“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
– C. G. Jung
Dealing with life’s stages is challenging.
For many of the people who come to me for assistance (including couples), I discover that they are going through a life transition or, for some, the whole world is falling apart. What was once working for them is no longer working.
Looking at psychological and spiritual texts, you’ll quickly discover that humans have been discussing life transitions and life stages forever. Carl Jung, known for the theory behind the Myers-Briggs personality type system, spoke of two major life stages; he referred to these simply as the first and second half of life. He summed it up this way.
“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego;
the second half is going inward and letting go of it.”
– Carl Jung
Some people never leave the first half of life. But the invitation and possibility are there for us all. I say invitation because moving into the second half of life is not about your numerical age but rather your stage of life and how you respond to it. Do you double down on your vices and defense mechanisms, or do you do as a recent client did, “pull your finger out” and face your demons.
It starts with a crisis.
When Jung speaks of forming a healthy ego, he refers to gaining achievements. Some of these achievements include having a successful career, starting a business, being the first in your family to go to college, buying a home, getting a promotion, getting married, having a family, and any other external thing you’ve achieved.
Achievements such as these are essential for living well in the first half of life. They are also the prerequisites to the second half of life. We must first “kick a few goals” to develop a healthy ego and identity with the world.
While pursuing achievements is an excellent way to start life, this wears on us. Jung says, “One cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be of little importance in the evening.”
This time is when people will start to experience what we know as A Mid-life Crisis when someone is transitioning or resisting moving into the second half of life. Unlike the first half of life, the second half is more about inner achievements, the inner journey, and getting to know ourselves better – warts and all.
Transitioning requires making choices.
Humans naturally avoid pain with every fiber of their being, so only when life thrusts us into an unavoidable period of pain and transition will we even consider re-evaluating things and looking at those skeletons in our closets.
For example, we may get a life-altering health diagnosis, our business fails, we lose a loved one, our partner leaves, or we even lose our religious faith.
In these moments, we have two choices. We can continue in the same manner doubling down on old strategies, vices, and defense mechanisms. Or we can walk into the darkness and confront our shadow, those painful things in the closet we’ve been running from our whole lives.
If we choose number two, our journey into life’s second half begins.
Let me help you in navigating this transition.
If you’ve read this far, I guess this is about where you are in life.
Through my Transformation Coaching, I accompany you through this disorientating and often painful time.
While there are common themes, this process looks different for everyone, and it’d be my honor to be a guide along the way.
I would like to see you come out of this season having Transformed your Pain into Purpose.
“The journey to happiness involves finding the courage to go down into ourselves
and take responsibility for what’s there: all of it.”
– Richard Rohr