A while back, I was introduced to the concept of separating the gift from the box. I wrote it down and then moved on.

Today, as I was going through one of my journals, I ran across it again. It made me pause.

The concept of separating the gift from the box is so important, especially when you’re facing or in the thick of a life transition. I wish I had known about this a few years ago when a series of events that turned into a major life transition rocked my world.

Had I just been able to sit with the uncomfortable a while, I could have saved myself a lot of emotional trauma and anxiety (not to mention the full-blown panic attacks I suffered as a result).

You see, a transition is a psychological process that people go through to adapt to change. And, change is factual and situational, meaning there’s something that goes away and leaves a space that something else can fill.

Change is also inevitable. There, I said it. Maybe I should say it again. Change is inevitable. But, it doesn’t have to rock your world, or even lead you down the path of anxiety and out-of-control emotions. All it takes is some work to shift your mindset.

Stick with me—I know you can do it.

Think of it this way. Every transition begins with an ending. During this time, you may feel sad, angry and fearful. Instead of letting your mind convince you that your life is over, acknowledge the loss, but start looking ahead to the new possibilities. I know it’s difficult to see possibilities and opportunities from the place of fear and disappointment. But, if you can recognize that the past is the past and it cannot be changed, you’ll be doing your mental, emotional and physical health a huge favor.

Once you acknowledge the loss, you’re still going to have some bumpy road ahead as you enter the neutral zone—the gap between the old and new. Here, your thoughts and emotions may leave you feeling frustrated, disoriented, and confused. When I retired from my corporate life, I experienced all these emotions and more because I had also lost my identity. My transition had a very messy “gap.”

The reality is that you have to have an ending in order to have a new beginning. This is where separating the gift from the box comes in. The box represents how you are packaged. In my case, it was my identity in my corporate life. But, that’s not who I really was. I discovered that my gift is the real me—my skills, talents, experiences, inspiration—what I have to offer the world.

I just needed to shift my mindset from what was lost to the puzzle pieces I had in front of me and ask the question, “These are amazing gifts; now what do I want to do with them?”

Life is an amazing journey—full of ups and downs, good times and bad, unique to each of us. Every end along the way is also a beginning. When you can master your mind, you’ll be better equipped to let the past go, face the fear of the unknown, turn the page, and design a new chapter. In the process, you have the opportunity to bring all the awesomeness of the past into that design. You also have the opportunity to leave all the things that weren’t so awesome in the past.

That’s the beauty of new beginnings. What will you do with your gifts? And, if your box has changed or been taken away, how will you handle the transition from what has ended to an awesome new beginning?

My Amazon best-selling book “Your Next Chapter. Dream It. Design It. Live It.” is a guide you can use to navigate your own change and major life transitions. You can find it and other mindset tips on my website at christinestallard.com. And, be sure to join the conversation in my private Facebook group “Amazing Women Living By Design.”