Elisabeth Kubler-Ross introduced the five stages of grief in her 1969 book that was based on dealing with the loss of a loved one. She describes the five stages you will typically have to endure to get back on the path of a life with some promised normalcy. Reading them made me wonder if I could successfully apply these stages to other areas of my life. It took me a second to realize I had unknowingly been using these stages to prepare for the loss of something similar in importance: the loss of my greatest Fear. I happily discovered that I was not at the beginning of these stages or even in the middle but in fact I was rounding the corner to a long awaited finish line.
Stage 1: Denial
What a sweet and slow poison it is. You know you are in for trouble at this stage. It is a small challenge to fool another but to actually convince oneself that a lie has taken on the colors of truth is quite an accomplishment. You have covered your eyes and foolishly continue to describe your surroundings.
Stage 2: Anger
What do you expect? Of course you are angry, you've been tricked. What's worse is it was not the doing of an other's hand but your very own. You're gonna need to put the gloves on for this round.
Stage 3: Bargaining
This would be procrastination's BFF in my eyes. You are no longer upset but you're unsure that you really want to deal with it all. You finally see just how much work will go into fixing it and suddenly you don't seem to have the time. You begin busying yourself with being busy. There are no concrete results from this but you are sure to tire the same.
Stage 4: Depression
I believe most go through stages 1-3 more than once. You bargain yourself right back into the warm arms of denial. Once you have finally passed that stage you find yourself flat on the floor of stage 4. There seems to be so much time you have willingly wasted by trying overcome your fear. The sands of time have somehow escaped your fingers too quickly and you will feel the need to scrape for the remains. Dig too deep and you will find yourself buried.
Stage 5: Acceptance
You look back on the journey and no longer see mistakes but lessons. The fear was there and in moments you were consumed but never broken. Promise yourself that it was a part of who you were but will never determine who you are or will become. In this stage you must be able to see your reflection and know that you are going to be okay. But you will never complete this step until you truly believe that statement. "I'm going to be okay." And you wouldn't want to go fooling yourself now, would you? Because we all know that is the quickest path to the home of our old friend Denial.