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How to Offer your Sympathies Following a Bereavement

How to Offer your Sympathies Following a Bereavement
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    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 September 20, 2018

    7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

    7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

    What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

    For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

    It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

    1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

    The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

    What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

    The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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    2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

    Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

    How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

    If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

    Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

    3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

    Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

    If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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    These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

    What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

    4. What are my goals in life?

    Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

    Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

    5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

    Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

    Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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    You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

    Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

    6. What do I not like to do?

    An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

    What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

    Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

    The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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    7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

    Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

    But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

    “What do I want to do with my life?”

    So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

    Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

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