“What about letting gray hair grow is courageous, exactly?”

That was what actress Sarah Jessica Parker said when being called “brave” for aging naturally and letting her gray hair shine.

I’m gonna disagree with the fabulous SJP and say it IS brave because she is embracing a transition rather than hiding from it.

Whether it’s aging or location or a job or a relationship, we tend to shy away from dealing with change.

But why are transitions so scary?

It’s part of our human psychology. We tend to perceive more emotional pain from loss than we anticipate joy from gains. So we naturally contract inward to prevent loss, rather than reaching out for something better.


Image titled Why Transitions Suck: Perception. Showing of a set of scales weighted down on the left side. The heavy side is full of gold and jewels and labeled "What I'll lose: everything familiar, including things I value." The lighter side has only question marks and is labeled "What I'll gain: unknown stuff in the future."




Image titled Why Transitions Suck: Reality. Showing scales weighted down on the left side. The heavy side has gold coins flowing onto it with stars and sparkles and is labeled "What I'll actually gain: freedom, wisdom, new possibilities." The lighter side has some coins and a smiley poo on it and is labeled "What I'll actually lose: a mix of stuff, some good, some bad."


We know for certain that we currently have things to lose, yet have no idea what exactly we will gain.

The trouble is that change is a consistent experience of life. We will eventually lose, well, everything. That feels terrifying, so rather than grapple with the difficult emotions that loss brings up, we would rather pretend it’s not happening.

As long as you’re hiding from the feelings that loss brings up, you will not be able to create a strong or graceful transition.


I don’t know about you, but moving through changes with grace inspires me. If an obstacle is coming, I want to see it ahead of time, make a plan, and hurdle it as smoothly as possible.

That’s how I’m taking care of my future self, rather than leaving her to grapple with something huge at the last minute.


Image of three things as written in the email text


Here’s three things you can do to overcome the fear of transitions.


  1. Spend some time allowing your feelings of sadness and fear.
Change brings up the feels. Avoiding them only makes it worse, so create some space to actually feel them. Talk with a trusted friend or therapist. Journal about them. Allow them some compassion and they will not be quite as intense.


  1. Figure out what losses you can cope with and make a plan for them.
Write out what you think you’ll lose with this transition, realistically. Then write out how you can cope with each of those. For example, “When I move, I’ll lose my ability to go to coffee with my friends. So once I’m unpacked, I will join a few Meetup groups and start looking for new local friends.”


  1. Focus on the possibilities.
If you’re facing a transition that you’re choosing, visualize and focus on what you plan to gain. If it’s a transition that isn’t your choice, focus on knowing that eventually you’ll find new stability and probably some unexpected gifts.



You can do hard things. And they are so often worth it.



Want to get these articles in your inbox? Subscribe to my email list here.

No products in the cart.