© Michelle Chan
Have you ever felt down or seen someone else feel down? Thinking back, what did people say to you, or what did you say to them?
People frequently say, "It happened for a reason" in an effort to comfort someone going through a difficult situation. However, is it really that comforting? Maybe. Maybe in some cases? Or to some people more than others?
When someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, finds out his/her romantic partner had an affair, is in a situation where abuse is occurring, is going through grief or loss, etc., are examples of times when "It happened for a reason" is anything but comforting. So why do we or others say these things to one another?
Because quite frankly, many of us have no idea what to say!
When terrible things happen to us or those we love, it can be extremely difficult for us to come to terms with the fact that we do not have as much control over our lives as we like to believe. So, we might come up with a "reason" as to maybe why it was "meant to be," that a higher purpose will reveal itself later on, or we may even blame ourselves or others for what has happened to us or them.
As difficult as it may be to say and/or believe, sometimes things just happen. "Good things" can happen to "bad people" and "bad things" can happen to "good people." It's not fair and it sucks. It's how we react and the path that we choose afterwards that will shape us, our future, and how the matter gets handled.
So what's one thing we can do in the mean time as we go through these difficult times? Seek help and support from someone you trust, whether it be a family member, a friend, a teacher, a school counselor, a coworker, a primary care doctor, a therapist. Anyone! Find someone who you feel comfortable with and can trust! While it may be difficult to reach out for help, it is much better than you having to go through things alone. No one should have to feel alone, especially when they're going through a rough time.
What can you do or say to a loved one who is going through a tough period in their life? Be present while lending an empathetic ear. How do you do that? Listen without judgment by trying to understand what that person is saying from his/her perspective. Sometimes, that's all someone really wants/needs. But of course, if there is a safety concern (e.g. abuse, domestic violence), be sure to help them seek out the professional help that he/she may need.
Have questions or concerns on whether or not you or someone you love is in need of professional help or support? Feel free to contact me to see if I can be of any assistance!
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller