Endings are beginnings, and beginnings are ours to turn into something good.
Elizabeth Chandler (from Everlasting)
Endings are a perfect foundation on which to lay any beginnings you may have in mind, but the very word ‘Ending’ can actually conjure up rather negative connotations so I want to have a little look at how you deal with them.
A good starting point is to sit and consider the previous twelve months but this in itself can cause quite an emotional response within us – another year older, opportunities not taken, not as much progress as we would have liked, a difficult anniversary of one sort or another, and so on.
Time spent doing this should not be about looking for answers but more of a reflection and exploration of how you view, say, any setbacks or negative experiences. I know that there can be a strong inclination to look beyond twelve months but resist doing so. There could well be issues that go far back but put those aside until you have the time, resources and ability to deal with them – remember this is more about understanding how you currently deal with things and not how you should have.
I like to think of these ponderings as a time not only of reflection but of celebration as well – even if the only thing you currently have to celebrate is surviving another year – because that’s a good thing – right?
You may already have a veritable stable of reflections but if you are a little stuck as to where to begin, here are a few suggestions –
Some people dread each birthday that passes but I’m not one of those, although there are a couple of anniversaries that used to hang over me like a permanent black cloud – both bereavements, one in February and one in October. Every year I would find myself focusing on them – I would drag myself though February and then spend the next seven months getting ready to get through October. I hadn’t realised just how much they were affecting me until I had a think about how I felt about them. It made me understand it was the sense of overwhelming loss and how I actually deal with loss in general – anything from bereavement to loss of opportunities.
There may be a few or a lot but try and narrow it down to the most important one and ask yourself why you think it is so.
Any you need to get rid of? Would like to start?
Good ones or bad – Did you carry them through? What impact have they had on your life? How has that made you feel?
How do you think you coped with them?
List them – putting the greatest one at the top and the smallest one at the bottom. Have a think about why you have put them in that order.
Celebrate every one – no matter how small you believe them to be. Write a few lines about what each success means to you. But don’t forget, arriving at the end of something that has reached a successful conclusion can also give way to a feeling of emptiness – how are you dealing with that?
Do you believe that you are the same person you were twelve months ago? Has there been an event or something you have done that has changed you, even in the most subtle way?
We all have them and there is a quite understandable tendency for us to look upon them as the elephant in the room, the skeleton in the closet or the bad relative who turns up just when we least need them to. Stop treating them that way – write each one down and think about why you have classified them as such.
Endings can be a time of great emotion and tinged with negativity, but if you honour them and respect what you discover by examining what they mean to you, and how you deal with them, then it is absolutely possible to use them as a springboard to create new beginnings.