Liminal space is a concept few are familiar with. It’s not something we really talk about in common conversations, but it’s an important part of life, growth, and even relationships. Liminal spaces are transformative or transitional spaces; it’s usually the place you end up in after a long relationship, trauma, or experience ends. Now, you have to decide where to go.
Liminal spaces usually feel a bit uncomfortable, and this is because you’re in the unknown. If you just got out of a long relationship, everything feels different. You’re unsure of who you are, where you fit in, and what your future holds.
Today, we’re going to discuss how liminal spaces help us move on and why you should embrace and make the most of them.
A New Place
The word liminal comes from the Latin root “limen”, which means threshold or beginning. Liminal spaces can be physical or emotional, like the examples given above (a breakup, life transition, end of trauma). Usually, you find yourself in a liminal place when it’s time to move on to a new part of life.
Some physical examples are hallways, elevators, and empty parking lots. These spaces represent the transition from one place to another. Likewise, liminal spacing can exist in time. It’s a state of mind that most of us will find ourselves in at one point or another.
There’s a saying that goes “get bitter or get better”, and it’s the perfect mantra for liminal spaces. When you enter a transitionary space in life, you have two options: move forward or remain in the past, stuck forever in a state of regret and sorrow.
Think of it like driving a car down the highway looking in the rearview mirror. If you continue to look in the rearview, eventually, you’re going to crash. You’ll stop moving forward. This is the same with liminal spaces. You can spend all of your time looking back, but you’ll never move forward that way.
What To Do
A liminal space represents a place of growth and moving forward. When you find yourself on the threshold of a new stage of life, it’s time to truly look at where you want to go from there. It’s ok to look back now and then, as long as you’re not stuck in the past. Look at where you came from and how that experience has changed your worldview, and move forward with that new mentality.
It’s frightening to enter a new phase in life, there’s no doubt about it. Maybe you’ve just gone through a divorce. After ten years of marriage, you finally find yourself alone in a studio apartment. For the first time in a decade, it’s just you, your thoughts, and your future waiting just out the door. But what does that future hold?
We’ll never know what the future will bring, but what we do know is that it comes regardless of our feelings or desires. Time will continue to pass whether you heal or not, so it’s best to take the time to heal and move forward.
Crossing The Bridge
Crossing the bridge from what has been to what will be isn’t something you have to do entirely alone, but it is a personal growth experience. You can certainly get support from those around you, but at the end of the day, only you can cross that bridge.
Whether you’re suffering from a mid-life crisis, divorce, breakup, gender liminality, or other challenges, there are resources available (especially online) to help guide you to the right decision and keep your confidence high.
There are online support groups, chat rooms, and articles like this one that can help explain the process and keep your feet on the ground. It’s easy to get lost in emotion during this process, but remember that what you’re feeling is entirely normal. Liminal spaces are scary; you stand at the threshold of major change, the endless unknown of the abyss before you. There’s nothing wrong with feeling some fear at that moment.
Just remember that fear is as much a motivator as it is an inhibitor. You don’t want to go back to where you came from, so you have but one option: to cross the bridge, embrace the future, and hold your head up high as you enter a new phase of life.
The Bottom Line
Liminality can be confusing, but embracing change is part of life’s growth process. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, and don’t forget that going backward is always scarier than moving forward. Eventually, you’ll find a new comfort zone; a new place where you can exist without fear, uncertainty, and doubt. It just takes some courage and determination to live a better life. Step forward into change, don’t run from it!