Choice, transitions and relationships

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you” – Edith Edgar, The Choice

Life is made up of one transition after another. So I am beginning to learn.

Leaving high school is a transition

Starting university is a transition

Finishing university and getting a job is a transition

Losing a job is a transition

Having a boyfriend – or a girlfriend – is a transition

Getting married is a transition

Living with a partner is a transition

Having a baby is a transition

… I could go on…

I guess you don’t begin to see the impact these transitions can have on yourself until one of life’s transitions leaves a nasty imprint on your soul. Then you realise that life is not just full of transitions, but choices as well.

The counsellor I saw regularly over the course of my marriage breakdown, the death of my baby and then out the other side, talked a lot with me about life’s transitions. How unavoidable they are to us all. How we best handle these transitions will depend on how well we know and are able to articulate; ourselves, our limits, our beliefs, our values, our boundaries, our emotions and our feelings.

Maybe I didn’t know myself well enough to be able to handle the baby addition transition, to handle the baby loss transition, to handle being in a long term relationship transition. Maybe, instead of seeing the choices available, I saw the brick walls. Maybe, instead of focusing on the internal chaos within myself, I was only able to see the external frustrations.

She mentioned that even though we’ve made a choice to end our marriage, there are still going to be transitions that are going to appear that I will need to deal with within myself. I’m going to need to work through realities such as; my ex husband being with someone new, my daughter having another Mother role model… the list is long, so I wont continue.

Transitions have absolutely nothing to do with how academically smart you are.

I was speaking with a sibling of mine today. We come from a strong academic family which probably didn’t speak too much about life’s natural events/transitions and the emotional intelligence involved in these transitions, that has become equally or more important in the 21st century, than academic intelligence.

Why do we put pressure on our kid’s external abilities such as learning ABCs and 123s, than on internal abilities such as communicating their thoughts and feelings effectively to promote a greater sense of personal health and well being. Just because you can’t measure your feelings as easily as you can the times tables, doesn’t mean they’re not critical learning intentions. Can we cognitively function better if our internal self is working at it’s highest level?

Within each of life’s natural transitions, we have choices. So I am beginning to learn. These choices can seem cloudy under the umbrella of an intimate relationship, but they’re still there. Out of the power of choice, comes change and I guess if you are in a relationship, you will either change together, or you’ll change separately.

Transitions are unavoidable and through hindsight, i’ve learned that choice and change are both attainable within the umbrella of a relationship, if you make sure you involve emotional intelligence to help guide you both.

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