Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tips For Overcoming Sorrow

CAPTION: "Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army"

There will be times in our lives when things beyond our control will deeply affect us. It could be the loss of a loved one, a divorce, a financial crisis, being on the receiving end of abuse or even a loss of employment. When these things come our way they can be emotionally devastating.

Having gone through my share of hardship, I have come up with a list of things that someone can do to navigate through the storm.

1. Take time to love yourself. More specifically, remember who you really are and celebrate that. So many times when we go through a difficult time we become our worst enemy. We may criticize ourselves or label ourselves and drift right into a depression. Our circumstances do not make us who we are. Reading affirmations out loud and meditating on them can be very uplifting and empowering. You may even want to draw your affirmations if you are a creative type. Being able to see your affirmation before you every morning and throughout the day can do wonders.

Loving yourself means being compassionate with yourself. Some things you can do is give yourself understanding and empathy and practice self-care. Self-care may look like a bubble bath, treating yourself to a massage, exercise, going out with a friend, seeing a movie, being in nature, reading, listening to music, etc.

2. Have faith in yourself. By practicing #1 (self-love) it will be easier to tap into your full potential. This is key because we have the resources to make life better than it is. But if we do not believe in ourselves we will miss out. Your are unique and have unlimited potential. Allow yourself to dream of what you want to do and envision doing it. Now you will be moving toward something instead of standing still in the storm.

Self love is "faith in our own self, our inner potential," Swami Amritaswarupananda states in his book The Color of the Rainbow. "We are here to accomplish something no one else can do. Without us, there will be a gap in the universe. The universe will miss us. Be convinced of this."

3. Find a friend or mentor who can come along for the journey until you get through the storm. It could be a counselor, pastor, life coach, therapist or a healthy friend. This person should give you the space to talk and listen intently. He or she should believe in your potential and encourage you in a healthy and positive way.

4. Celebrate all the good things in your life. Practice writing a gratitude list and including what needs of yours were met by each item on the list. Do things to celebrate accomplishments in your life and the lives of others. Contentment can be found when we focus on what we have and appreciate it. It is when we get obsessed with what we don't have that we become discontent.

5. Find meaning in what is going on around you. After having our car slid on black ice and crashing into a tree my 10 year-old son said, "Everything happens for a reason." If we can learn from the situation and see a greater purpose we can move forward and do something with it to impact our world. Amritaswarupananda writes, "Life's pains are not to weaken us but to awaken us. Sorrows are not to make us feel sad or depressed but to help us become more aware. Failures are not to stop us but to unleash our inner power."

Another thing to keep in mind is to try to learn from the situation. Amritaswarupandanda states, "One point to keep in mind is that every occurrence, no matter whether if it is inner or outer, has a center, a heart."

If we can find the heart, the deep longing of the life force and the message the universe is trying to give us, then we will be better for it and so will the world. Or as Charlie Chaplin once said, "To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it!"

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