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At The End Of The Tunnel
Creative Commons License photo credit: stage88

“In my end is my beginning.” – T.S. Eliot

We often get stuck on the idea that an “ending” means we’ve lost something.  We see endings as what we will no longer have, and not what we will gain from the “beginning” that takes its place.

At work, I have been part of a group for the last two years.  We work in all different areas of my organization, but we also have been working on projects together and we get to share other experiences too.  This ended a couple weeks ago, and while this means that our partnership is over, it also means that we are all able to go on to other experiences.

Endings really don’t mean loss. An ending means growth.  But if we are too focused on what we are leaving behind, it’s easy to miss what possibilities there are in the future.

We are often upset at the endings in our lives, but just think about what your life would be like if nothing had ever ended.  You would still functionally be a child!

Circumstances in your life had to end – you graduated from high school, you grew away from your childhood best friend, you left your parent’s home – for you to be where you are now.

So now, when a relationship ends, or you leave a job, or you move to a different city, don’t focus on what you are leaving behind.  Focus on what you are moving towards.

When a relationship ends there is now room for a new one, one in which you can apply what you learned in the last one.  When you leave a job, there is room for new skills, new projects and new colleagues.

Be careful about avoiding endings in your life, because, in effect, you are avoiding growth.  And with new growth (as uncomfortable as that growth can be) always comes a greater sense of fulfillment.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you experience an ending:

  • Close your experience – Do something that brings closure to the situation.  Yesterday, at work, we spent time reflecting on our time together and what we learned from that.  When we were done, there was a sense that our experience together was over and we could move on.
  • Look towards the future – What does the future hold for you?  How can you take what you’ve learned and apply it towards the future?  These questions will help you be more forward thinking. Realize what your past experience may help you to do in the future.
  • Remember that you will do this again in your life – This won’t be the last time you have an ending!  Just as you are leaving something behind and going towards something new, you will one day be ready to leave behind that new thing you’re just starting.  You will always need a bigger shell.  Get ready to keep moving. 🙂

What other tips do you have for dealing with endings? Share your ideas in the comments! Thanks!

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  1. Wonderful post. Endings are usually beginnings and thinking about them that way helps to make it easier. For example, it certainly sucks when a relationship ends. However, it’s a new beginning, a new chapter in your life, and I think that’s always very exciting. Really enjoyed this. We all have endings in our lives and this is such a great post about them.

    Positively Present’s last blog post..hope springs internal

  2. My husband lost his job 6 weeks ago. I’ve forgotten about closure. We will close the door over the weekend with some kind of ritual.

    Right now we are focused on what we are moving toward. Thanks!

    Tess The Bold Life’s last blog post..A Bold Technique That Creates Miracles

  3. First, let me say that I love T.S. Eliot, so I was completely tickled you began this piece with a quote by him.

    Second, I appreciated very much your advice to “close your ending.” This has been very important to me in my own life, as I had a tendency when I was younger to not do so, and I went around with a lot of unresolved-ness. It didn’t allow me to fully leave my past or be fully present in my present. As an adult, I have become more aware of my need to do this. Sometimes it means I very consciously initiate or engage in a very obvious kind of closure. But sometimes it is more subtle and private and might just mean I take a few moments of quiet-time to reflect on something and say goodbye.

    Thank you for sharing this today.

    Chania Girl’s last blog post..The Traveler: A Contemporary Folk Tale

  4. Wise words. Endings are hard when we view them as losing something instead of gaining experience. Be grateful for what was and happy with what is and excited with what will be.

    Great post. Thanks!

  5. Jay Wigley Jay Wigley

    Really well done. I could even imagine using this post to encourage someone to end something that needs ending. Usually the resistance to choosing to end anything is because the focus is on the loss, on the ending, rather than on what beginning something new could be, and all the uncertainty that comes with that. But I love the emphasis here on how beginnings must follow endings, unless you’re dead. 🙂

  6. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Dani – Exactly, we can focus on the loss or we can focus on what we have to gain. It’s like focusing on solutions rather than problems – it puts your mind in a good place!

    Hi Tess – I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s job. Closure is important. It helps you leave what has happened in the past.

    Hi Chania Girl – Yeah, closure makes quite a bit of difference. It’s that moment that helps you say goodbye to what was and say hello to what will be.

    Hi Laurie – Looking towards the future gives you a sense of hope when it feels like something hasn’t gone your way. It’s energizing.

    Hi Jay – Haha, and even then you might be able to argue that death is also a beginning. Right, sometimes endings happen to us and sometimes we need to choose them. In fact, the ones that we choose are often very powerful. Thanks 🙂

    Hi Christopher – Good point! Looking towards the future can make things a little easier.

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