Endings can offer hope and a time for reflection.
In both my therapeutic and coaching practice, I find endings to be a critical area to explore with my clients. As endings have different meanings for many, for some it marks an opportunity to make a change and start on a new venture, while for others it can be seen as destabilising and uncertain.
It’s understandable that the end of something can seem scary, especially if we feel we have no control over the perceived outcome or if we are not prepared for what comes next.
As a result, I want to explore ways of managing endings in the context of the year's end and setting clear routes to move forward with a sense of agency and control about what comes next for the new year.
A good place to start is understanding your relationship is with endings.
The Clean slate approach:
Do you dash and run, make excuses, and don’t look back? If you opt for this approach to endings, you are most likely to be the kind of person who prefers to have a clean slate for what comes next. Why dwell on the past I hear you ask?
I guess this is a fair statement, this approach enables the individual to relinquish all responsibility of the past and a sense of what I like to call ‘blind optimism’.
However, from working with clients with this outlook and approach they often find themselves stuck and lost halfway through the next venture. I often hear statements such as, I don’t know how I got here, and I don’t know what I want.
The other approach I have come across is the less optimistic and over-critical enders.
The all is bad approach:
Do you fixate on all that is bad in your life, all that went wrong and how you didn’t get to change anything? Quite possibly you may even blame yourself or maybe it was someone else that caused the ending.
The challenge for many here is identifying what they can learn from the breakdown or failures. The fixation on what went wrong stops us from developing self-reflection or identifying how we can change what comes next.
So is there a middle ground? Why yes…
This requires us to accept and take responsibility, while at the same time using this experience to move forward. This approach offers a more proactive and reflective approach, acknowledging our successes and areas we can learn from.
The reflective approach:
This is not as easy as it sounds, I know, but it is an essential skill, taking time to reflect on an ending, to consider what came before that ending and what led us to where we find ourselves. No one enjoys the dull pain of failure or mistakes and so it is easier to move on to avoid added pain or regret.
But I would argue the short-term discomfort of learning from our past failures and difficulties can ultimately aid our future decisions, in relationships, jobs or other life choices. So, this is clearly a better approach for personal growth and a sense of control.
Endings are difficult and uncomfortable and it can be painful to review the past, especially if it is to do with loss, failure, or a missed opportunity. However, as my 12-year-old daughter beautifully reflected once, ‘with every ending, there is a beginning’ but I would also add ‘with every beginning there is the added advantage of hindsight to help us manage the next ending’.
'With every ending, there is a beginning and with every beginning, there is the added advantage of hindsight to help us manage the next ending’.
So, as we all come towards another shared ending, I encourage you to take 5-10 minutes to reflect on what you learnt about yourself this year and what you want to build on or stop going into the new beginning ahead of you.
Accept and learn from this ending and take control of your next beginning.
If you are looking for help with coaching or counselling support on endings or beginnings contact Kemi at Kemi@wellnesslink.co.uk.
Kemi Fadero is a Wellbeing Consultant, Counsellor and Coach based in Cambridge, UK. Kemi works with individuals and organisations offering, virtual and in-person coaching and counselling services, helping individuals seeking to overcome emotional distress and effectively tackle life challenges.
She also provides wellbeing consultation and
coaching for organisations and implements