I'm having a hard time with this shooting in Orlando and wondering if you have any suggestions to processing the feelings this is bringing up and helping those in my family who are really upset to work through it. Do you have some advice?
When horrible things like the Orlando shootings happen, we find ourselves asking questions like, "How do I even process this horrific event? Why do things like this happen? Could this happen to us?" You and your family may experience a wide variety of emotions, things like anger, sadness, discouragement or fear.
Here are some ideas that might help you and your family members process what you are feeling around this tragedy and do something constructive in response:
I’ve noticed when tragedy strikes it upsets me, but it also increases my love for people (even people I don’t know). I suddenly discover my love for my fellow human beings, and it is always much deeper than I realized.
As you process the painful, sad emotions this week, also watch for unexpected tender feelings of love, both toward the people who were hurt and toward your friends, family and even strangers. This heightened sense of love is an amazing and beautiful thing and it is a good thing to focus on.
Think back to the months following 9/11. Do you remember how connected you felt to your fellow Americans? Do you remember how suddenly our differences seemed smaller and the things we had in common seemed bigger? Let this happen to you this week. Focus on your love for your fellow human beings.
To honor those whose lives have been cut short this week, let’s make the most of our lives and fill the world with love on their behalf.
We can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
This article was first published on KSL.comIn this edition of LIFEadvice, I’d like to address the tragic death of three young missionaries this weekend, Sister Nancy Vea, 19, of West Jordan, Elder Connor Benjamin Thredgold, of the Springville Utah West Stake, and Elder Yu Peng Xiong, of the Kaohsiung Taiwan West Stake.
(This has hit close to home for me, since Connor’s father is a dear friend, a Claritypoint coach and even a co-contributor to this column.)
My heart is aching for these families, as I am sure your's is, so I’d like to address some ideas that may help us make sense of it all, find a place of trust and peace, and if possible, let this tragedy change us for the better.
First, always remember the objective of life is to learn to love. As I always say, "Life is a Classroom," and every experience you have is to teach you to love yourself and other people at a deeper level. You do not go through painful experiences for nothing. There are no accidents, and everything happens for a reason to serve us, but some of these lessons are so extremely painful, and the loss of a child is one of the worst.
Sometimes when tragedy strikes we can see the meaning or purpose in the experience, but other times we can’t. It will always provide some measure of comfort though, if we choose to trust God that there is a reason, even if we can’t see it. We can trust that nothing will happen unless it will serve us or mankind in some way. I trust God has a reason that these three young people were called home so early. Though this doesn’t remove the pain, it can help a little.
I felt these same feelings after the Sandy Hook shooting, and I wondered what good children dying could possibly serve in the world. One thing I noticed in the days following that tragedy was a heightened sense of love for the people around me, and I noticed almost everyone was feeling it.
We were all holding our children a little closer and had a greater appreciation for our family and friends. The experience of loss was changing us. It was bringing strong feelings of love to the surface.
Along with the pain, during times of grieving, we also experience amazing, tender feelings of love, both toward the people who are gone and just toward the people around us. You might find your feelings of love for family and friends will be stronger than what you usually feel. This heightened sense of love, which always follows loss, is an amazing and beautiful thing.
You may even find it is easier to forgive old offenses or grievances while you are experiencing the unique love associated with loss. Things that mattered before may not seem to matter anymore. People may seem more important than issues, and it may seem easier to see the good than the bad.
When tragedy strikes, we are reminded of the connection we share with all our fellow human beings. We gain heightened levels of empathy and compassion for others. Think back to the months following 9/11. Do you remember how connected you felt to your fellow Americans? Do you remember how suddenly our differences seemed smaller and the things we had in common seemed bigger?
We all experience a deeper love for each other when tragic things happen. Could this be part of the reason?
When the loss is personal or has happened to someone you know, you will experience amazing feelings of love toward that person you didn’t realize you had at that depth. If this loss hadn’t happened, you may never have discovered the depth of your love. You may be curious as to what this poignant emotion is all about. Just sit with it and understand it is showing you the size of the love inside of you. Pay attention to this feeling. Remember that the pain of loss is inseparably tied to the wonder of love.
If you didn’t love so deeply, it wouldn’t hurt this much.
Take time when you feel pain for these young people and their families to remember the pain is tied to the love we have for each other as human beings, a community and families. Celebrate the fact that you can experience profound love this way. Isn’t it amazing to feel that you would gladly carry this pain for them if you could. Your love is amazing!
