How to Handle Bad News (Bombshells and Eggshells)
Bombshells are usually dropped when we least expect them and feel the least capable of handling them.
It can be a text, phone call or the dreaded knock on the door. Maybe you lost your job, had someone end a relationship, got a bad medical report, or one of your kids got in trouble. It could be a rejection (or several) in pursuit of a dream or goal.
We have little choices when it comes to receiving bad news, but we certainly have choices in how we deal with it.
Here are some of my suggestions.
Not everyone has a full-on panic attack when bad things happen, but most of us do have a physical reaction. We feel anxious, sad, and maybe even all alone. Fear shows up almost immediately.
Take a few minutes to just breathe. Shut out the rest of the world, even the current news, and focus on clearing your mind. Deep breathing has many benefits for the body, including helping with stress relief.
Don’t Be Impulsive
Part of the adrenaline surge that comes when we hear bad news makes us want to react immediately. Resist that urge. Do not do or say anything on impulse.
If a decision is required right away, make sure you take a few minutes to think through the process. If a decision can wait; then wait.
Be careful not to jump to the worst-case scenario. This will not do you, or the situation any good or bring any comfort. This brings us to the next point.
Seek The Truth
While you don’t want to assume the worse, you do want to know the truth. Depending on who presented you with the bombshell, they may not be the best person for all the facts.
Make sure you go to the source to find out the truth and all the surrounding details. The best course of action cannot be applied until all the facts are out in the open.
Here is where the eggshells come in. It is not always easy dealing with the truth. Do not shoot the messenger just because they tell you something you don’t want to hear. And when the facts involve another party, be very careful with how you handle them.
Don’t spread gossip. Don’t show up demanding answers. Your bad news may also be someone else’s bad news. Now is not the time to make the situation more difficult.
Go easy on yourself and anyone else involved.
Don’t Compare Your Pain To Others
We develop coping skills as we go through life. Some of us are better at it than others. Just because someone doesn’t put their feelings on display doesn’t mean they don’t have any.
Your pain and your experiences are unique to you. You are allowed to own them and work through them. You can request others to give you the time and space to handle the business at hand, but you should not judge how anyone else handles theirs.
Regardless of how alone you may feel at the moment, I’m willing to bet, you aren’t really alone. And it is OK to ask for help.
Prayer is a good place to start. Pray for guidance. Pray for peace. Pray for anyone else involved. Pray for the wisdom to understand this is a bump in the road and not the end of it. Pray for comfort.
Talk to someone. It could be a counselor or professional. Maybe you need a doctor. This could be a good time to sit down with a friend. You may need your family around you for support.
Whatever you need, don’t be afraid to ask. There are those around you who are willing and ready to be there for you. Give them the chance to be your rock.
Develop a Plan/Work the Plan
After you have sat still a minute, gathered your thoughts, discovered the facts, and asked for help, it is now time to put together a plan. And that can take shape in many different ways.
You may need time to grieve a loss. You may need to make important decisions regarding your life, or those of your child. You may need to face hard facts about a disappointment and go in a new direction.
The one thing you must not do is give up. Every bombshell that drops in your path can be overcome. It’s not a race and it is not a contest. You just have to keep moving forward.
And here are some more eggshells. Everyone will not like your plan. And that's OK. If you have sought wisdom and done due diligence and are comfortable with your forward path, then proceed.
It may be necessary to explain certain decisions, but at some point, you must recognize you will not please everyone. Do what is best for you and/or your family.
Bombshells and Eggshells
We never know when the next bombshell is going to fall. Life has a way of surprising us. But with the tools described here, you can be better equipped to handle bad news when it comes your way.
It will also do you good to remember that others may be affected by what you are going through as well. You can be sensitive to their position and feelings without sacrificing your own.
My Hopefuls, I wish for all of you the grace and wisdom to handle the disappointments and distressing news that is bound to rear its head from time to time.
I believe in your ability to prevail.
I believe in your ability to be strong.
I believe in your ability to....
Hope With Abandon
J. Hope Suis
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