One thing we cannot protect ourselves from is receiving bad news. Whilst news of ill-receipt varies wildly from minor things that cause us to have to adjust to major grief-issuing trauma, we can most effectively cater for it though a compensating plan.
This is about saving enough good things to do to divert our incoming dejection.
It’s about retaining balance at the level of the heart and mind—a protective measure.
Whenever we’re given bad news, wisdom should say, “Find something nice to balance the cost of this.” It’s even better to plan for it now.
This is a coping mechanism that neither denies the bad news reality nor leaves us stranded for something to do.
C Planning is a key and it’s as simple as taking a little time out to brainstorm the things you like to both think about and do—before the hard times strike.
C Look for signs of depressive responses, being aware of when and how they come.
C Developing a philosophy for surviving hardship is a good thing to do, for when those times come we can shift into that automatic pilot and find relative sanctuary. Most times such philosophies are Bible verses or similar that give us strength and ground us in truth.
C Items for our good plan can be reminding ourselves of the importance of humour (however hard that is at the time), and the activities we like to do when things are fine. Given that our experience of them in sadness may transform the meaning of the compensating event, we therefore need to...
C Be open to new things that the mind suggests. The speaking of the Spirit on these occasions comes more implicitly than we realise.
What we need for bad news is a good plan that helps steady the crashing waves at the shores of our hearts. Planning helps, but most keenly this is about doing something in the pit of sadness to reconcile the moment. That takes a courageous humility, with wisdom, to know and do what’s best.
A hard veneer of hope—much like mustard seed faith (Matthew 17:20)—is all we need to get through hell at times. Just enough to get through. This holds us true for the tremulous moment and saves us for better times which are surely coming.
Resilience is a break-glass facility. We only need it when we need it, and surely a hammer is all we require at these times; to smash the glass at the time of bad news so as to retrieve a good plan to help cope with it.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.