The loss of a loved one, a job, health, or a major relationship can cause us much bereavement. Grief is natural, and it is one of those times when you need to go through pain and work through it. Taking the time to process the loss and mourn is healthier than rushing yourself into trying to resume life as if nothing has happened. You deserve to heal properly, and if you don’t allow yourself to do so, you may just find that trying to force being positive actually pushes you in the opposite direction..
Stages of Mourning
While there is never a single correct way to mourn, there are a few phases that people tend to go through when grieving.
One stage is denial, which is basically a disbelief in the loss.
Another stage is anger. You might find yourself becoming angry over little things, as well as at the people you love, strangers, and even the universe or God.
Some people experience what’s called bargaining, which involves thinking of “if” statements (“if only I had…”) and sometimes trying to make a deal with God or the universe to postpone feeling pain or to get back what was lost.
Depression is also a normal part of mourning, and it involves feeling sad, regretful, lonely, and often this is when we ready ourselves to accept the loss.
The final stage of grief for anyone who has allowed themselves the time to experience it, is that acceptance. This is when we finally come to terms with the loss and start finding ways to live our new normal.
If you’re experiencing any one of these, then you can be comforted in knowing that you are allowing yourself to properly grieve. Remember that each person experiences grief in their own unique way and in their own time. Some people go back and forth through each of these stages a few times as they process their pain… and that’s okay, too. There’s no timetable or book of rules. Don’t rush yourself, and just let yourself feel.
There’s Only One Way to Do It Wrong
If you don’t give yourself proper time to mourn, you’re more likely to get stuck in a bad place. Society sometimes insists that the grieving process doesn’t need much time and that you should be able to bounce back unless you’re weak (society is wrong, BTW), but not giving yourself time just leads to more issues, so here are a few signs you can look for in yourself to see if you’re on the wrong path and holding it in.
If you find that you’re conflicting with everyone, characterized by being argumentative and using “but” statements a lot, you’re likely projecting those feelings onto others. Another sign is that you struggle with being happy for other people. While anger is a natural part of the grieving process, it is super important not act on that anger and lash out at people. When we’re grieving, it can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole of negativity. You might even unconsciously push people away. Perhaps find someone you can trust (friend, family, therapist) who will allow you to vent. Need to yell? Yell. If you find yourself being downright mean for no reason, that’s a sign you’re holding it in, exploding, and ultimately causing yourself more pain and punishment.
Mourning is a painful but necessary process. If you don’t allow yourself to experience it fully, with all the sorrow and tears that come with it, you not only rob yourself of its helpful benefits but also risk injury to yourself and your healthy relationships. Meanwhile, do try to expose yourself to positivity each day to give yourself hope. It may seem like a lost cause while you’re in the cloud of grief, but it will help you get through. Never, ever give up. You’re a survivor. Even in your hardest times, you deserve to smile a little.