The power of our combined love and heightened sense of connection can create an amazing energy that will help to heal us. This is always felt at funerals as we gather together in loss. Also notice, in each moment, that you can focus on the pain or you can focus on the love. As much as you can, choose to focus on love and understand that the pain makes the depth of love possible.
We often get so busy with the duties and obligations of life, we forget about this deep love that connects us. It often gets set aside. Tragedy, though terrible and painful, can bring these feelings of love back into your life. My suggestion, in this time of tragedy, is simply this: Focus on the feelings of love and live them. Love everyone in your life, in whatever way you can. Treasure every moment you are alive and able to love. Make sure everyone in your life knows how you feel about them.
In honor of those whose lives have been cut short this week, let’s make the most of ours and fill the world with love on their behalf.
Honor them by showing a deeper appreciation for your spouse, children, friends and neighbors. Speak out against injustice and cruelty more often. Love people more passionately and take more action to alleviate suffering wherever you can.
Let this loss make us better, kinder, wiser and more loving.
Aron Moss wrote a wonderful article on this topic in which he explains, ”We don't really want answers, we don't want explanations, and we don't want closure. … We want an end to suffering … but we shouldn't leave it up to God to alleviate suffering. … He is waiting for us to do it. That's what we are here for.”
Honor the memory of those we have lost by being a force for love in this world. Perform more random acts of kindness, pay it forward more often and love the strangers all around you. Don’t wait for someone to ask for help, see the need and step in without being asked. Reach out to those who are suffering even if all you can offer is a hug.
You can do this — and we can do it together.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a coach and speaker.
People all across Utah, Washington and the entire country have been in a state of shock and grief since the news broke that Josh Powell killed himself and his children in a heinous manner Sunday afternoon.
People have found themselves asking, How do I process these horrific events? Why do things like this happen?
There are some principles which might help you to make sense of it all, find a place of trust and peace, and let this experience change you for the better.
You must first understand the nature of life and why bad things happen.
Principle: The objective of being here is to grow and learn.
Life is a classroom and every experience is here to teach you something. Often the more terrible the experience, the greater the lesson. For me personally, I have felt a deeper appreciation for my spouse and children this week. I have a greater understanding about the depth of my love for them.
I’ve also discovered that my love for people (even people I don’t know) is deeper than I realized. I ache for the Cox family, and it is a beautiful thing to feel the depth of my love for my fellow human beings.
Principle: We have free agency.
In order for life to be a perfect classroom we must have free agency. For free agency to exist, evil has to exist. If the universe interfered or thwarted every evil act from happening, there would be no agency.
We are here to have a full good-and-evil learning experience, and that requires people being able to make terrible choices. It is what we signed up for (even though we don't remember doing it). This is the nature of this life, and we chose to trust that the universe has a plan and purpose for it all.
Principle: We cannot see the answer to why this happened, and we aren’t supposed to.
If we were supposed to understand why this tragedy had to happen, then we would. So I assume the universe has a reason for keeping us in the dark. I have also come to believe that maybe we are better off not knowing, and here is why.
Right now you are truly, deeply bothered by these horrible events — as you should be. If you understood the reason why this had to happen, if the mystery was solved and you got the answer, you might make peace with the horror of the situation. You might not be so appalled by it.
That may be even worse than what you are experiencing now. Watching this kind of evil and not being moved to tears by the horror of it — not questioning and feeling pain — would take away what makes you human.
Aron Moss wrote a wonderful article on this topic in which he explains, “Worse than innocent people suffering is others watching their suffering unmoved. And that's exactly what would happen if we were to understand why innocents suffer. We would no longer be bothered by their cry, we would no longer feel their pain, because we would understand why it is happening.”
Moss said, “Imagine you are in a hospital and you hear a woman screaming with pain. Outside her room, her family is standing around chatting, all smiling and happy. You scream at them, 'What's wrong with you? Can't you hear how much pain she is in?' They answer, 'This is the delivery ward. She is having a baby.' When you have an explanation, the pain doesn't seem so bad anymore. We can tolerate suffering when we know why it is happening."
But we are not meant to tolerate suffering.
If you understood the reason you might rationalize the horrible things and be OK with watching it happen. But as long as that question remains unanswered, you will strongly abhor evil things.
I think the question isn’t why do bad things happen to innocent people; the question is, more aptly, what do we do when horrific bad things happen to innocent people?
Principle: We are always better off choosing trust.
