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How Challenging Times Can Help Us Connect With the Core of Who We Are

Sharing Our Story Is Healing

Sharing our transition, transformation and the obstacles we were able to overcome is a crucial step that heals.

A study in 1986 that persuaded people to write about their traumatic experiences revealed that many started crying during the writing process, but it worked like a catharsis, and led to their understanding themselves better and eventually getting healed.

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How Challenging Times Can Help Us Connect With the Core of Who We Are

How Challenging Times Can Help Us Connect With the Core of Who We Are

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/arianna-huffington-bruce-feiler-transitions-challenges-renewal-strength-connection/

thriveglobal.com

6

Key Ideas

Bruce Feiler

Bruce Feiler

“Perhaps the most important thing I learned in more than a thousand hours of interviews is that a life transition is a meaning-making exercise.”

Lifequakes

They are the transitions and moments of disruption that offer unique opportunities for insight and wisdom.

The constant handling of big and small obstacles and setbacks, ironically, is what provides meaning to our lives. It is almost as if a Gateway or threshold has to be crossed, signifying the commitment of the journey from the ‘Hero’ who is able to successfully complete the ‘test of life’.

Autobiographical Occasions

Life transitions are the interesting chapters of our internal autobiographies, that provide us with the opportunity, tools and the reason to transform ourselves for the better.

We need to take small steps, or ‘microsteps’ to accept these transition moments, visualize and plan out the change, shed our old ways, unveil our transformation and the resulting new self, and to storify the entire transition.

Sharing Our Story Is Healing

Sharing our transition, transformation and the obstacles we were able to overcome is a crucial step that heals.

A study in 1986 that persuaded people to write about their traumatic experiences revealed that many started crying during the writing process, but it worked like a catharsis, and led to their understanding themselves better and eventually getting healed.

Gratitude And Rituals

  • A feeling of profound gratitude towards whatever good one’s life has to offer, however small, contributes towards people finding meaning in their transition.
  • Rituals provide the space and the ‘container’ by which a demarcation is created, and the outside world is not hindering, creating a safe zone to get healed.

Happiness Is Fleeting

  • Happiness is not something permanent or even graspable. It is a temporary, fleeting phenomenon, focused on the present.
  • Finding meaning is like stitching together the past, present and future and knitting a coherent narrative, a story that makes the journey of life a worthwhile endeavour.
  • The true meaning of life is when it gets uprooted in the pursuit of something sacred and transcendental or some higher calling.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Not in his goals but in his transitions man is great."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Transition is difficult

Transition, even the completely voluntary, can be a source of intense suffering because it involves adapting to new situations and changing your self-conception.

If we understand transitions, we can control our tendency to fight against them. We can turn major life changes into a source of meaning and transcendence.

Transition, as an in-between state

Transition is also called liminality by psychologists - a state where you are neither in the state you left nor entirely in your new state. This in-between state creates an identity crisis, even in good transitions.

But they are really a predictable and integral part of life and happen regularly. Author Bruce Feiler interviewed hundreds of people and found that a major life change happens, on average, every 12 to 18 months. Even huge collective transitions such as the pandemic occur with regularity.

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The Three Phases Of Life Transitions
The Three Phases Of Life Transitions

In the face of a crisis, we feel chaotic and out of control. The transition comes in three phases:

  1. The Long Goodbye, in which we see our old self go.
Identifying Emotions During Life Transitions
  • Be aware of your emotions such as fear, sadness and shame.
  • Writing down your feelings or doing certain rituals or activities to cope up with the loss is a great way to transition your life.
  • A ritualistic gesture becomes a statement and a metaphor for your emotions to take a physical form.
The Process Of Letting Go

Shedding of something we have long clung to, like a certain mindset, delusion, habit or dream, is part of the messy middle.

It clears the unwanted parts of your life, creating space for something new to blossom.

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The blue mind

A "blue mind" is a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment, that's triggered when w...

Water gives our brains a rest
  • The sound around us, from an auditory perspective, is simplified. It's not quiet, but the sound of water is far more simple than the sound of voices or the sound of music or the sound of a city.
  • The visual input is simplified. When you stand at the edge of the water and look out on the horizon, it's visually simplified relative to a city you're walking through, where you're taking in millions of pieces of information every second.
A meditative state

The water could be inducing a mildly meditative state of calm focus and gentle awareness.

