Every change brings with it some peripheral loss. For example, in changing jobs there may be loss of established friendships, or in moving to a better house, there may be unaccounted for costs. Every change we make, even if it is a welcome change and by choice, produces peripheral loss. First time parents give up their spontaneity (and sleep); marriage may feel like a loss of autonomy. Even a wanted divorce may result in changes in relationships with your in-laws and close friends, or a long anticipated retirement may be met with unexpected feelings of loss or emptiness.

When we first encounter and assess the onslaught of those losses, we temporary forget the reasons for our original decision and find ourselves thrown into a state of panic and deep, deep regret. We think “Oh, S**T, what have I done?” As an avalanche of loss and self doubt engulf us, we begin to question our decision.

We have entered into that murky state of transition when the familiar is gone and we can easily see what we gave up, but the gains are foggy at best.

Our perception is skewed because at this moment only the loss is crystal clear. The fruits of the decision are yet to be experienced. Take the example of changing jobs-after a teary good bye party with your co-workers, you are thrust into a new environment where you know no one, feel overwhelmed by your job responsibilities and can’t even find the restroom.  At this point the loss will feel very great as you have yet to reap the rewards.  It is difficult (and sometimes terrifying) to give up the familiar for the unknown.

How do we get through this confusing time?  First, don’t reverse course, and don’t panic. Don’t do anything impulsive with hopes of mitigating your pain. Breathe, relax, be patient.  Hold onto the faith that your decision did not come easily and that you considered your options carefully before acting.

Like a kaleidoscope, even the tiniest of movement will bring change. Daily there will be subtle shifts and new perspectives.  As you adjust to the new situation you will glean small glimpses of why you chose this path. Ah, Affirmation, finally! Exhale as you move forward now with more certainty that the benefits are beginning to reveal themselves. Until then though, have faith in yourself and know that your doubt is just your fear messing with you! With time your confidence will grow and silence that debilitating doubt. Until then be patient and trust in yourself and your choices.




  1. Kathy on the 25. Sep, 2011 remarked #

    While I was contemplating whether to divorce or not, I made a short list of what was missing in my marriage and/or reasons I was so unhappy. During the divorce and shortly after, I reviewed those items and that little review helped remind me. Now that I am further away from the end of the marriage, I do not review that list very often. I am glad I kept that little crumpled piece of paper. The things I THINK I miss in my life, usually do not outway the things I missed in my “partnership.”

  2. Wendy on the 25. Sep, 2011 remarked #

    Talk about a timely topic. I just changed jobs after 24 years in essentially the same position. Now I’m doing something new. While not entirely brand-new, still it is different. I could do my old job practically blind-folded. Now every day poses a new situation that feels unfamiliar and unsettling. Being somewhat of a perfectionist – this is difficult for me.

    Also, I’ve given up co-workers whom I respect both personally and professionally and I now have to navigate new relationships. Definitely a peripheral loss.

    But, your blog has helped me to put things back into perspective. I took this new job because I wanted a challenge and I wanted to be mentally stimulated. And, I’m hopeful that I will establish new relationships that I value while still maintaining the “old” friendships.

    Thanks for all you do, Donna.

  3. CJ Golden on the 25. Sep, 2011 remarked #

    One can never foresee all of these peripheral losses – no matter how long and hard one tries to imagine all of the upcoming scenarios.
    Some are welcome. Some are not.
    Many, as I said, are quite a surprise.
    Keep your heart open to all and, as Donna said, trust your good judgment in having made your decision.

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