The Joy of Endings | Ruth Bettelheim, Ph.D.

December 31, 2014 3:48 PM

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The Joy of Endings | Ruth Bettelheim, Ph.D.

As the end of the year approaches, we reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the one ahead, celebrating the transition between old and new. Unfortunately, our typical attitude toward endings -- whether of relationships or careers -- is much less sanguine. We all want the movie-style "happy ending" of getting married or landing a dream job. However life doesn't roll its credits after those high notes, and when careers or families don't endure, we don't break out the champagne and party hats. Instead, we believe that these endings are devastating failures. Often we feel that we are failures as well, and the ensuing anguish discourages us from taking on new challenges and robs us of zest for life.

Growing up, we treat endings as a natural part of life. Graduating from high school, moving out of our childhood homes, and graduating college, all entail leaving behind a comfortable environment in which we've been successful for the challenges of the unknown. Nonetheless we view them as positive c...

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