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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New Beginnings

September: A Time for New Beginnings
According to the calendar, the summer season is not over for another two weeks. And yet, it's not unusual for many people to think of the time just after Labor Day as the end of summer, the beginning of fall and a time for new beginnings. Even though January 1st is the official date of the New Year, many people feel that their New Year begins after Labor Day. Maybe it's because we grew up experiencing this time as the start of the new school year. Perhaps it's because we're feeling a touch of fall in the evenings. Whatever the reason, there's a feeling in the air: "Summer is over. It's time to start again." Maybe that means starting a new project or looking for a new job. Possibly, it means working on a personal issue that was put on the back burner during the relaxing days of summer.

When we think of new beginnings, whether it's a new beginning in our personal lives or our careers, we're reminded that everything changes and most things have a cycle with a beginning, middle and an end. We see this most distinctly with the seasons as summer rolls into fall and fall turns into winter and winter turns to spring. We see it in the phases of the moon: new moon, waxing moon, and waning moon. We see it in the different phases of our lives from childhood to old age. It's evident in our relationships as they develop and grow or change and end. And we see it in our children's lives as they grow from dependent children into mature adults.

A new beginning can be a time that we look forward to--starting a new relationship, getting married, buying a new home, starting a great new job, or moving to an exciting new location. It can also be a challenging time if we're struggling with a change that we didn't want--the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, a relocation that we would prefer not to make, or letting go of someone or something that has been precious to us.

A new beginning implies the end of something else. Even when the new beginning is something that we want, letting go of what's familiar can be hard. So, for instance, if you've started a new and wonderful relationship, overall, you might be very happy. But there might be times when you miss being single or miss spending more time with friends.

One of the most challenging aspects of considering a change is when we're standing on the edge, looking back at what might be our current, stagnant situation and then looking forward and considering a potential new situation. Making the leap to the other side can be frightening. Even if we're reasonably certain that the new situation would be better for us, there's a degree of risk in making the change. We can be plagued with doubts: What if the new job turns out to be less secure than the current job? What if this new wonderful person hurts and betrays us? What if we end up hating the new city? What if...? We can get so bogged down with doubts and insecurities that we remain "stuck" in a stagnant situation because we don't want to take the risk of making a change.

How We Respond to Endings and New Beginnings:
How we respond to endings and new beginnings can make a big difference in our lives. Do we grasp tightly to what we have now, holding on even when it's clear that it's time to let go? Or, do we accept that, ultimately, all things change, and allow ourselves to let go to make room for someone or something new to come into our lives? This is often easier said than done, especially if we've had many disappointments in our lives. Ultimately, being able to let go of what's familiar takes a certain amount of courage and faith that there can be a new beginning that is better than what we're experiencing right now and that we deserve this new beginning.

Are You Considering Making Changes in Your Life?
Perhaps you feel that you need to make changes in your life, but you feel "stuck" or you're not sure where to start. Maybe the thought of a making a change feels too overwhelming. Perhaps you lack the inner confidence to trust your own judgement.

The Strengths Perspective in Psychotherapy:
If you've been thinking about making changes in your life, you could benefit from psychotherapy. When I work with clients who want to make changes, but who are too afraid, I often start by helping them to discover their strengths because when we're scared and emotionally paralyzed, it's so easy to focus on what we perceive to be our weaknesses rather than focusing on our strengths.

When we focus on our strengths, we develop increased self confidence. And when we develop increased self confidence, we're more likely to make positive changes in our lives. And as we make positive changes, we feel even more confident in ourselves and this often leads to an upward spiral in our lives.

I'm a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in New York City. I have helped many clients to make positive changes in their lives.

To find out more about me, visit my website: http://www.josephine-ferraro.com.

To make an appointment, feel free to call me at (212) 726-1006.