The Mourning Process: For Loss of an Idea or an Ideal

Have you ever had a situation that is long in the past, but you still seem to have this underlying nagging feeling.

Maybe it’s because you need to go through the mourning process.

We often attribute mourning to the loss of life. But it applies to us in so many other situations.

In a previous blog, I talked about forgiving yourself. If you are having a hard time doing that, then this may be the information that you have been searching for.

Mourning has 5 stages.

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bartering/Bargaining
  4. Sadness/Depression
  5. Acceptance

The first four stages are not sequential. Meaning, you do not complete one and then pass into the other. These 4 stages are fluid. They wave through you like the ripples of the ocean.

Each stage requires that you feel it out. That you experience it. This is the brain/body’s way to work through the uncomfortable feeling that is accompanying the idea that change is inevitable. 

When you allow the waves of thoughts and feelings to work through you, they decrease their intensity. Overtime, the situation no longer affects you quite the same as it did before. Eventually, it no longer affects you at all.

The Stages

Denial is the moment of shock. You think “this can’t be my reality”. But once you realize that there is no changing this, then you have made it through the denial part.

Anger is a pure emotion. It’s the body’s way to speak up. To fight for you. Issue needs to be felt and expressed, either to yourself or another person. Anger is only an issue when it is not expressed in a healthy way. Finding constructive ways to express your anger will help with the healing process.

When feeling anger, you need to allow it space to exist in you. To wave through you. To be completely be felt by you. Again, it is just your body talking a sharing its story of pain. If you listen, the pain will diminish, for a time.

Barterning is where you try to make a deal. If you act a certain way or attempt to compensate your behaviour in some other way, the hope is that you will be spared all the pain.

Sadness and depression come when your system is tired of fighting. All the hurt and anguish seems unbearable and that you will feel like thi forever. So the body takes a break and decides to check out for a bit.

All the above are waves of thought or emotion that go through you as you adjust to your “new normal” (COVID jokes!!). The waving process is how we gradually work from one way of being to another. It is our adaptation process. 

When you experience any of these 4 stages, it’s easy to get stuck and stay there. This is because the brain does not want you to move away from the pain. Actually, the brain is acting like a teenager here, because it wants both to move you away from the pain (the waving action) and to keep you stuck (so that you always remember the pain so you don’t do it again)!!

The way through the pain is to wave with intention. Cry with intention, be angry with intention. Feel the feeling. Entertain the thought. Acknowledge that you have been through it. 

Then, pick something that moves you forward. Do something for you, even if it is something small like reading a book, going for a walk, or watching netflix. 

As long as it is not an escape, but more like a reward for going through the motions that are so uncomfortable. All this is to gradually set you on the path of healing. The path going forward.

Be with each one, and then get up and say, this is not going to take me down today. I will move forward through this as I become stronger every day. 

Mourning is like shedding off coats of skin as you become new, fresh, and evolved. Use it to your advantage as you embrace the pain that comes with change, and grow into the person you were meant to be.

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