How to Offer your Sympathies Following a Bereavement

How to Offer your Sympathies Following a Bereavement

    When attending the funeral of someone we know, the thought of going up to express our condolences to the friends and relatives of the deceased can often fill us with apprehension – it’s not exactly the kind of experience we go through every day. However, with the right approach it can actually be a very inwardly rewarding experience. Here are a few pointers:

    • The words “I’m sorry for your loss” can sound like such a cliché if not said with meaning. Remember that when you do express your condolences, it will not be the words that matter, but the expression and concern on your face.
    • It doesn’t particularly matter if you never thought well the deceased during his or her lifetime – you can try to mentally “bury the hatchet” and remember any good qualities the person might have had. If that doesn’t work, try instead to empathise with what the dear ones of the deceased must be going through, and let your words stem from that instead.
    • Draw on any experiences of loss which you might have had yourself – it will help you empathise with and appreciate what the dear ones of the departed are going through.
    • Remember you won’t be an imposition. We always somehow seem to think that the dear ones of the deceased will be so wrapped up in their grief that any human contact will just be painful. This will be certainly true in some cases (and it will be very easy to see which) but on the whole, those who are grieving will be very happy to see people have showed up to give them support in their hour of suffering. Try to feel your presence there as a source of strength for the mourners to draw on.
    • It helps enormously if you can talk about the fond memories you have of the deceased and the good qualities they had. Everyone who attends has different recollections which reveal a facet of the person’s character, and they all add up to give a sense of who that person was – it helps people to feel that in a way the spirit of the person is still there.
    • Some people are better writers than they are talkers – a heartfelt message (or a poem, perhaps) left inside a card may just be picked up an read a month or a year later, and offer powerful consolation when it is most needed.
    • Most importantly – act from the heart. Funerals are a time when the best in human beings really comes to the fore – our feelings of kindness, empathy and concern which are often obscured in daily life. Try not to analyse too much what to say. If you can focus instead on staying in the heart then this better part of your nature will come forward and feel the right thing to say.

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    Last Updated on June 2, 2020

    10 Warning Signs of Low Self-Esteem and a Lack of Confidence

    10 Warning Signs of Low Self-Esteem and a Lack of Confidence

    Self-confidence can be defined as a belief in one’s abilities and maintaining a sense of competence. On the other hand, low self-confidence can be defined as a lack of faith in one’s abilities and competence.

    Self-confidence can fuel success, while low self-esteem can impede it. To avoid falling into patterns of low self-esteem and a lack of confidence, consult the following warning signs.

    1. Checking Your Phone While Alone in Social Situations

    You find yourself unable to sit still during social situations with little or no friends. Instead, you find yourself desperately checking your phone to appear more socially connected.

    Tip: Try exercising an affirmation such as “I am loved.”

    2. Backing Down During a Disagreement to Appease Another Person

    You find yourself backing down in conversation often; you negotiate your views so as to avoid conflict. You would rather avoid experiencing rocky waters than express yourself honestly.


    Tip: Try an affirmation such as “my opinion matters” or “I live authentically.”

    3. Unable to Leave the House Without Make-Up or Primping

    You gain a false sense of self-esteem from wearing make-up or primping. Instead of feeling self-esteem from within, you feel a need to primp in order to feel good about yourself.

    Tip: Try a daily “I am beautiful” affirmation.

    4. Taking Constructive Criticism Too Personally

    You tear up in the bathroom after a coworker gives you constructive criticism about your job performance; you wind up yelling at friends when they criticize your choice in a date. Instead of taking criticism objectively, you react emotionally.

    Tip: Try counting to 3 before responding to criticism.


    5. Afraid to Contribute Your Opinion in Conversation

    You find yourself second guessing what you want to say before you say it, instead of diving into conversation without a thought. You may find yourself stuttering and engaging in negative self-talk.

    Tip: Focus on your breath when you begin to second guess yourself to avoid over-thinking.

    6. Being Indecisive in the Midst of Simple Decisions

    You change your mind after coming to a simple decision, such as what activity to do with a friend or what food to eat. Then once you come to another decision, you change your mind over and over.

    Tip: Vocalize the affirmation “I am assertive and in control of my life.”

    7. Cannot Handle Genuine Compliments

    You reflect when someone pays you a genuine compliment, instead of graciously accepting the compliment.


    Tip: Practice the affirmation “I am worthy of love” or “I have many good qualities.”

    8. Giving up Too Soon

    You give up on your goals and dreams before you have hardly started. You lack confidence in your success, so you give up all together.

    Tip: Practice the affirmation “I am a success seeker, not a failure avoider.”

    9. Comparing Yourself With Others

    You pay extra attention to those you deem more successful than you, and let your own self-worth take a plummet as a result. Instead of focusing on your journey and your journey only, you constantly look at everyone else’s.

    Tip: Declare the affirmation “I am more than enough.”


    10. Slouching

    You display a low body stance: you do not stand tall, but instead let your body slouch downwards, sending the message that you are not proud of yourself.

    Tip: Take a few minutes each day to focus on your body posture. Take a look at these 10 Graphs That Help You Improve Posture In No Time.

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    Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via

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