Life is full of losses. From a very young age, saying goodbye is an integral part of daily living. We transition from primary to secondary school and then to college, university or work. Each transition brings about change and sometimes feelings of uncertainty: Will I make new friends? Will I be accepted? Will I be a success in my new job? Every change can bring about a mixture of emotions: sadness or relief, anxiety and excitement about the new experiences that await us. In fact, separation almost always brings about a combination of losses and opportunities.
So how can we cope with saying goodbye?
- Recognize that mixed feelings are normal: we can be thankful for the experience gained but reluctant to make the next step in our life journey. As the saying goes ‘better the devil you know’…we might be resistant to change because the present is certain but the future is not.
- Try and express your feelings with a trusted relative or friend. At times we just need someone to listen to what is troubling us to help us process what we are going through.
- Give yourself time to adjust to the new situation. Change is not usually easy and although we might feel that the decision to move on is the right one we still need time to adjust to all that is new.
Saying goodbye is part of everyday life. We can wallow in sadness and stay stuck in the past clinging to old memories or be thankful for friendship and experiences shared and move on the new and greener pastures.
Anna Catania is a counsellor with Willingness. She has had a special interest in working with clients facing intimacy and sexual difficulties and runs a service for families going through cancer and chronic illness. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org