. You need to break down the problem into smaller chunks. The difficulty remains; ‘where to start?’
Pieces of the puzzle
One strategy I like to use is to try to identify all the different areas where I need more information. Maybe there are things you could find out from an expert, like an estate agent if property is involved, or a recruiter if it is about a job, or a solicitor in the case of divorce, a financial advisor… the list goes on, you get the idea.
Maybe you need to figure out what your priorities are. This can be more difficult. You can reflect on what is important to you, what brings you joy and what makes you feel angry or frustrated.
Either way, identifying what information you are missing will help you identify the questions you need to answer. Then you can start answering these one by one. And as you gain the information, the pieces of the puzzle will start to slowly fall into place.
Change your perspective to start again
When you have to start again, all you really need to do is one small thing you can do with what you’ve got.
Much like you would with a happy new beginning. You don’t wonder what all the things are you have to do to make a big success; a happy marriage, a healthy, well-adjusted child etc. Instead, you look to the future with hope and optimism and you do the one small thing you can do today without thinking about it too much.
The difference between the two is a sense of loss. This means there is a grieving process to work through. And while I can’t make the pain go away, I can help you navigate it with a little bit more ease by sharing some of these strategies.
‘Having to start again’ is merely the prelude to the happy ‘New Beginning’ and you have more power to influence the journey between the two than perhaps you realise. When you empower yourself, you will soon see that you have an exciting blank page to start writing your new chapter!