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3 Ways to Support Your Loved Ones Through Tragedies

3 Ways to Support Your Loved Ones Through Tragedies

Life, like the ocean, is versatile. It is ever-changing and unpredictable – we might be amazed in a moment for its tranquility and peace, but intimidated the moment after for its storms and tantrums. It is from such unpredictability of life which gives us the capability to stay strong in the midst of adversity, and be sympathetic to the ones around you who are hit and overwhelmed by a tragedy because in a way, we feel that we understand each other.

Yet, it is often that this feeling of sympathy – or empathy – comes and goes. We care about the person who was affected by the tragedy, but we are unsure of how we are able to offer them our support without offending them. In the end, aside from saying “I’m sorry for your loss”, we have done little to make our friends, or family feel better. This brings us to the question: how can we sympathize and support our loved ones through tragic events?

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1. Listen to their stories.

Before anything – we need to sit down and listen to what they have to say because it is their stories instead of ours. By simply listening to their perspectives, stories and memories, we are giving them space and time to grieve, and gradually pick up the courage to stand up once again. We seem to be bounded by the idea that people who were wounded by a tragic event require our counselling and advice. Yet, more often than not, our advice sounds scathing, unhelpful and downright disrespectful. Our desire to help has sometimes, unknowingly and unconsciously, caused more pain to the victims instead of being truly helpful. If we really wish to be of any assistance, we must first disregard our opinions, hold back our comments, and lend them our shoulders and our ears. After all, it is them – and only them who could pick themselves up, recover, and grow even stronger than before. 

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2. Understand that there are more than tangible ways to contribute.

Sending a large bouquet of flowers is one way of showing your care. But it is equally, if not more meaningful to drive up to their house, give them a warm hug and really listen to them. Offering to help pick up the kids from school, or bringing some food over so they would not have to worry about making dinner are also good alternatives. We need to understand that both physical and mental support is crucial to the victims of tragedies – letting them know that they have the world behind them as they fall, grieving, and praying for them and their family would already make a huge difference.

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3. Accept that you could not care about everything about everyone.

It is important to note that above all, we are still humans. There is only so much we could care – before we crack. Diluting our empathy a thousandfold so we can listen to, understand, and grieve for everything that happens to every single person around us would only wear us down eventually, rendering us exhausted and wary. How can you inspire hope in others when you extinguish the one inside yourself? In the end, there are times when we could only let our loved ones be, and allow them to take care of themselves and move on.

The amount of sorrows in the world could be truly suffocating sometimes; but it is only in darkness when you see the brightest light, when the support from friends, family members and the community gives out the warmest glow. Simply be present as your loved ones fight through adversity, and you will be surprised at how much better they will fare.

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Eamon Suen

Student, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

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Last Updated on October 9, 2018

27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down

27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down

Who has never gone through some ups and downs in the life? But some people can feel better in a quicker way than others because they’ve found their own remedies to heal the bad feelings.

If you haven’t found yours, these ways will help you instantly feel better and ditch that negative self talk when you’re feeling bad about yourself:

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  1. Listen to the songs you loved when you were in high school or university, this will recall you of the old good times.
  2. Write something. Write down how you feel as a way to express your thoughts if you don’t feel like talking to anyone.
  3. Draw something. Draw anything you want because no one’s going to judge your drawing skills.
  4. Read the postcards or letters your friends or family sent you before, remind yourself there are people who always remember you.
  5. Silently think of a day or moment which you truly enjoyed and try to recapture that very first feeling. Was it the day of your graduation? The moment you traveled with your loved one?
  6. Take out your photo albums and go over your childhood photos.
  7. Cry when you feel like doing so. There’s nothing wrong with crying; cry out all your fear and stress and just face the truth after crying.
  8. Sing loudly like no one can hear you. Do you know that in Japan, people always sing karaoke to relieve stress?
  9. Cook a nice meal for yourself or for your family.
  10. Read your previous diary entries and look at your great memories.
  11. Dress up nicely to feel happier.
  12. Don’t stay in your bed! Get your laptop or a book and sit in a coffee place.
  13. Take a walk outside and feel the fresh air.
  14. Sweat yourself! Go jogging or play some sports.
  15. Pick up the musical instrument you used to play a lot and start to play it.
  16. Tidy up your desk or wardrobe, you’ll feel good that you’re being productive and actually doing something.
  17. Watch some funny videos, sure you can find a lot of them on Youtube.
  18. Eat something you like, be it a chocolate cake, or an ice-cream. Just please yourself with the flavour you like.
  19. Re-read your favorite book and write down the sentences or passages that you love.
  20. Watch a new movie, there must be a movie which you’ve always interested in but had no time to watch it.
  21. Do something nice that no one will notice, say picking up a rubbish in the street and throw it to a trash bin.
  22. Call your best friend and just talk whatever you want! Human beings are social animals after all, connecting with people close to you will make you feel better.
  23. Do voluntary work and help people in need, you’ll feel happy and satisfied.
  24. Get drunk with your close friends at home – a safe place for you to get drunk and get crazy. Let loose and have fun with your very close friends.
  25. Write an email or a note to a friend who you care about.
  26. Get out of your routine life and meet new friends. Get out of your comfort zone! Meeting new people can give you new inspirations in life.
  27. Look into the mirror and smile. Act like today’s already a wonderful day. How we act affects how we feel. It’s difficult to go on feeling sad if you’re trying to smile!

Remember:

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It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.  — Epictetus

If you want to feel better, change what you’re doing because obviously what you’re doing doesn’t make you happy!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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