In the five stages of grief* the stage of bargaining is the one that resonates the most with me. I think it is more 5 stages of change because we, as humans, experience all the stages with most everything we do. Luckily, most of these stages are quickly experienced, but bargaining stands out as my major life affliction. “What?” Potato Olés from Taco John’s for example – I could live on these. I love them. But since I had the surgery I can’t (or shouldn’t) have them – they will ruin everything. My bargaining devil on the shoulder says “Oh, Steve, just one won’t hurt – you can run or exercise it off.” I’ve been running a lot lately because I bargain a lot with the devil. I bargain a lot … I rationalize a lot … I justify a lot.
If we as humans didn’t have to transition through denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, and could move right to acceptance with all change (“Steve, we’re going to have to scope you without anesthetic and all your hair will fall out as a result”- you. “Okie doke – no worries man” – me), life would be too easy. Fortunately, we have hearts, and minds, and souls and it isn’t that simple. Thank God. I don’t want any decision to be without a potential of remorse or reflection. If I could have just snapped my fingers and had the gastric sleeve surgery without the internal battle and anticipated grief of a life of no mass quantities of Potato Olés and Casey’s Pizza … post surgery, I would have not been in a good place. I would have not dealt with my emotions.
So bargaining. This allows me to see all sides of an issue. It’s like picking out melon. You thump away in the produce isle, you smell the end, you look at it and you make a decision, but usually you don’t just pick the one on top and throw it carelessly in your cart. (Good luck if you do.) As you may have heard, I sold grounded (my coffee shop up town), and will transition it over the next month to the new owners. I’m in the acceptance place and am so excited for the new owners, and mostly for me. I can’t wait to be a customer there, but over the past while I experienced all the stages … and in the end, it was just what the doctor ordered.
Look at your life and check in with yourself regarding the different stages. You may be experiencing some bargaining, or anger, or momentary depression regarding an issue. There is a good chance resolution will be around the corne,r but you’ll probably have to go through some “stuff” first. Welcome to life.
*The Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief, is a series of emotional stages experienced by survivors of an intimate's death, wherein the five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
- Steve Simonin, President & CEO