Have you ever lost someone or something?
I mean not lost and found. But really lost. As they were part of your life, they are not any more.
Probably you have heard of 5 stages of loss as described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler in “On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss”
They describe what is happening with your emotions when someone or something disappears from your life.
As such, they help you understand and then manage those stages, so that they become shorter and shallower, helping you regain your balance more quickly.
The approach is universal to the extent that it can be applied not only in the context of loss, but also in the context of change (which is a loss of the old in favor of the new).
Today, I will take it two steps further and I will share with you not 5 but 7 stages of loss that will help you manage it even better.
Let’s start with the classic five.
The first stage is denial when you do not accept nor believe what happened. It just cannot be true. But, if you want to move on, you must accept the reality.
Then comes anger. That’s the stage at which your shock and frustration surface and overflow, venting your emotional load. That’s why it is good, as it cleanses your mind.
Once anger is gone, you bargain or negotiate to restore what you lost. You hope for a chance to get it back. It’s the stage filled with ‘what if’s and ‘if only’s. As sometimes it might work, sometimes it does not, leading to…
Depression is a state at which nothing makes sense. You plunge in dark thoughts and you wallow in pain. The only conclusion that seems to make sense is that it is the end. All is gone.
This stage may last. Sometimes very long. Sometimes you can even get stuck there. Read my other post to see 5 Proven Ways To Stop Feeling Depressed.
Acceptance is the final stage of the classic model, when you make peace with what happened and settle with the new order of things.
Here are two extra stages that can help you manage your loss better by making more sense of it.Whatever bad happens to you, you can make sense of it. Click To Tweet
It’s Donald Miller‘s idea that I came across recently. I bought it.
You can be grateful for the loss you experienced.
And I give it two perspectives.
First, it makes me think of what Winnie the Pooh said:
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
So, once you accept your loss, you can realize how lucky you were. Not everybody is. And although it is in the past, and it’s gone, the experience remains.
Second, your loss is your lesson.
Learn from it, so that you don’t lose something important again. And realize that, whatever you lost, you can rebuild it.
Then, for conclusion, I would add one more stage of dealing with loss, and it is…
As you realize your loss is not the only one in the world, there may be other people going through your pain.
Once you got through, once you learned from it, ask yourself the question of how you can help them make sense of what happened to them and manage it better.
This will give much more sense to your loss, too.
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