The Difference Between Change and Transition and Why It Matters for Your Life

Difference between change and transition

I was reading a book on a plane the other day called Change Your Trajectory by Bishop Dale C. Bronner. This isn’t the type of book I expected to make me cry, but it did. As soon as I read this:

“Transition is a terribly uncomfortable place for you to be in your life. You will start hurting and not even understand where; you’ll think, I’ve never hurt like this before. I’ve never dealt with these kinds of problems. I’ve never been at this point in my life before.”

There is someone about a writer articulating for us exactly how we feel that is just so helpful and comforting and healing. When I read that paragraph, I began to cry because I thought, “Yes, that’s why I’ve been so ‘weird’ lately because I am so freaking uncomfortable all the time!” Now I can put a word to it.

Bronner went on to explain the difference between “change” and “transition.”

In short, change is external whereas transition is internal. You move to a new house – that’s “change.” You have a breakdown during your first month in the new house because your miss all of your old stuff and want to go back to the things that are familiar because change is hard – that’s “transition.”

“All change requires transition;” Bronner writes, “it requires an internal adjustment that our flesh recoils from.”

I’ve experienced this recoil and I bet you have too. I quit my job exactly a year ago, and I’m still recoiling against the change in pace and hours and workplace. I’m recoiling against the uncertainty that comes with being a freelancer and the wonderful things that come with it too.

It’s like I’ve just been fighting through uncomfortable feelings for a year and honestly, I’m tired. I want things to feel steady and normal again, but I’m realizing that more than that, I want to learn how to weather change and transition. Because I’m beginning to suspect that those are the constants of life.

After reading Bronner’s definition of transition, I’ve decided there are three things that are important for me, and all of us, to do during a time of change.

1.Be Aware

I remember when my parents helped me move to England for school. They were there for a week and I was a complete terror the entire time. I was moody and short tempered and for seven days I declared that nothing was going right for me or the way I wanted it to. I hated that I was acting this way, but I couldn’t stop myself.

It would have helped if I had been aware of the internal things caused by transition. I could have told myself while I was boarding the plane to Heathrow, “Ok, this is going to be hard. This is a big move and you may experience big emotions as a result.”

It might be helpful to make the loved ones around you aware of this too. Give them a head up on your crazy. It might prevent some potential fights.

2. Give Yourself Time to Process

I think in a time of transition, I need to be extra sure I’m giving myself time and space to process things. This could look like simply journaling or using whatever outlet you use to think about things intentionally. Or it could look like talking to someone.

A few months into my recent transition into freelancing, I hit a wall of anxiety. I couldn’t get out of it. My thoughts turned dark and weird and I felt out of control, so I made an appointment with a counselor I had gone to a couple of years ago.

On a white board, she drew a diagram of my brain and what the brain looks like under severe times of anxiety. It was so helpful just to sit with a professional and talk things through. Some seasons in life call for extra help.

3. Be Nice to Yourself

Did you have a spontaneous breakdown in the grocery store? Have you been crying at stupid things? Did you snap at the technical support guy on the phone? Don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t let the weight of shame press down on you. Let yourself feel what you feel and don’t “should” yourself too much. It just adds to the pressures that change has already brought.

Transitions take time to adjust to, and they are uncomfortable. Let yourself feel uncomfortable for a while.


(This post was originally posted on Storyline here. You can read my other Storyline articles here.)


  1. Danika Sutton on May 31, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Andrea!

    I love your content and have just started reading your blog today. I’ve been a pretty avid reader of Storyline, which is where I believe I first read your material.

    In this post, I noticed a couple grammatical errors that you might want to correct. 😉 I can’t help it, I’ve been working at a church for four years and part of my job was to edit content similar to this.

    In the third paragraph, it reads, “There is someone about a writer articulating….” I believe it should read, “There is SOMETHING about a writer articulating….” 🙂

    In the section 1: Be Aware, in the last paragraph it reads, “give them a head up on your crazy…”

    I believe it should read “give them a HEADS up on your crazy…”

    Thanks for the great content, I’ve been having similar conversations with my community over the past few years.

    Have a fantastic day!

    Danika Sutton
    503-539-1111 or

  2. Will on July 10, 2016 at 1:40 am

    I really like what you guys tend to be up too.
    This kind of clever work and reporting! Keep up the good works
    guys I’ve included you guys to my own blogroll.

  3. M88 on November 27, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I do know as a result of I see the accidents that consequence across a variety of sports: Elementary-faculty-age baseball gamers with
    labral tears within the shoulder; young basketball players with tendonitis around the kneecap; junior tennis
    gamers with stress fractures of their shoulders; and
    soccer players who’ve had a sliver of cartilage and bone separate
    from the remainder of the joint, a situation referred to as osteochondritis dissecans.

  4. Matthias on November 28, 2016 at 1:07 am

    Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely great.
    I actually like what you have acquired here, really like
    what you’re saying and the way in which you say it.
    You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it wise.
    I can not wait to read far more from you. This is really a great web site.

  5. on December 28, 2016 at 12:33 am

    Heart disease: Waist fat is three times extra strongly associated with cardiovascular
    disease than BMI (Body Mass Index).

  6. Gail on February 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    The British Association fo Shooting and also Preservation Scotland
    has teamed up with Dunkeld message office to provide a painless video game licence
    releasing service which will certainly assist the countless people
    that shoot in Scotland each year.

  7. Devin on February 9, 2017 at 1:18 am

    She has been designing for over 20 years and this is her first Voyeur and
    her first time at SLAC!

  8. Manie on February 9, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Basically any person can develop a job order making use of forms, a spread sheet, or specialised software program.

  9. Pedro Davi Lucca on May 23, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Ao completamente a cervejaria, afastado da HEINEKEN, comercializa outras 250 marcas dentro de mercados dentre completo terra, tendo como
    exemplo, Amstel, Do Equis, Foster’s, Sagres, Tecate,
    Engenho no entanto Kaiser.

  10. roblox music codes 2019 on December 8, 2019 at 1:22 am

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as
    long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage?

    My blog is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my users
    would really benefit from some of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you.

  11. roblox music codes 2019 on December 8, 2019 at 1:48 am

    hi!,I love your writing very so much! percentage we communicate extra about your post on AOL?
    I need a specialist on this house to resolve my problem.
    May be that’s you! Looking forward to see you.

  12. ml hack on May 4, 2020 at 4:10 am

    Great goods from you, man. I’ve be mindful your stuff prior to and you’re
    simply too magnificent. I actually like what you have got here, certainly like what you’re saying and
    the way through which you are saying it. You make it
    entertaining and you continue to care for to stay it wise.
    I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is really
    a great website.

  13. sugarbalanceherbalsupplement on August 22, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Hi, very nice article which will help me a lot

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.