When we're by the water, our brains are held in a state of mild attentiveness. In this state, the brain is interested and engaged in the water, taking in sensory input but not distracted by an overload of it.

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3 kinds of happy lives
  • The pleasant life: you fill your life with as many pleasures as you can. This has hardly any contribution to lasting fulfilment.
  • The life of engagement, where y...
Habits Of Supremely Happy People
  • They surround themselves with other happy people.
  • They cultivate resilience.
  • They appreciate simple pleasures.
  • They devote some of their time to giving.
  • They get immersed in activities that bring joy.
  • They nix the small talk for deeper conversations. 
  • They make a point to listen. 
  • They look on the bright side.
  • They make exercise a priority.
  • They listen to good music.
  • They spend time in nature.
  • They laugh a lot.
Dealing with difficult times

We may wonder if it is even possible to thrive during difficult patches in our lives. 

The word difficult could mean something different for every person, but the constant is our commitm...

Keep the big picture in mind

What you're going through is just a chapter of your life. The rest of the story is still unwritten. Once you emerge from a difficult period, a blank page will await you to change the record.

At the moment, everything feels confusing, but hindsight will be 20/20 vision. 

Define your success

Define your success. It is critical in order to know yourself. Success could be your health, career, friendships, being a good spouse or parent.

Difficult times in life require us to redefine our objective, to modify them to fit our new situations. What does betterment look like to you? Is it better health, better grades, healthy relationships? Write down your priorities and work towards them daily.

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The protagonist in your life

One very good reason to mix the personal with the professional is that if you are intentionally living a life of authenticity, then they already are linked. 

Learn from tho...

The personal and the professional

People don’t trust faceless corporations. They trust people. And intersecting your personal and business brands gives an invaluable human touch.

  • Through a platform like LinkedIn, you are shown as a part of your organization (or industry) but your personal profile still stands distinct and is recognizable as your own personal brand.
  • Twitter is another network where the personal and professional mix. 
Understanding Stress
  • Dealing with Stress is imperative as it is unavoidable in modern life.
  • Our work, family and our finances create daily stress and other external factors (like politics and terrorism) co...
Your Perception About Stress

With stress, the mind and the body are intrinsically linked. You can view stress as something that is wreaking havoc on your body (and it can) or as something that is giving you the strength and energy to overcome adversity.

Exposure to Stress

Regular exposure to stress in small quantities can prepare us to handle a big stressful event in our lives. Prepare yourself for stress by self-education about the stressful event, by doing some physically stressful activities like completing a marathon, or something you dread, like giving a speech.

Repeated exposure to mildly stressful conditions can alter your body’s biological response to stress, making you manage stress in a better way.

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The beautiful mess effect
The beautiful mess effect

We don't expect other people to be perfect but appreciate when people show their vulnerabilities and admit errors. Yet, we're afraid to expose our own shortcomings.

Don't waste your experiences

Things fall apart for everyone. If you're wise, you can be resourceful and use the scraps, patch yourself up, and keep going.

Professor Brené Brown states that "vulnerability is courage in you and inadequacy in me." Brown sees the imperfections in people as gifts to be worked with, not embarrassments to be hidden.

The ordinary in extraordinary

The physical evidence of a life well-lived can be a source of pride rather than shame. We don't have to hide the white hair, lined skin, scars, or extra pounds. They can be seen as signs that you persist.

When we expect perfection from everyone, including ourselves, we not only discount much of what is beautiful but create an unrealistic, restrictive, and cruel world where people's flaws are highlighted. Instead, we should highlight the beauty of what we do have, flaws and all, rather than always grasping for more.

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Redefine success

There’s no prize for working the most hours per week or making the most money.

The question is how much joy you’ve brought into people’s lives and how much have you made the world a be...

Avoid burnout

Burnout, stress and depression are worldwide problems.

Working harder doesn’t necessarily mean better results — in fact, it can have the exact opposite effect.

Nurture your well-being

Make time to take care of yourself in terms of exercise, meditation, music, art and family life — this isn’t selfishness, it’s good sense. 

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