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Acceptance Stage of The Grief Process

Dr Elizma van der Smit. August 2020

· Mind,Life Skills

“Acceptance” is the last of the Five Stages of Grief developed by Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler. In short, the stage signifies the end of the grieving process and typically allows a person to return to their normal everyday life.

Yet, there’s quite a significant misconception about this stage. So, let’s go over what the “acceptance” stage really entails.

Misconception About the Acceptance Stage

Many people assume that the term “acceptance” in this case means that you’re okay with the loss. Yet, that’s not exactly true. Acceptance simply means that you’ve acknowledged that the loss will occur or has occurred.

Once you reach this final stage, you’ll likely experience a wave of calmness or peace. At that point, you’re ready to continue on with your life and develop what you consider to be a new sense of normal.

Because of this misconception, others who are handling the same loss might feel as if you didn’t care all that much. After all, they might begin to wonder why you were able to move past the loss so quickly while they’re still struggling.

Don’t feel guilty about reaching the acceptance stage, especially if you reach it before somebody else who’s also experiencing the loss. Everybody grieves differently and there’s no timeline on grief.

Creating a “New Normal”

Now that you’ve come to terms with the loss, your life will forever be impacted in some shape or form. After all, you can’t expect to return to your normal everyday life without experiencing at least a few minor changes.

So, your new normal might entail….

  • Getting used to waking up alone or not having a person to reside with if your spouse passed away or you’ve gotten divorced
  • Getting used to your new limitations and asking for help if you’ve recently been diagnosed with a medical condition or disability
  • Getting used to building new friendships and connections after one of your most important friendships ends

● Getting used to working for a new company or performing different tasks if you’ve lost your beloved job

A lot of it comes down to being comfortable adjusting to the new changes after the loss. It might take a while to reach this stage, but this stage allows you the chance to work through the grief and move on with your life.

Shifting Your Perspective

When you reach this stage, you’re most likely going to notice that your perspective is permanently altered. Rather than thinking about your lost loved one or the tragic loss, you might find yourself reminiscing about happy memories (or positive aspects) instead.

So, instead of thinking about how stressful their last few days were, you might begin to feel thankful that you were able to spend their last few days on Earth with them.

If you’ve gotten divorced, you might come to the conclusion that the relationship was toxic and that moving on is best for your emotional and mental health.

When a job or career path comes to an end, a new door will open to an even better employment opportunity that fits your strengths better.

Final Thoughts

The acceptance stage is perhaps the most important stage of grief, but not all people will be able to reach it. It takes a lot of time and emotional anguish to experience the acceptance stage.

You’ll know you’ve reached this stage when you slowly begin to return to normal life without having the grief hold you back. Your perspective will be shifted, and you’ll experience the grief through a new lens: A more positive one.

This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.

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This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.