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What You Need to Remember to Deal With Loss in Life

What You Need to Remember to Deal With Loss in Life

Unfortunately, we all deal with loss in life. No matter what form or severity, coping is rarely easy. The lack of healthy coping measures can exacerbate the pain, especially when the loss is as drastic as a loved one dying.

There are some crucial things to remember when dealing with loss. A good place to start is understanding that…

You’ll never completely get over your loss. Instead, you’ll adapt, learn, and become a stronger you.

It is difficult to relate to any kind of pain. Even if there are similarities between occurrences, everyone deals with pain differently.

That’s okay. There’s no “correct” or “appropriate” timetable towards healing. Everyone’s will be different. Friends and family may encourage you to “get over it” by occupying your mind and staying busy. While healthy distraction is positive (as I’ll elaborate on in a bit), there’s no need to rush how you think you should feel. Your feelings are meant to be felt as they occur in the moment and no one else knows them better than you. Cry if you want to. Scream if you want to. Flail your arms madly in the air if you want to.

Be kind to your mind and realize that there is no “normal” when it comes to dealing with loss. Plus…

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It’s okay to not want to talk about it.

Again, everyone handles pain in a different way. Many experience a “roller coaster” effect of feelings, where your emotions vary from day to day, or even minute to minute. One moment could feel like the healing process is working, the next could feel like a deeper regression into sadness. There will be days that you feel like going out and about with friends and days where you won’t feel like emerging from the pillow fortress in your bedroom. These varying emotions are also okay, but listen to them attentively. There’s no need to pressure yourself into coping in a way you think is “proper” because “everyone else does it that way”.

Do what you feel is right and when you finally feel up to chatting about it, remember that…

Your friends are friends for a reason. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them.

Many of us do not voluntarily ask for help when faced with uncomfortable struggle. We all consider it a burden to our friends, family, and other counterparts when we ask for help. When the shoe is on the other foot, and friends ask us for help; there is no false sense of burden. Even if your friends are not well versed in loss or particularly gifted at giving advice, they will always listen. Even the worst friend has two ears (in most cases). If you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to put your guard down and open up about your pain, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same.

Also, it’s a really nice reminder that there are people who will always have your back, because…

Opening up doesn’t make you weak.

I’m an eternal optimist, almost to a fault. Despite that, I understand that life just flat out sucks at times. And, frankly, there won’t be a suckier time in any of our lives than when we deal with loss or death. It will be the low of the low for most of us. But, as previously mentioned, it’s unavoidable. Embracing your feelings honestly and being willing to talk about them is the first step towards healing and empowerment. Emotions are a lot like a bad infection: You can pretend it’s not there, but it’ll get a lot worse before it ever gets better. Spiritual strength and emotional growth happen when we don’t hide from our feelings, but learn to manage them.

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You can’t outrun pain. It’ll always catch up to you. So…

Be kind to your body.

When cloaked in a veil of darkness it’s easy to forget about personal hygiene and appropriate eating habits. Neglecting showering, eating, activity, and regular sleeping habits is detrimental on all fronts to your health and well being.

Activity of any kind takes your mind off the negative, so it’s especially smart to…

Do the things you love most.

There’s no easier and mentally healthier way to remind yourself that good things still exist than doing things you truly love. It doesn’t matter what it is, staying active towards your dreams and immersed in your deepest desires will do wonders when dealing with loss. Wouldn’t your lost loved one still want you to keep doing the things that make you happiest?

But if you suddenly lose interest in a passion, why not…

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Explore something new.

Travel. Cook. Try a new hobby. Take some time off “work” to work on yourself. Even if it’s just exploring a new neighborhood or trying a new food, incorporating new stimuli to your environment will keep things fresh and remind you that there is a lot of life to still experience. My grandma (may she rest in peace) always used to tell me, “Life is for the living.” Some of the most substantial breakthrough moments exist slightly outside of your comfort zone.

Don’t be afraid to explore that, even if you’re in pain. But whatever you do, I strongly encourage that you…

Don’t mask your pain in external variables, particularly substances.

There’s an idiotic association in our culture of sadness and substance abuse. In film, television, and other mass medias, we see characters who’re experiencing death or heartbreak drinking heavily in some dank bar alone or getting wasted on heroin in a back alley. This has effectively desensitized us to the real life threat of alcoholism that can be kick started by a tragic life experience. Many people mask their pain in drugs or alcohol, but it never works. It has literally a zero chance of successfully helping you cope. Your problems are still very real when the high wears off, and the high always fades. Don’t prolong your grieving process. You deserve more.

Instead of looking at as a means to an end, remind yourself that…

You’re a richer person because of them.

Instead of dwelling on memories of yesteryear, be thankful in reminiscence that you had them in your life. Cherish the memories instead of refusing to let go of them. Celebrate their life by continuing their legacy and making them proud. Do good by them by celebrating their life more, opposed to constantly mourning their death. It’s good to be thankful for the time and memories you shared together.

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Because when you really get down to it…

The end of anything is a new beginning.

Stories end, relationships end, personal preferences end. No matter what ends, we always go on. Whether still in mortality, or something ethereal beyond our comprehension, there’s always more to be written of your story…

Featured photo credit: Calmly / Hiroyuki Takeda via albumarium.com

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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