Saying Goodbye Well
As a trainee psychologist a memorable moment was when it was time to say goodbye to one of the courses I was taking. The trainer of the group finished with a good deal of time spent on asking us to say goodbye “properly”. He laboured the point that saying goodbye was a natural part of life, and we all needed to do this well.
I have been thinking a lot about saying goodbye lately. We are moving locations as a practice and in my personal life I am also transitioning to another place. I find myself thinking to an acronym coined by David Pollock who does his work in helping people who move from one culture to another. The acronym is RAFT.
R is for Reconciliation. Thinking through the relationships that perhaps there have been things unsaid or ruptures that have yet to be repaired. This does not mean digging up all kinds of worms for yourself! These may be relationships you would like to keep ongoing. Perhaps there are certain issues that have been side-stepped in other relationships. This is a kind of making peace before moving on to the next stage.
A is for Affirmation. This is a wonderful stage of speaking kind, encouraging and affirming words to the various people in this particular location whom have been connected to you. You could send a card, a letter, or be intentional the next time you meet, to speak words of affirmation. This is a kind of parting gift.
F is for Farewell. This is the markers of the time to say goodbye. Having scheduled events with key groups of people, more intimate coffee meets for those more significant connections, posting on your FaceBook page something symbolic and reflective to signify the farewell – these are all examples. Don’t forget the children! Ask them who they would like to have some time to say goodbye to, and how would they like this to happen.
T is for Think about the next destination. This is taking the time to research about, talk about, envisage about where you are going to next. Sometimes we can be avoidant about thinking about the next place. It is painful to do so. Perhaps we are concerned about getting too excited in case we are let down. Having realistic ideas about where you are going next, and also starting to prepare yourself by talking about it is a helpful stage in saying Goodbye well.
Valerie Ling, MClin Psych, BA(Hons), MAPS, Clinical Psychologist has a passion for helping people find their voice and continue to write their life’s story. Committed to prevent burnout and empowering individuals to life an effective life, she is the Director and Founder of The Centre For Effective Living.