Endings Are Also Beginnings

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Experiences that elicit grief are so difficult because of the finality, the stark realization that time has run out. Most of us are aware on a theoretical level that the only constant in life is change and that nothing can stay the same forever, but in practice it’s always shocking to find that the rules apply to us too and that we no longer have access to something we took as a given.

A helpful reframe for many is the idea that endings are also beginnings. As the band Semisonic reminded us way back in 1998, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” This chapter of your life has come to a close, but it followed a previous chapter, and there are many more unwritten chapters in your life story if you can stay open to new experiences, although things have changed in a significant and irrevocable way.

One of the reasons that this reframe is effective is that it implicity helps you admit that you really are at an ending, that something irrevocable has taken place. It’s hard to let go, hard to say goodbye, harder still to move on, and the more we care about what we have lost, the more difficult leaving it behind becomes. The solution that countless people take is to remain stuck in the past, afraid to move towards healing since healing recognizes that it really is over, that an ending has taken place. If you can view this ending as a new beginning too it’s a tiny bit easier to summon up the courage to seek closure so that you can begin to live in the present, accepting your new life conditions for what they are instead of what you wish they were, therefore opening yourself back up to the possibilities life offers.