Transitions and Unexpected Baggage

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

One of the best and worst parts of moving is rediscovering things you had forgotten you owned. You find things you thought you had lost, things you thought you’d never see again. Maybe you’re glad to see these lost items, and maybe you wish they had stayed buried.

Going through times of transition in our lives is a lot like moving in this way. When something major changes – for better or worse, whether sought for or unexpected – old stuff gets unearthed.

Insecurities we thought we had put to bed resurface. Bad habits we previously kicked rear their heads again. It’s easy to feel like we’ve gone backward in these moments. When old baggage arises, however, it offers us the opportunity to move forward in these areas in ways we couldn’t previously manage.

Our psyches are not neat little piles of boxes full of clearly-labeled files. Issues don’t just get dealt with cleanly and all at once. A single matter – like the fear of public speaking, or lashing out when threatened – may have many layers to it.

In the stress of transition, new layers of issues are often unearthed that we had not previously been aware of. Now we have a chance to dig deeper into the underlying causes.

You haven’t lost your previous progress, however much it feels like it; in fact, everything you’ve done up until this point enabled this deeper layer to emerge so you could address it. 

Don’t be discouraged when you encounter struggles that you thought you had overcome. It’s not a setback; it’s a stepping stone along your path. 

One of the reasons I’ve called my process The Purple Spiral is because progress is not linear. It moves in a spiraling fashion, going over the same ground over and over again at deeper and higher levels. You’re doing great. Keep going!

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