Live with challenging situations

Written by Suraj Shah. Inspired by greatness.

When you lose a loved one it may feel like life keeps hurling challenging situations at you. It will feel overwhelming, but there is a way to manage it.

The snowball of events following a loss

It may be that you’ve lost a partner, and then have to deal with the loss of income, having to manage all the housework and all the paperwork, and then having to attend a huge family event where the one you love is sorely missed.

Life keeps pounding you – again and again and again. You feel worse and worse, with your head clouded, and the weight of the world on your shoulders.

You may cry and cower and plead for someone, or God, to take this situation away from you.

But the situation is certainly still there, because that’s how life is. However hard it may be to believe, all that we experience in life is caused by what we have done in the past. There’s no getting away from it – the only way to resolve it is to dealt with. Somehow….

So what do you do?

How to live with challenging situations

When things get really tough, it may feel like there is no clear resolution. But actually, there are an abundance of options available to help you through it.

Better still, they can largely be grouped into three key areas.

1. Dodge it

Dodging the situation means to move away from it. To pick yourself out of the situation and place yourself elsewhere.

Sometimes the situation hurts just a little too much and all you want to do is run. That’s ok – it’s one option.

  • If you feel claustrophic being in the house where your loved one was, you may choose to take a holiday in a different country, away from everything back home.

  • If you are struggling to make polite conversation with that annoyingly nosy neighbour who is approaching you, you may just cross the road when you see them coming.

  • If you feel suffocated when surrounded by family at a large event, you may take a walk outside on your own or with someone you can comfortably talk with. Or perhaps briefly sit alone in the spare room with your eyes closed.

To dodge the situation means to somehow duck from it, to avoid it, to shelter yourself from it. In certain circumstances, it perfectly ok to do – but dodging it doesn’t always free you from it. Instead, it just keeps it at bay, temporarily.

2. Change it

An alternative to dodging the situation is to change it.

Changing a situation means to do something about it. To take action with the intent to change it’s form into something else.

  • If a year after the loss you feel that a large house is too much to maintain and manage financially, then you may choose to sell your house and move into a smaller cosier place.
  • If the loss has shifted your priorities in life and it feels like your job has become unfulfilling, you may choose to apply for a job elsewhere or perhaps take up voluntary work.

  • If your son or daughter is getting married and planning the wedding feels overwhelming, then you could list out all the areas and tasks and consider who in your circle of family and friends you could delegate it all out to.

To change the situation means to do whatever’s in your power to make the situation different from what it is.

But sometimes, you’ll find that it’s just not possible to run from the situation or to change it…

3. Accept it

When dodging the situation or changing it is not an option in your case, you’ll want to find a way to accept it.

Accepting a situation means to see it for what it is, without getting emotionally caught up with it. It means to rise above the situation and observe it, like a witness, without judgement.

Close your eyes, observe where the feeling of burden resides and gradually let it pass. Then place your focus on something that will empower you to move forward in life.

  • If you are the only one who is in a position to arrange the funeral and other related events, then you will want to take a deep breath, make a list of all that needs to be done, and systematically make arrangements.
  • If you are left with an almost empty bank account, you will want to understand what you need to live, you will want to take stock of what you do have and then explore ways to take care of your financial needs.

  • If you are left as the sole parent to a pair of toddlers, you will need to accept the situation for what it is, giving them the support they need to live bravely with love in their hearts.

To accept a situation means to be ok with the discomfort, to welcome it warmly into your life and to let it pass naturally when it’s ready. Over time, it gets easier to manage. With that brings lightness, calmness, and purpose.

Live with challenging situations – your way

A place I personally would like to get to when dealing with challenging situations in my own life is to first accept it, then respond to it appropriately (without the emotional ups and downs and the damage that leads to), and rarely to dodge it.

But that’s work in progress.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with the struggles of day-to-day life following the loss of a loved one. It certainly doesn’t have to be in the order shared so far.

Do what feels right to you and let me know how you’re getting on.

A father’s day note if you miss your dad

Written by Suraj Shah, inspired by greatness.

