Transitions are some of the most difficult times in our lives. Even when we choose them, the disequilibrium they bring can be painful or frightening; when they are imposed on us, they are even more distressing. The state of transition leaves us with a bit of an identity crisis, which is emotionally destabilizing in the moment. But even difficult, unwanted transitions are usually seen differently in retrospect than when they're happening to us. Research on how people derive a sense of purpose has found that, while periods of pain and struggle make us temporarily unhappy, they also make us feel like our lives have more meaning. “Man was made for conflict, not for rest,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. “In his action is his power; not in his goals but in his transitions man is great.”

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