A tragedy is defined as “an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress.” We understand the meaning of those words, however, I believe the important component is how we view the situation. What may be a “tragedy” to one person, is nothing more than a “bump in the road” to another.

While we can agree that death, divorce, illness, financial insecurity, a job loss, create less than desirable circumstances, each can be viewed and handled differently from one person to the next. The key is that person’s outlook. Here are a few strategies to help you navigate uncertain times.

  • Maintain a positive attitude. There are people who see the glass half full in all situations and others who see it as half empty. You have a choice about how you view what occurs in your life and that choice determines how you will transition through a tragic experience.
  • Don’t assume the role of victim. When a tragedy occurs, you may believe that you are a “victim of circumstance” and that this will be your lot in life. You think that you will never recover. But you have the power to change the situation. No matter how devastating a circumstance, you have the power to get through it. You are not a victim.
  • See the blessings in any situation. You know the old saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. We all can turn pain into something positive. Some people create a charity from the loss of a child, others write books based on their experience, while others make necessary life changes such as getting sober. Tragedy has the power to transform you and it provides hidden blessings if you take the time to look for them.
  • Reach out to friends and loved ones and express your feelings. Isolation can make the situation worse. Hurt, fear, sadness, grief, are all normal emotions, and they should be felt and expressed. A true friend would want to know what is going on in your life. It is never too much to tell someone that you are in trouble and need help. You should never be ashamed!
  • Empower yourself through education. If you cannot get going by yourself. Read books and seek information that can help you feel stronger and more in control. 
  • Seek professional assistance. If you are overwhelmed, depressed, or have suicidal thoughts, find a professional who can provide insight or a new perspective about the situation.
  • Don’t allow someone to make you feel “less than” because you are in pain. Everyone heals in their own time, there is no right or wrong way, and there is no timetable.

Remember, how you experience your life comes from how you view what you experience. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”