In order to find acceptance, it is likely that we will encounter a stage of grief where we experience bargaining, guilt and shame. Just like anger, guilt and shame do not feel good. Part of the bargaining process includes the “What if” scenarios. “What if I did things differently? What if I was stronger? What if they changed? If I do this…then maybe they will get it. If I say that…then maybe they will change.”
Having an understanding of grief allows us to recognize the bargaining stage. It helps us to understand and acknowledge that feelings of guilt and shame are a normal part of grieving. By misunderstanding our grief or labeling parts of our grief as “bad”simply because they feel bad, can keep us stuckfor years, harboring feelings of guilt and shame.
By practicing self-compassion with ourselves, we learn how to accept and embrace these feelings and this stage of grief. Self-compassion allows us to identify bargaining, shame and guilt as a normal and healthy stage that we must go through in order to accept something that is difficult for us to accept. Having self-compassion allows us to take care of ourselves while we are experiencing these ugly feelings instead of punishing or beating ourselves up more.
Take a moment to reflect on the “What ifs”. What are you bargaining in your life today? Is it a person, a place or a thing? Take a moment to ask yourself what you may be grieving. Bargaining is a stage in the grief process. If you find yourself bargaining something, feeling guilty or shameful about something, then chances are you are struggling to let something go; you are struggling to accept something in your life. Once you recognize this stage of grief, practice self-compassion by allowing yourself the time and space needed to work through these feelings. Judging yourself and beating yourself up only makes the process harder and keeps you from moving forward.
Peace and blessings,