Chose an attitude of trust. It makes a huge difference in how you process these events. Trust the universe that it knows what it's doing. Choose to believe that even the things we can’t understand serve us for good somehow. Trusting brings peace.
Let these events make you a better, kinder and more loving person. Instead of trying to answer unanswerable questions, turn your grief into a force for good in your home and community.
Speak out against injustice and cruelty more often. Love people more passionately and take action to alleviate suffering wherever you can.
I love this statement by Moss: ”We don't really want answers, we don't want explanations, and we don't want closure… We want an end to suffering... but we [shouldn't] leave it up to God to alleviate suffering… He is waiting for us to do it. That's what we are here for.”
If you want to honor the memory of the innocent children lost in these horrific circumstances, then be a force for love in your world. Perform more random acts of kindness, pay it forward more often, and love the strangers all around you the way you love the Cox family and their grandsons today.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker. Watch Kim on KSL TV every Monday 6:15 a.m. Read her blog on KSL Today's webpage.
When you see a story of tragedy and loss on the news, it can touch your heart in a profound way. When you know the people involved, the tragedy and the pain become very personal.
These experiences of loss change your world. The world is a different place without that person in it, and there is great pain associated with that reality.
Along with the pain, during these times of grieving, you will also experience tender feelings of love, both toward the people who are gone and toward the people around you.
Your feelings of love for family and friends will be more poignant and heartfelt than the love you usually feel. You may feel prompted to express these feelings more freely.
This heightened sense of love, which follows experiences of tragedy, is an amazing and beautiful thing and it can often change how you feel about many of the people in your life.
Many people find that forgiveness is easier while they are experiencing the unique love associated with losing a loved one. Things that mattered before may not seem to matter any more. People may seem more important than issues and it may seem easier to see the good than the bad in the people around you.
Tragedy brings with it deep feelings of love for all the people in your life.
Think back to the months following 9/11. Do you remember how connected you felt to your fellow Americans? Do you remember how suddenly our differences seemed smaller and the things we had in common seemed bigger?
Think about the sense of connection you felt toward the miners in Chile or the people of Japan after the earthquake and tsunami. We all experienced a deeper love for our fellow human beings during these events.
When tragedy strikes, you experience more love for your fellow human beings. You are reminded of the connection we share and the value of your relationships in general.
When someone you know dies, even if it is just an acquaintance or someone you met only a few times, it is still a deeply personal loss and the feelings of love for that person and others are very real.
You may experience feelings of love toward this person you didn’t realize you had. You may be puzzled at the depth to which the loss is affecting you. You may be curious as to what this poignant emotion is all about.
It is about the expression of the love inside of you.
The raw emotion you feel while grieving is an expression of your love for all the people in your life.
Pay attention to this feeling — it is amazing and beautiful. Remember that the pain of loss is tied to the wonder of love. If you didn’t love so deeply, it wouldn’t hurt this much.
Celebrate the love.
Celebrate the fact that you can experience love in this way.
Funerals can be a wonderful experience because we gather in sadness, but also in love for the deceased and each other. The power of our combined love and heightened sense of connection create an amazing spirit there that heals us and comforts us like no other experience can.
When you are in this place, pay attention to what you are feeling.
Sit with your emotions a bit, and let yourself feel the wonder of love.
In Russ Njust’s new novel, "The Alabaster Garden," he writes, “In our struggles to know, to obtain and to become more than we believe we are, many of us have lost sight of our kinship to all life. We have thereby lost touch with the one thing in our beings that truly sees everything in the light of love.”
We often get so busy with the duties and obligations of life, we forget about the deep love that connects us. It often gets set aside.
Tragedy, though terrible and painful, can bring these feelings of love back into your life.
My suggestion, in times of tragedy, is simply this: Focus on the feelings of love and love deeply! Love everyone in your life, in whatever way you can. Treasure every moment you are alive and able to love. Make sure everyone in your life knows how you feel about them and be the love everywhere you go.
In honor of those whose lives have been cut short this week, let’s make the most of ours and fill the world with love on their behalf.
This article is dedicated to Chad Wade and Justin Yates, who died in a tragic plane crash this week. Thank you for giving us a chance to experience love at such a deep and tender level my friends, we will never forget you.
Kimberly Sayer Giles is the founder and president of LDS Life Coaching and www.claritypointcoaching.com and was named one of the top 20 Advice Guru's in the country by GMA. She is a popular speaker and life coach who resides in Bountiful, Utah.
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and is a
popular life coach, author and speaker. She was named
one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly
on local and national TV and Radio.