They say the five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
These stages often take place following the loss of a loved one, but I believe these stages are just as applicable to the loss of one’s dreams. And when your dreams don’t come true, you’re allowed to mourn your losses. You should permit yourself to feel however you want to feel about them. You’re allowed to go through this process—the denial, the anger, the bargaining, the depression, and finally, the acceptance. It’s hard letting them go, especially when what you worked hard for, waited for, prayed for, and dreamed for hasn’t come true.
A lot of my dreams haven’t come true, and I’ve been sad, angry, and frustrated about this.
I used to dream about settling down with the guy of my dreams. This was something I once wanted for myself for a very long time. I did what people in my life told me I should do and was supposed to do for this to happen. I waited. I prayed. I was assertive. I was available. I fell back. I was open. Then I let it go. I got tired and frustrated of it not happening. The hardest part with mourning this loss has been trying to genuinely be happy for other girls around me who have found their Mr. Right while trying not to get upset when being told, “The right guy will come along, you’ll see.” And being asked, “Why are you still single?” I’ll continue doing my best to be happy for those girls who got what I wanted, even when it’s hard.
I used to dream of having a career in the publishing industry. I worked hard, put myself through college, studied, interned, networked, and while I’m actively writing and love having the opportunity to do so, landing a full-time opportunity in my dream field has led to hitting walls and regrouping, repeatedly hearing no, stacking rejection emails, and wondering if I’ll ever catch my big break. This has been especially frustrating and disappointing, but even if I’m not in the industry I want to be in, I’ll still keep writing and do my best to support other writers, even when I’m not getting the opportunities I want.
I used to dream of traveling the world. I saved up for a passport and when I finally got it, it ceased to be stamped. I kept asking different friends and family members to be my travel buddy so I wouldn’t have to go alone, and they kept bailing, making excuses, or saying they couldn’t do it, afford it, or go, but their pictures that surfaced on social media from international trips with their significant others and other friends proved otherwise. I still want to travel someday, but who knows when that will happen since COVID-19 has caused a global disruption. This has been a tough one to mourn. I believe traveling is good for the soul, but I’m uncertain if I’ll get the opportunity to find out.
I’m usually able to find a silver lining in just about everything and try my best to be positive, but I don’t always feel like finding the bright side. These disappointments have sat in my chest, worked their way to my stomach, and forced me to digest different episodes of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Proverbs 13:12 reads, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true there is life and joy.”
It breaks my heart not getting what I’ve wanted, but I can move on with my life and find other things to look forward to.
I’m allowed to mourn the loss of my dreams.
And so are you.