Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to do?
- You or a loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness (or are sick and no one has answers about why or what to do to get better)
- Fire destroys your house and possessions
- You see something bad happening and are at a loss for how to change it
- Tragedy strikes close to home and feels surreal
Whatever the situation, you know something is wrong, but fear, uncertainty, and possibly sadness hit in such a way that you feel helpless, uncertain, paralyzed, overwhelmed, or a combination of feelings that you can’t currently name.
It’s something that most people will experience at least once in their lifetime.
And when it happens, you might:
- Temporarily feel like no one has ever felt the way you feel now
- Develop a different level of relating to someone you know who went through a similar situation
- Wonder how anyone ever gets through the experience
- Be afraid of making things worse
- Try to figure out why it happened, how it happened, and what could have been done to prevent it (and sometimes there aren’t answers for those questions)
But the good news is that there isn’t a single “right way” to handle uncertain situations.
What doesn’t work and why.
There isn’t a detailed set of instructions to help you through the times when your world feels “knocked off kilter.” Even if there were, it would only help so much.
An example: Regardless of how many other people have experienced the death of a parent, you’re still going to experience it your own way when it happens to you.
Another example: There are five common phases of grieving that are well known. But if you fill in the details about each phase from a personal perspective, the story sounds very different from person to person. Your version of grieving is as unique to you as your fingerprint.
The 2-step approach that helps everyone:
- Generously apply love and kindness to yourself and others.
- Once the chaos settles, forgive yourself and others for those times when love and kindness weren’t applied.
If you or someone you know is going through a major life-event that feels like too much, keep it simple and focus on love and kindness for everyone involved.