What do divorce, death of a loved one, being fired, a job restructuring, not getting a project or promotion, and facing a pandemic have in common?
They each can bring about an intense sense of loss. If not dealt with properly by going through the various stages of the Mourning Process, they each can lead to serious problems with our health, our finances, our personal and work life.
American society tends to recognize that after the loss of a loved one, or a divorce, there are a series of emotions that must be worked through in order to completely heal or recover and move on.
Unfortunately, north American society does not recognize that being fired, going through job restructuring, being turned down for a project or promotion, having an accident, contracting a serious illness, ending a relationship (intimate or otherwise), requires the same series of mourning process steps.
Studies have shown that the loss of a job tends to be harder for a man to deal with than the loss of a loved one. For a woman, the opposite tends to be true. Of course, there are exceptions. Men typically get their feeling of self worth from their career. Women typically feel self worth from several aspects of their life: career, home, family, etc. If all of these are not satisfying, a woman doesn’t feel “O.K.” about herself.
Which is worse – depending solely on a job for happiness, or not being able to be happy if absolutely everything isn’t working? There are ways to move beyond both of these traps – that’s another story.
Humans have to mourn all losses in order to be whole. The loss can be in love, status, finance, friendship, health, anything. Unfortunately, few people have the tools to mourn and heal. Most don’t realize they have anything to mourn about. Even though society approves of mourning death, few people are taught how. It’s a rare individual that knows the stages. Most people can’t recognize when they are in one of them. Often a person gets stuck in one of the stages and stays there for years, possibly even until they die.
The Stages of the Mourning Process:
- denial – ignoring what is happening or denying that anything has changed
- sadness – depression, tears, anxiety
- anger – hatred, anger at people, God, anything
- bargaining – “if I only ____, it will all be OK.” Fill in the blank with whatever bargain you are making in the moment. Could be lose 10 lbs, or buy this extra toilet paper (LOL), or become a prepper, or wear this mask, or find a boyfriend, etc.
- acceptance – the situation simply is what it is … without any emotion about it one way or another.
We mourn loss whether we understand the stages or not. The point is in learning what the stages are, knowing when we are experiencing a loss, feeling the emotions fully, healing while it’s happening, and moving on with our life.
There are people at the opposite end of the spectrum who understand the mourning process and spend their whole lives “processing” the past. They find out, through any number of techniques, that they were abused as children, or some other horrendous thing. They see every therapist, try every therapy, take courses, read books, and in the end haven’t healed and still feel like victims. This is not healing!
“Bad” things are not the only one’s requiring mourning. It can be the loss, or death, of a part of our life for something better. Beginning to menstruate means the death of the “little girl.” A promotion, a marriage, a move to a bigger and better house, a fancy new car – these are all positive changes that bring about the loss, or death, of the old way. There is a time of transition, of mourning, for the old way to make room for the new.
Mourning doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process. It depends on the individual, how fully they allow themselves to feel things in the moment, and their understanding of the stages of mourning. Healing old wounds allows us to feel more love, joy, and happiness. It also aids in improving our self esteem and our health.
Years of accumulated unmourned losses leave us feeling burdened, like life is a struggle, and out of joy. Profound healing takes place as we review the major events in our lives, feel the intense emotions that exist around each one, and finally let them go.
Facing the Pandemic
In moments of crisis and unexpected change, its easy to judge others because they are not dealing with it the same way you are. I find it is very helpful to understand as much about yourself and others as you possibly can. Its easier to have compassion for others and yourself that way. Everyone is doing the best they can under the circumstances.
There are so many dynamics happening with this situation … each individual is staring straight into the unknown … that can bring up a lot of fear and anxiety.
When I was teaching D.I.S.C. back in the corporate world, something I noticed is that D’s and I’s tend to be highly spontaneous and easily adaptable to change. S’s and C’s had a much harder time with unexpected change. Those who are more spontaneous may have a much easier time with the new reality than those who are less spontaneous. Neither is right or wrong. We all just adapt to change in our own time.
We can even look to Astrology. The signs of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces are considered mutable. That means they have a tendency to adapt and flow easier than others. I’m not an astrologer and with astrology there are many other factors that come into play besides a person’s sun sign. Its just one more thing to consider when looking at yourself or another and how you are adapting to a new circumstance.
There is also the Mourning Process. No one goes through the stages of sadness, anger, or depression in any particular order. So while one person in a household may be deeply anxious or depressed, another may be bargaining or angry. Most people begin in the denial stage. And you can never truly reach acceptance until you have gone through all the others first.
Help With the Mourning Process
- Journal – all your feelings. Getting them out on paper helps you acknowledge and release them.
- Meditate – one of the greatest things you can do for your health and peace of mind is a daily meditation practice. Get my two free guided meditations here. Or, if you already have those, go deeper into meditation with the Magnificent U Meditation Program here. You get my bestselling ebook on meditation as part of that program.
- Spend time alone in silence and/or in nature – or just with your pets. Also, getting outside and enjoying the sunshine, feeling the earth beneath your feet rather than concrete or carpeted floors is conducive to recovery and feeling better about life.
- Dancing Dolphin Alchemical Synergies – many of the Dancing Dolphin essences assist people in moving through the mourning process. Check out the Dancing Dolphin flower essence and gem essence catalog here.
- Talk to someone you love – we are in a time when it has never been easier to stay in touch with loved ones. Hearing their voice can often instantly shift how you feel. So pick up the phone or even do a video call. It does make a positive difference.
- Listen to uplifting music – instrumental, nature sounds, soundscapes, etc. are soothing. Many find the sound of violin or harp very uplifting. Try the chanting/healing sound work of my dear friend Jonathan Goldman.
- Get help – if you’ve been dealing with something for awhile and are feeling stuck, I offer private energy sessions and intuitive consulting.
Return from the Where are You in Your Mourning Process page to the Magnificent U achieve your highest potential page.