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Coping with Bad News

Being a Bahá’í doesn’t exempt us from bad things happening in our lives:

. . . poverty, disease, bereavement, – they seem to be part of the polish God employs to make us finer, and enable us to reflect more of His attributes!  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 604)

Let’s face the facts: life is full of both good and bad surprises. You can’t live your life worried about bad news, otherwise you’ll paralyze yourself in fear. Instead, you need to become more resilient and learn how to expect the unexpected.

You really can learn how to cope with unexpected news and become a stronger, more confident person in times of pressure.

Let’s go through some ways to make coping with the unexpected easier.

Expect the Unexpected

Have you ever gotten a call from a friend who cancels a get-together you were looking forward to? This is an extremely trivial example of unexpected news, but it represents what we all deal with on a daily basis.

You may feel disappointed or frustrated, especially if you spent time preparing for the event, but you have two choices: detach from your expectations, move on and make the best of the day, or take offence and allow it to sour your mood and hold you back.

Ask yourself: what do you typically do when you encounter the unexpected?

Well, instead of allowing the change of plans to ruin your day, try to get your mind busy onto something else. Is there a fun activity that you can do at home? Is there something you can do for yourself or your family? You can choose to make the best of things by recognizing the hand of God at work and turning the unexpected into a new opportunity.

Build a Solid Support System

Another way to deal with unexpected news is to turn to your support system. Bad news can come with great pain. If you get the news that someone has passed away, for example, this is something that is going to cause you deep pain and suffering. Of course, it’s normal to feel these very real emotions.

In these times it is important for you to turn to those around you for support. You may need someone to talk to, someone to cry with, or even a helping hand. It’s crucial that surround yourself with positive influences instead of isolating yourself.

Indeed the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on each other’s love for strength and consolation in time of need. The Cause of God is endowed with tremendous powers, and the reason the believers do not gain more from it is because they have not learned to fully draw on these mighty forces of love and strength and harmony generated by the Faith . . .  (Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 41)

Using the Power of the Mind to Cope with Bad News

Positive affirmations are another way that you can cope with unexpected news. Affirmations are concise statements that you can use to help you think in a more positive manner.

When bad news is overwhelming you and you don’t know how to cope, you can stop and say:

·I lay all my affairs in thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my refuge.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers (New American Prayer Book), p. 119.)

·I have renounced my desire for Thy desire, O my God, and my will for the revelation of Thy Will. (Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 37-38.)

·Let my movement and my stillness be wholly directed by Thee. (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 240.)

·I will be a happy and joyful being. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers (New American Prayer Book), p.119.

·I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me.(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers (New American Prayer Book), p.119.)

·I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers (New American Prayer Book), p.119.)

·Confidence and assurance, hope and optimism are my prerogative. (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 225.)

·· This will soon pass. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Vol. 12, No. 181, p. 280.)

When you say these phrases aloud, you’re reaffirming the statement in your mind and you’re re-focusing your energy on solutions, instead of worries. Whether you believe it or not, words have power. Repeating these affirmations may console you and remind you about your strength during difficult situations.

When you use positive affirmations and the other coping techniques mentioned, you will find that you are more confident to deal with whatever life throws your way. Remember, it’s okay to be afraid of uncertainty, but you can equip yourself with the tools, techniques, and support system to overcome any obstacle, challenge, or situation.

What helps you cope with bad news?Post your comments below.