Expect Internal Conflict During a Transition

Understanding Emotions

As I write this, we are shifting to a new phase in coping with the coronavirus pandemic. We are not in total shutdown. Businesses are opening up cautiously. People are interacting more, albeit six feet apart. Just as shutting down posed internal challenges, so will opening up.

Some people uncovered or rediscovered values during the enforced isolation. Did you have a newly special family meals and games? Or did you focus on self-care? Or undertake a long-postponed project?

Expect conflict over these values as you start to schedule your previous activities again. The shutdown created a little bubble in which you did not need to choose between the status quo and these values. But now you will.

This is your opportunity to redefine your values. The best thing you can do to help this transition is to make choices between the old and new consciously. Journal on a daily basis so that you notice conflicts and have a chance to think about them. Put in the effort now to make the best changes in your life permanent. My freebie Own Your Motivation offers additional practical advice about this.

On the other hand, if you have been miserable and want to gag the next person who says he has blossomed during the pandemic, you face a different challenge. You have been longing to return to your previous activities. Whether you like it or not, you will experience them differently when you get back to them. This is your opportunity to validate them.

You might take a page from my father, who smoked 2 packs of Camels a day for most of his life. Then in the 1990’s, smoking was banned on domestic flights. To visit his two children on the west coast, he took his first transcontinental flight without a cigarette.

When he landed, he was dying for a cigarette. But at that first puff, he thought, “that’s not as good as I remember.” He observed carefully as he smoked over the next few days. He didn’t enjoy the taste the way he had years before. He realized he was smoking out of habit. That was it. He quit cold turkey. He never smoked again.

It may be that some of the things you’ve been looking forward to are not as good in reality as they are in your imagination.

Transitions are conflict-prone, so expect conflict in this transition, too.

You do something every hour of the day. At any given moment, your motivational system is designed to motivate your usual activities. So, any time you add something new, or make a change, you will feel some conflict.

What will get your time and attention and what won’t? That is the question to ask yourself. That is the opportunity for bettering your life, at every transition.

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