In light of the recent random shootings here in the United States of America, I’d like to say a few words. Feel free to share them if you’d like.
First of all, my heart goes out to the victims, their families, their friends, their colleagues, and their classmates. This sort of senseless violence should have never happened in your lives, and I am truly sorry it ever did. I hope you will all find the necessary peace and acceptance to get through this tragedy. I can't even count how many times I have broken down in tears over these last few days. I don't personally know any of the victims of these tragedies, but it's still heart-breaking to only *begin* to *imagine* the pain that you all must be going through.
Second, I’d just like to put a word out there in case anyone out there is suffering from depression or thoughts of harming themselves or others.
If you’re mad at the world, try focusing on the good that happens in the world. Yes, we live in a truly screwed up world, but there are still good people out there. Why contribute to the negative or mar the innocent? Is that the type of reputation you want for yourself when you depart from this world? Find someone you can confide in – a family member, a counselor, a church leader, a best friend, or even just a random stranger with a listening ear.
If you don’t have anyone you believe you can trust in, go to a church or call a suicide hotline. 800-SUICIDE is a toll-free number for one here in the US. You can also find help at www.crisischat.org. It is also available 24/7, and all online. You might be able to find compassion and understanding in places you never thought of before.
If you’re mad at God, try atheism or agnosticism. If that won’t work for you, try searching for *something* within your belief system that would explain your concerns or try searching outside of your religion. Maybe you were misled by religion. Many have been over the years, and they went on to find peace and contentment in a new belief system. Just remember that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. Time and unforeseen occurrences happen to us all. It’s just the nature of the random acts of life.
If you’re mad at someone in particular, talk to them using calmly articulated words. If that isn’t an option, try the serenity prayer. Try writing them a letter that will never be sent to them. Move on with your life. Talk to a counselor to try to get past your anger. Having a “sounding board” to talk to can help you to gain a healthy perspective of the past, present, and future. A counselor can also guide you through the decision making process of dealing with removing an unhealthy relationship from your life or how to work through your issues together.
If you feel like you just can’t go on with your life, again, try calling a suicide hotline. If you don’t want to go on with your life, don’t take it out on those who still have so much to live for. Think of all those things they would want to live for. Couldn’t you picture yourself doing some of those things in the future?
If you feel unloved and like there isn’t anyone out there in the world who cares for you, get a dog or a cat. You will have instant unconditional love from someone who thinks you are the single most awesome person there ever was! If that dog or cat passes away, there isn’t a better way to get over the death of a pet than to get a new one. Though it might seem impossible at the time, you will fall in love with a new puppy or kitten. You will grow to love them just as much (if not more) than you loved your previous beloved pet. They won’t be the same as your previous pet, but you will grow to love them and the personality traits that make them unique. Pets can be incredibly therapeutic.
If you feel as though life will not get any better, you’re simply wrong. Unless you have a terminal illness, life will get better if you let it. Life is what you choose to make out of it. Even if you have a terminal illness, you can still make the best of your last few moments on this earth. Tell someone you love them. Tell someone how much they meant to your life. Make someone smile. Put forth some good deeds into the world, and watch it multiply.
If you feel as though your past keeps haunting you, just know that you are not defined by your past. Even if other people choose to judge you by your past mistakes, don’t judge yourself the same way. Prove who you are to yourself and others by doing things that would make someone important in your life – dead or alive, a relative, a friend, a teacher, or even just yourself – proud of what you’ve accomplished and how much you’ve grown as a person.
Seek help when you need it. If you have a loved one who suffers from these things, please do not ever give up trying to find them the help they need, and do not ever underestimate the troubles they are going through. It is not likely to be an easy thing to deal with. In fact, I could imagine it will be the hardest thing you've ever dealt with. Just remember this is one of those situations where you will always need to err on the side of caution. Be safe.
Remember that life always has and always will go on. This world won’t necessarily be a better place without you. Make a positive difference in someone’s life, and you just might find a sort of peace and fulfillment you believed was non-existent. Do you want to know the secret to live a happy life? It’s living a life without regrets. Regrets can mean a myriad of different things to different people – i.e. “I regret having kids when I was so young” “I regret not having kids when I was so young” or “I regret never telling them I loved them” or “I regret falling in love with them” – so figure out what you want out of your own life, and stop at nothing to make it happen. Sometimes it is impossible to avoid regrets, and that where the peace and acceptance have to fill those voids.
Live to fulfill these sagely wise words from one of the most unexpected sources of such wisdom: “Be excellent to each other.” – Bill, from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure