"When we permanently walk away from a house, we would like to take with us the emotions that the place contains and holds."
Paolo Crepet - Elogio dell'amicizia
There is a charming spot near Mantova, the city where I was born. It is a pontoon bridge that crosses river Oglio right before it flows into river Po, the italian longest one. It is in the middle of Po valley, a misterious, magic and fascinating area in the north of Italy. Some people hate it, many others get inspired by its landscapes.
The bridge reminded me the process of change: you find yourself on one bank of your inner river and you can only cross it to arrive to the other one.
Change is a separation: you leave the past to embrace the future. Sometimes you plan it, sometimes it is unexpected.
In his "Hostage at the table", George Kohlrieser writes "Separation is a transition or a change in attachment that can have a profound negative impact if not handled well (...) Separation opens the grieving process." (p. 47)
But what is the grieving process?
It is the process that leads to the acceptation of the loss.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was a Swiss-American psychiatrist that developed the five stages of grief model. She worked with terminally-ill patients., but eventually realised that the families of the patients needed support as well. These are the phases she identified:
Denial: the person is shocked and denies the news. It is a protection mechanism not to admit the reality and feel overwhelmed by feelings coming from the grief. If not handled well, it can last for many years.
Protest and anger: the person does not want to believe that the news happened and blames somebody else for it. Feeling the anger deep inside is important for the grieving process because it connects the person to reality. What matters is the way the anger is expressed. It is important to find a healthy way to do it.
Bargaining: the person negotiates to get the old situation back. It is a way to avoid the grief by attaching to a false hope. It is common to feel guilty in this stage.
The valley of sadness: the person feels the sadness deep inside, realising how empty life is after the loss. She/he might cry and avoid contacts with other people.
Acceptance: the person finally accepts the loss and realises she/he can go on with her/his life.
The bridge of change is long and tough, it requires patience and time.
Did you face a change?
Do you feel stuck in one of the stages?
What is holding you there?
Coaching can support you to process your feelings and move on with your life.
If you want to know how I can accompany you, contact me and we will build a strategy for you to feel better. You are not alone!