Give Yourself Time
I apologize for not posting for quite a while…I was giving myself time as I’ve been going through a lot of transitions lately.
A few weeks ago I was speaking at my Retirement Party put on by Western Seminary, Sacramento. They hosted this lovely party for area therapists and my past students. I had the privilege to teach Masters level students at Western Seminary, Sacramento for 15 years. Besides this wonderful celebration, it gave me a venue to sell 30 years worth of counseling materials (books, art therapy, play therapy, office decor, past workshops, and a lot more)! It was a wonderful day. I felt loved, honored and celebrated by over fifty therapists and prior students.
I also provided one unit of continuing education for therapists and shared about some things I’d learned over my career. Toward the end of my talk I talked about “Finishing Well” well as a therapist and the process I went through of closing my 30-year practice due to health reasons.
Allow Yourself the Time You Need
One of the things I mentioned was that I allowed myself to take the time I needed to give up my office completely. I had been subletting it for quite some time before I felt emotionally ready to say goodbye to my lovely office, put my furniture in storage, and end my career with my wonderfully supportive group – Valley Psychological Center. I hired movers to pack up my office over a month ago. It was hard to do, but made easier because I gave myself the time I needed.
I also gave myself over a year before I decided I was ready to sell and /or give away the books, DVD’s, therapy tools, and training materials I had amassed over 30 years. I couldn’t believe there was so much stuff! It was therapeutic for me to go over each item and remember how each one helped me to help others. It was important to me to know that these items were going to be used by other therapists in the future to bring hope and healing in the lives of others.
It also gave me a way to raise some money for a new bigger oxygen machine I needed. It felt good to take care of myself by selling a lot of items to buy that machine, offer a good deal to a lot of therapists and “poor” students, and know that these items would continue to be used for healing. I’m happy to tell you I raise enough for the machine plus some, and I am breathing easier because of it!
Many therapists commented to me afterwards what an impact it made on them that I gave myself so much time. They commented that in our culture it’s modeled to “do quick endings, your feelings shouldn’t bother you, and you should get over any grief you feel right away, and move onto the next thing”. I do believe those are the messages we receive in our society. Most people do not understand the importance of grief and how to process these deep and complicated feelings. Grief is the gift God has given us to say goodbye to someone or something precious to us. We can’t move onto what God has for us without processing grief in healthy ways.
Don’t Rush Closure if You Can Help It
For me, if any of these closure events had occurred sooner, I would have been overwhelmed by sorrow, and not able to enjoy all the wonderful friends who were there and enjoy the day.
Being able to have a celebration turned out to be so important for me because my “retirement” was not wanted and was necessitated by my failing health. To have a party and have both the grief and the positives present at the same time was a gift I will always remember. It is helping me come to a healthy place of closure. There were a lot of tears that day by a lot of folks, but they were good tears…of reality, grace, and letting go.
A week and a half ago I spent a wonderful and very meaningful weekend with the members of my group, and had another time of closure. I learned a lot and was blessed by that experience…and will give myself the time I need to process it.
I gave myself a few weeks to write about these experiences, and wanted to share them with you in hopes they might help you with whatever transitions you are going through.
What Transitions Are You Going Through?
For you it might be a health issue of yourself or a loved one, a career change, a child going to school or graduating, the death or end of a relationship with a loved one, a financial crisis, or a loss of your home. This list is too short to encompass all the types of transitions we go through on this earth. Please think about what you are going through as you continue to read.
Here Are a Few Thoughts to Consider:
1. Transitions take time…they are supposed to. This includes physical, emotional, spiritual and relational adjustments.
2. Transitions involve lots of very different emotions…they are supposed to.
3. You may not be comfortable with the above truths. That’s ok, they are still true, and you can learn to give yourself time for whatever transition you are experiencing.
4. Some people in your life may not be comfortable with the above truths. Don’t try to make them understand. Find others who have gone through what you are going through to support you, give you empathy, and when you are ready…help for the future. Other types of support can come through counseling and support groups in your area (led by a trained leader).
5. God is an expert at grief and transitions, and He completely understands. He doesn’t have you on a timeline. He wants to be one of your support team. He’s the head of my support team. He is faithful to love you through this time.
6. Transitions involve grief…you won’t get through them in a healthy way unless you learn to grieve well. See the blog posts noted below for more info on this process*.
7. If circumstances force you to go through a transition quickly, you can go back at your own pace and process through it all later. Sometimes life events require making sudden decisions in a crisis. If this happens, you can still give yourself the time and space you need to process the emotions, and do the things you wish you could have done at the time…even if it is a different way.
8. With time, healthy processing of grief and support, you can get to a new and better place. Even if you can’t imagine it now, even if it seems impossible…it is possible. Don’t give up.
I would love to get your input.
What stood out to you? Do you need to give yourself time to grieve or adjust to a new transition? What is one small way you have been kind to yourself and given yourself time? What situations do you need permission to give yourself the time you need?
Please leave your comments below and share on social media or via e-mail with others who might benefit!
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