Which ironically I do when I’m going through a life transition.
Okay, maybe not all of my hair. But a nice, big chunk of it!
Yesterday I cut my hair very short and realized that it’s not the first time I’ve decided to do this before or during a big transition or change.
Let me start by saying that I hated cutting my hair short for many years. My hair was very, very short for much of my childhood, like just below my ears, and I always envied long, luscious locks. So I grew my hair out as much as I could, cutting off my fried ends when the time called for it, for a little over a decade.
In my early-mid twenties, I cut my hair short as I was going through a breakup. I cut it again when my now-husband and I moved in together, and again right before we got engaged. I even cut it the day before I saw my first private-practice client last year!
Right now, my husband and I are in the process of packing up our NYC apartment that we’ve lived in for the past four years, that has become a safe haven for me. When I recognized my haircut habit and reflected on this pattern, I noticed common themes that are applicable in circumstances such as these.
1. Cut off dead weight. Let go of what no longer serves you.
Doing so launches us forward, into the next chapter of our lives, just like cutting our split ends helps our hair to grow.
At a certain age I realized that very long hair really isn’t for me, and part of the reason is that my hair just stops growing in a healthy way after a certain point. That’s okay with me now! When it comes to our 1-bedroom Manhattan apartment, well, it’s very expensive and less necessary for us during this social-distancing-work-from-home era.
Some of the ways you can incorporate this practice during a move or a new period of your life include: donating and getting rid of clothes you no longer wear and the things you no longer need (be honest with yourself!); setting positive interpersonal boundaries with loved ones and coworkers; reflecting on the relationships and habits that are keeping you stuck in unhealthy, repetitive patterns of behavior.
2. Tend to your inner child.
Like most children, I did not have a particular say in decisions that would impact my entire family. I didn’t have a say in small decisions that impacted me much either, like the decision of how short to cut my hair. My mom thought it was cute short and it was easy to style so I assume that saved a ton of time. I remember her telling the hairdresser to convince me to cut it short while I was in the chair if she couldn’t convince me herself.
As we get older, we have more of a say in decisions that impact us but that does not make the fear or apprehension of big (or even small!) changes completely go away. When I cut my hair short now as an adult I have an opportunity to rewire the circuits in my brain and body. I can tell my inner child, “I know this is different, I know you’re scared, and I’m right here with you.” It is also a choice that I get to make for myself now, and that feels really good.
Think about what your inner child needs to hear from you as you make changes and do things differently.
What was it that you needed to hear then that you can say to yourself now?
3. We are always in a state of change and life will g(r)o(w) on!
Don’t really have anything to add here, but I know it’s applicable! Embrace the process and the present and be open to possibilities to come.
I offer these lessons I learned about myself as helpful reminders to you during times of change, big or small.
Our inner children typically call out for our hand during times of uncertainty and we get to show them how we can do big, adult things, like reminding ourselves we are constantly changing, getting rid of what no longer serves us, and by holding ourselves with self compassion through the fear of the unknown.