One of the frustrating factors of life is its rocky nature, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We seem to endure varying seasons ranging from joy to sorrow, and these ‘seasons’ may vary in length from months down to minutes.
Our moods, the states of mental and emotional disposition, can be reflected in five phases:
There are many situations we approach in disbelief. These are times when we cannot accept the truth; things may be too raw. Denial is a normal human response of defence.
When we allow ourselves the experience of denial without getting down on ourselves, later, we experience less self-condemnation. There is less guilt, also.
Anger is about as normal a human emotion as any other emotion is. We cannot help feeling angry about certain things, but we can control the expression of our anger.
There will be days, even moments within days, where anger will get the better of us. Again, we’re commended to resist condemning ourselves. Understanding that anger is a normal response given many of life’s circumstances is the blessing of God’s grace, and it’s God’s will that we experience spiritual peace having effected any of the restitution required.
A bit like denial, bargaining is that state of emotion which cannot quite accept the truth yet. Sometimes we want to negotiate the non-negotiable. God’s grace is often gentle in this way in that the situation doesn’t give us our way, but we’re not chastised point blank. We’re allowed to come to terms with the truth in our own time.
When we resolve that circumstances cannot be renegotiated, it’s common we experience even a moment’s depression.
This phase of depression is not depression per se, as in a bout of clinical depression.
This phase of depression is simply about our felt emotional response when we first confront the truth. When we can no longer hide, and we experience truth’s brunt front-on, it’s no surprise we hit a rock bottom point.
Events of depression involve us emotionally to the point of courage as we wrangle with the truth. To be depressed is to be in a state of courageousness.
The reality is we experience depressed moments many times daily; our joyous days may simply ride over these little bumps.
Everyone loves moments of acceptance—where we’re perfectly happy in our thinking and feeling. Parts of most days are seasoned in acceptance. No matter how hard life is we do experience moments of wellbeing, even on some of the worst days.
These five phases of living reflect the stages of grief, because, when we think about it, life is one long journey requiring constant adjustment. No day is perfectly joyous or absolutely lamentable—not when we think about.
When we accept that life will change, and many times unpredictably, we can begin to approach such changes with a mature optimism. We stay more in the phase of acceptance. But accepting the other more negative phases is also part of maturity.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.