‘Endings’ Questions…. how do I feel about endings? What do ‘good’ endings feel like? Can an initially scary or painful ending be transformed? Is there a recommended path in this?!
Ive had a number of endings this year and each one i’ve struggled with for different reasons. I want to be honest here about how i’ve felt about these.
When I think about endings I think about big shifts, big quick endings or losses which affect every aspect of my life. I’ve paid more attention to these endings than the smaller, less impactful endings. Initially each end has felt like a loss, and with loss comes a period of grief, so i’ve been sad quite a bit recently. I’m starting to see that like *’small wins’ add up to big positive changes* its important for me to recognise the little bits of endings and how I feel about them, in order to prepare myself for, and frame change.
End of a personal relationship
One small way I coped with a big personal ending this year was to write the numbers 1-30 in a notebook and track how I was feeling each day. This gave me tangible evidence of moving through the pain of the ending. At times this list felt like a lifeline.
End of a work relationship
My current job is ending soon and thats brought in lots of responses from others on how they feel about change as well as my own personal feelings. This work has never felt like ‘just a job’ to me. Its been integral to my adult development and has been a constant through various big life changes, its given me a huge amount of opportunity value and connection. So this work has been very important for me and this ending has been particularly tricky. I’ve had to accept that I can only really manage my own feelings about it. Practically I can do things to ease a period of transition but I cant make any promises beyond what I can do in the lead up to leaving the job, or guarantee the future. This week i’ve been consciously noticing and noting that with each meeting and task completed i’ve let go a little bit more.
This work ‘ending’ has brought up lots of feelings from the previous personal ending and things I thought id got through have re-emerged to be noticed again.
Through the personal development work i’ve been engaged in for the past years id got to a point where I realise happiness for me means progress and action, balanced with acceptance and allowing. This feels important to think about during endings and transitions too.
My go-to reaction to an ending is that it feels like a block, a stop on progress, a stop on a happiness that I’d experienced previously. That thought process is very focused on the progress part of the equation and unsurprising then that it feels sad and difficult. Ive not been thinking so much about the acceptance and allowing part as i’ve felt the need to manage the change and ending.
2 things spring to mind
- That lovely old phrase about new doors opening when one is closed
- Ownership of my part in the ending but acceptance that my part is only one part
Doors: Yes, this work ending has come because I’ve accepted a new job. The block on the happiness around this situation, partly has come from not allowing myself to feel excited yet about the newness and opportunity in my new work. The process of consciously letting go, with each meeting, allows a little bit of excitement to have some head space. Like the process of writing 1-30 to track my progress through the personal ending, this conscious, step by step letting go, allows me to open the new door a little crack more and feel some excitement bubbling up.
Ownership: Yes, I do want to be conscientious and empathetic that my leaving my current work, will impact on others and I commit to putting practical elements in place to ease that transition. However I don’t want to say sorry, to be apologetic or to take on the emotion or anxiety of others because of the decision i’ve made. Doing that I feel would be disrespectful to those people as it would imply that I don’t think they can handle change. It would also be disrespectful to myself as it would imply that I am willing to place less importance on a positive decision for myself and instead feel guilt for others. I also recognise that as this is such a big end for me, I can stray into thinking that everyone feels this way, whilst I value my work and contribution here I’m not going to allow my ego to presume that everyone else is feeling this as hard! Yes its brought up things for some people but that is their tricky brain mainly, rather than a direct reaction to me leaving the job.
Boundaries are massive here. Ive not been the best at boundaries, its an ongoing learning curve for me.
Replace ‘i’m sorry’ with ‘thank you’…
Ive been practicing communicating differently. Rather than ‘Im sorry I cant provide you with security in this transition’, i’m instead saying ‘Thank you for the value you add and I trust you to do what feels right for you in this transition’
So endings, here I am, recognising that you are hard and one ending can bring up lots about previous endings. For me, noticing the small steps in the ending and how I feel in each small step is useful, tracking how I feel over a set number of days or seeing each meeting as an opportunity to let go a little more. Its helpful to slow endings down or stretch endings a little so I don’t feel like they are that sudden massive overwhelming shift and instead a process of ending.
Its also key for me to stay in myself, be open when I can about how it feels for me and listen to how others feel, but also keep my own feelings clear in myself and let these guide my actions and interactions.
I have 8 days left of work in my current job, numbers 1-8 are written in my notebook. Ill let you know how I get on!
Id love to hear about how you feel about endings?