Five stages of identity death
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They say the only constant in life is change.
Which leaves me wondering, why is it so difficult to let ourselves evolve? Why do we experience discomfort when it’s time to make a shift? Why do we hold on for so long when we know it’s time to step into a new way, into new work, into new seasons?
I suspect, underneath our clinging to what was and what is resides a deep desire to feel safe, to feel important, to feel in control of our lives. Perhaps even to feel in control of others and their lives. I suspect there are also concerns related to our sense of security and purpose in the world. We want to know we’re on the “right path” and doing the “right work,” again, in hopes of securing some vital need felt within.
I’ve been thinking about this because I’m in the last few months of working primarily as an organizational development practitioner and consultant. This has been my foremost work for the past six years. It will be seven years by the end of 2023, which quite mystically represents the number of fullness and completion. As I welcome this transition and feel my inner life shed, release, celebrate and prepare for new work in the world, I’ve been reflecting on the stages of identity death that got me here. I thought I might offer them as considerations for any of you who are also moving through the underworld that is soul-level transformation.
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Before I share these stages, I want to be clear that these stages are not linear. They are experiences along the path and my observations of them. It’s also likely that this collection of stages is non-exhaustive, meaning there will be pieces I miss. I hope you’ll comment or email to let me know if and how they resonate with you.
What once filled you up leaves you empty.
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