Beginnings And Endings

writing a new chapter

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and humorist (ca. 4 B.C.-65 A.D.)

Chapters in a book, seasons of the year, life’s births and deaths – everything has a beginning and an end. Why should we fear either one? Whether or not we’ve grown up fearing change or welcoming it, one thing is certain: Things will always be in a state of change. There will be beginnings even as there are endings. How we choose to embrace or avoid them is up to us.

The good news is that we do possess this choice. This is immensely liberating for it means that we’re not locked into some predetermined result. By our own actions – or inaction – we will reap the benefits or experience the consequences. Knowing that we have the power to affect outcomes is another tremendously motivating concept.

Still, we may fear beginnings and endings. Why is this? What is the reason we’re so loathe to embrace what is just beginning and let go of that which is ending?

Could it be that we feel somehow diminished by loss – as in the loss of a friend, loved one, a job, financial devastation, social standing, or stature in the community? Are we tied up in knots over the prospect of the unknown, that being anything that happens in the future for which we feel either ill-prepared, unready or unwilling to accept?

These are normal human emotions – and we all have them at one time or another. Who hasn’t felt anguish over the death, for example, of someone dear to us? Who has never experienced doubt or fear over how we’ll be able to cope with a difficult problem or issue that’s suddenly thrust upon us?

While it’s normal to feel fear, anger, doubt, insecurity, and even denial over beginnings and endings, it’s equally normal to feel excitement, curiosity, determination, motivation and interest. We will have a number of different emotions that surface – yet it’s up to us which ones we choose to run with.

Think of the end of a chapter in a book. If the chapter has held our interest, we can’t wait to jump to the next chapter to see what’s going to happen. There’s an eagerness there that motivates us to continue. It may be that the new chapter contains an ending at the beginning, but this just leads to yet another beginning before another ending. And so the cycle continues. At the end of the book, how satisfying a read it was depends on our reactions to the whole of the parts. Even this doesn’t detract from the book’s ending, for we’re left with a residual feeling (one way or the other). If we didn’t like the ending, we may not go back to books by this author, but we may just as easily go on to read another book by a different author. This is an ending that leads to another beginning.

Some helpful tips:

  • Accept and embrace change for it is a constant in life.
  • Look for the positive in every beginning and ending – it’s there, although you may have to search for it.
  • Celebrate life – in all its glory and imperfection.
  • Forgive yourself first – it makes it easier to forgive others and move on when you need to.
  • If you mourn an end, welcome a beginning.
  • Help others who may need assistance reconciling endings and beginnings – for this is the essence of humanity, being of service to others.

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