Insights: Beginnings and Endings

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It’s a word we all have thoughts about. Even when change is positive it can still be difficult. Life is full of beginnings and endings. In fact, everything has a beginning and an end.

Some events, situations and people are in our life for a short time, while other events, situations and people are here for a lifetime, or close to it.

Even when it is a lifetime, there is still an end. Change is going to happen no matter what.

Often we celebrate, or have rituals, around events such as weddings, graduations and funerals. As human beings, beginnings and endings are an extremely important part of our life. It is a time of change.

How we manage these beginnings and endings determines how satisfying our life is.  Once we can accept that everything has a beginning and an end, and that change is part of life, there is a flow to our world that feels peaceful even when there is change.

Yet our brain makes acceptance difficult, as it does not like change. It likes things to stay the same. Change means the brain has to work harder, but the brain is a little lazy and wants to make life simple and use as few brain cells as possible.

When our brain resists the acceptance of change, it makes life more painful. Resisting change is like driving with your foot on the accelerator and the brake at the same time.  This resistance creates more pain. Yes, pain is part of life; however, when we resist “what is,” we are adding interest to that pain and creating suffering on top of the pain.

There is a saying that pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist Victor Frankl nicely describes that: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Very powerful quote. We do not get to decide the pain we experience, but we do get to decide how much we want to suffer.

Psychologically we give meaning to change that is either negative or positive, there is no neutral. Change, and with pain, we get to choose what meaning we want to give it.

That does not mean we do not feel pain. In fact the more we allow ourselves to feel pain, the beginnings and endings, the less we will suffer. Embracing pain gives it less power.

I had surgery several years ago and was having a tough time about five days into recovery. I was fatigued, feeling sorry for myself, and focused on resisting my pain. By doing this it made the pain feel more intense. This is also true for psychological pain and change. The more we resist it, the more difficult it becomes.

I believe one of the most effective changes I have made in my life was when I was able to embrace all change, all beginnings and all ends in my life. I felt a lot more peaceful in my life, and in turn I believe I was able to feel more joy. It does not mean I do not feel pain, but it passes and allows me to learn and grow from these beginnings and endings.

Denis Waitley, a motivational speaker, clearly states how to manage change.

“Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.”

Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at or [email protected].

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