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How Would YOU Handle Losing Everything?


The news has been filled with stories of tragedy and loss from hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and tornadoes. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their homes, their jobs—and in many cases—family members.


As tragic as it all is, it's inspiring to see just how strong and resilient people can be in the face of such loss.


Just how does one cope with disaster? What do you do when you've lost so much? How would YOU handle it?


Hopefully you'll never have to find out. But if you did find yourself the victim of a natural disaster, if you did lose your home and/or your business and had to start over, would you have the fortitude, would you have the skills and the attitude to pick up and rebuild?


Fortunately, I've never been a victim of such a tragedy. But more than once, I've had to start over with nothing. It matters not whether a devastating misfortune is of natural causes or the result of a divorce, business failure or life-threatening disease—it's never easy.


Most of us have had—or will have—to face a challenging hardship in our lifetime—perhaps more than one. It's not so much a matter of IF it will happen to us, but rather when.


And it's how we handle adversity that makes all the difference. We may not be able to prevent what happens to us, but we can determine what we do about it. They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And it's often YOU that determines whether you die, survive or thrive.


Here are five tips to use in overcoming tragedy.


This Too Shall Pass

Recognize that this is a temporary setback. You WILL get through it and you'll be OK. Your tragedy may feel like the end, but it's a big life, and you'll emerge from this stronger than before. Just don't lose hope.


Get Support
This is not the time to go it alone. In asking for help, you aren't demonstrating weakness. It's a strong and smart person who accepts help. When it's offered, take it. Give others the opportunity to be of service. Take advantage of services that are intended to help you.


Don't isolate. Talk to people. It takes time to grieve and mourn your losses. Give yourself that time and don't do it all alone.


Be Grateful

No, you don't have to be grateful FOR the tragedy, but you can be grateful IN the tragedy. If you focus only on what's wrong and painful, you will create more of that. In addition, you burn up valuable time and energy lamenting instead of being more resourceful about bettering your situation. By being grateful that you're still alive and that you will prevail, you're focusing on what you want instead of what you don't.


Take One Step at a Time
In order to avoid overwhelm, you must not take everything on at once. You have to focus on the task at hand and deal with each task one at a time. Take one day at a time. And  in some cases—one moment at a time.


Be Gentle with Yourself

It's easy to blame yourself or others for your predicament. But when you're fixing the blame, you're not helping to fix the problem. Give yourself a break. Don't get down on yourself, the government, God or anyone else.


In the end, your attitude toward what happened and how it will affect you will be a significant part of your recovery from any tragedy—big or small.


Related Article:

Top Ten Ways to Deal with Overwhelm

By Michael Angier





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Last Updated 10/14/2005