Beginning to Cope with Tragedy
If you are facing a tragedy or major life challenge, give yourself plenty of room to heal. Back off on your commitments. Put volunteer activities on hold. Make extreme self-care a top priority. Ask for more help than you think you need. Don't make any major life decisions.
Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel. Remember that self-pity is a normal part of the healing process. Give yourself a limited amount of time to feel sorry for yourself. You might curl up in your favorite pajamas with your favorite comfort food and have a good cry. It's important to make space for the pain. If you don't deal with it, it waits for you. Get the support you need to heal your pain so you can begin to move on with your life.
Most of all—have enormous compassion for yourself!
Regardless of the tragedy, you can decide right now to make this event a defining moment in your life. It may not make sense, and you may feel angry or deeply saddened, but making this decision can direct the course of your life in a more positive way. The simple decision to proclaim that this event will be a defining moment can be enough to make a huge difference.
At some point during your healing process, there will come a time when you decide to reclaim your power and shift from feeling like a victim to being a victor. How will you use this tragedy to improve your life? How has the healing made you a better person? Refuse to think of yourself as a victim, take responsibility for your life, and you're ready for the next step.
Behind every tragedy there is a gift. You may not see it at first, but a tragedy can provide enormous opportunity. For example, you may decide to completely re-evaluate the direction of your life or use the support you receive from loved ones as a way to strengthen your relationships. Most people find that living through tragedy allows them to tap into an inner strength that they never knew existed. By connecting with yourself in this way, you'll find a reservoir of courage and creativity that leads you to your authentic self. When the time is right, the gift will reveal itself—if you make a point to look for it.