Do you know of someone who misses their dad?

In the past year, several of my friends have had to deal with the loss of their father. Some fathers had suffered through a long-term illness. Others have died suddenly.

This father’s day, I prepared a note for my friends who miss their dad.

Feel free to download the note (398KB PDF) and send it to someone you know who is feeling at a loss as a result of their father no longer being around. It may provide a source of clarity, comfort and strength for them.

Also, it could be that your friend’s father is still alive, but they’ve fallen out of touch as a result of distance, busy lives, a degenerative condition such as alzheimers, or perhaps differences in opinion. It may help with this kind of loss too.

» download the Father’s Day note for friends who miss their dad (398KB PDF)

Here is the text from the downloadable note, in case you cannot access the document.

If you miss your dad…  by Suraj Shah | | June 2012

How are you coping with the loss of your father?

Chances are that you’re thinking of your dad.  Perhaps you miss him.

  • It may be the date of his birthday or some other important date.
  • It may be that you’re attending a family occasion where he’s not present.
  • It may be that he’s not around to celebrate a major accomplishment with you.
  • It may be father’s day where many other sons and daughters are connecting with their fathers.
  • You may be facing a difficult situation and could do with your father’s guidance and support.

Whatever the reason, you miss your dad, and that’s understandable.

Fathers are incredible people.  They have worked hard their whole lives.  They have done whatever they think is best to give us, their children a good upbringing.  They have taught us how to stand on our own two feet.

Your father was a source of immense strength.  He had been through so much and yet continued to tap into a deep reservoir of love.

He may not have said much, but was quietly waiting… waiting to give support, to always be on hand when you needed him the most.  And you knew it.

For this reason, and this reason alone, you will always miss him.

Father’s values

Although your dad may no longer be around, there is something that will stay on forever: the values with which he lived his life by.

These very same values are growing stronger in you.

When you look deep within yourself and think about the values you aspire to live your life by, you’ll discover that many of them are the very same ones you’ve absorbed from your father over the years.

Everyone’s principles and values are different.  Here are some I’ve gained from my dad:

  • Have a positive attitude to handle any situation.
  • Face the world’s challenges with a smile.
  • Think hard about what’s important to you and make time for it.
  • Cut out all distractions that take you away from what is most important.
  • Family duty comes first — care for your wife, care for your children, care for those who depend on you.
  • Nothing is more important than your peace of mind.
  • When in a conversation, listen — listen properly — then respond as appropriate.
  • Talk to people of all ages and with all sorts of backgrounds — there is always something to learn.
  • Great service is more important than a quick buck.
  • Don’t forget to make money too — you need to support yourself.
  • Be fearless in life — no-one and nothing has the power to make you feel scared.

Live with the loss of your dad

On special occasion days or the times when life is sending difficulties your way, use these three steps to help the memory of your dad shape a better moment for yourself:

1. Remember your dad: Remember your father with all your heart.  Recall your greatest moments with him, what he would say, and what he stood for.

2. Recognise these values emerging in you:  These same qualities are within you.  Look deep within, remember times when you too have gotten through situations using those values.

3. Apply these values to your current situation:  Whatever you are currently going through, take those values you hold so dear and apply them to your present situation.  Think about what your father would have done and how he would have done it.  Magnify it.  Immerse yourself into it.

By remembering your dad, recognising these values in you and then applying them to your present situation, you will see yourself glide through the current situation with ease.

Additional resources

Let go of control to feel great

A friend whose father was very ill had found a way to let go and face the reality of his father’s imminent death.  Learn about how certain phrases from our heritage have been instrumental in helping us let go of control:

Getting grief and bereavement support

Upon losing someone, do you feel there’s no-one you can talk to?  Even with loads of people around who try hard to make sure you’re not left on your own, it’s still so easy to feel alone. But there is a way through it:

If you found this note helpful, feel free to forward it onto friends who may also be missing their dads.

With warmth,

If you miss your father and want to share your thoughts with others, head on over to Google+ to write a few words for friends who miss their dad.