Transitional periods in time are about as much fun as a trip to the dentist. You don't always know exactly where you are going to wind up on the other side of the transition, you don't always know exactly how to make it to the other side, and just like the dentist there may be some slight discomfort. Learning how to manage the discomfort during these periods of transition can be quite helpful and the transition more smooth.
One way to deal with the discomforts or awkward periods of transitions is learning to sit with the emotions that you may feel during these times. Just as all transitional periods in life come to an eventual end, so do emotions. Knowing this simple fact can make sitting with less desirable emotions more endurable. Like strengthening a muscle though, being able to sit with these emotions takes time. At first you may only be able to sit with an emotion for thirty seconds before choosing your normal way of coping with the emotion. Focusing on gradually lengthening this time, you will eventually build this skill to the point where you will be able to sit with the emotion until its end.
While sitting with your emotion you may find it beneficial to introspect on how you are feeling during this time. Where in your body do you feel this emotion? How does this emotion physically feel? Recognizing things like this can help you manage the emotion from the immediate onset.
Following the decline of this emotion, I find it important to look back on the situations leading up to this feeling. What brought me to feel this way? By pinpointing specific patterns, I can prepare myself in similar situations to handle the emotions that may occur as a result. Having a plan in place can also help me reduce the intensity of these feelings making the discomfort more manageable.
A high school English teacher of mine once said that in life you must experience discomfort in order to grow and progress as a human being. Transition can be filled with discomfort, but knowing that it leads to something better can help you reframe the entire experience. Sitting with your emotions during this time, understanding your emotions and being prepared all can make this period of transition much smoother.
Katie is an undergraduate intern from DePaul University. She co-leads the Tuesday night Drop-In Support Group. Katie will also be leading the event "Breaking the Cycle of Silence" April 15th which will focus on the silence surrounding sexual assault and abuse in our society. For more information on the event she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org