Treating yourself like you treat others

Lori Tschetter, CSW, Agnesian Bereavement Specialist

“When you stop worrying about what you cannot control, you have time to change the things you can control. And that changes everything.” - Marcandangel

It can happen at any time. One moment you think you have all the answers and life is “going your way.” The next, you are scrambling to make sense of the chaos. Often we say that we had “the best laid plans,” but we know that it can take just a moment to make those plans obsolete. So, what do you do when things are out of your control? How do you respond?

We find that when someone close to us dies, that our world goes on a tailspin. Life, as we have always known it, suddenly resembles something completely different. The death of a loved one requires us to reevaluate our understanding of the world around us and makes us question the role we now play in the world. Where do you even begin?

First, identify the things that you have no control over. What are the things that, no matter what you do, there is nothing you can do to impact their outcome? Bring recognition to those things, whether it be thinking about them, saying them out loud or writing them down. Take a moment to think about those things. They are real and deserve acknowledgement.

The next step, the hard part, is to then set those things aside. Give yourself permission to step away from those burdens. You have enough on your plate to deal with - it’s OK to walk away from something that you cannot control. Once that is done, turn your attention to things that you can control. Focus on those things that you are able to effectively make change to. Know that it is OK to ask for and accept help. Make sure that you utilize your support system effectively. Reach out to those whose strengths complement your weaknesses. Turn toward community resources and professionals who may be able to help and supplement your support system.

Most importantly, when everything feels out of your control, know that the one thing you can control is how you view things. No matter what happens, your thoughts and feelings are your own - nobody can change that or take that from you. Decide how you want to view things, and let that be your guide. And above all, give yourself compassion. Treat yourself as you would treat someone else in your shoes. Be understanding and take care of yourself - for you are worth it.

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