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Finding Happiness After Tragedy In Tunisia

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Following the terror attack in Tunisia, here is a message of hope for those seeking happiness again.

In the wake of the recent terrorist attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunisia, 21 people were left dead. This tragedy left families crippled in pain with a profound sense of loss, I suppose. And I imagine the rest of the country is very anxious right now as it searches for answers – concerned about the real possibility of future attacks. All of this left me thinking about how we can grow from tragedy.

Sometimes personal tragedy is the most difficult to move on from. The loss and pain felt when a loved one dies tragically can be debilitating. We ask why. We try to make sense of it all. The answers are not always forthcoming.

Answers are very important to those whose lives have been impacted by tragedy. However, very often, there are none and we become angry. Anger is understandable but we must find a way to heal and move forward in hope that things will get better with the conviction that everything happens for a reason – sometimes for reasons we may never understand.

Holding on to anger will keep us in the place of the tragedy; tethered to the pain that arose from it; it will deform our happiness and devour our dreams.

After a tragedy, it is important for us to move on. I have discovered that moving on means we accept that the tragedy has occurred, we look for a way to forgive, and we start to dream again. No, these are not always the easiest things to do but they are possible.

Once we have come to the place where we can accept it, we are well on our way to forgiveness and rebuilding. It all begins with the way we think. You may wonder, “How do I think positively after such a tragic event?” I am not suggesting that you deny your feelings of hurt and loss.

What I am saying is that we must also allow ourselves to believe: “I can make it. I will get through this. Things will get better.” And we must give these thoughts permission to motivate us enough to rebuild after tragedy.

I have also found that it is good to go through the experience of tragedy with others. Allow others to support you and to strengthen you. Withdrawing is never the best thing to do. It can send you to a place of fear and depression. Tragedy is never something that we should experience alone.

It is an opportunity for us to band together and give strength to each other. When we are in community, we receive the kind of support that helps us gain back our strength.

We can vent our emotions properly when we have the ears of others – because they are there to provide us with feedback and help us make sense of what we are feeling and thinking in the moment.

The virtue of hope is imperative for the rebuilding process. Hopelessness makes us helpless and helplessness destroys us further – an even bigger tragedy. Tragedy makes it hard to find happiness, but it is possible.

What exactly is hope and what does it look like? I would simply define hope as the ability to look forward in trust and faith in the face of misfortune.

Hope is daring and it takes courage. It requires you to say: “I am moving on. I am not going to look at the circumstances any more. I am going to work towards making my life better.”

Hope gives us the impetus to strive and to win. Hope motivates us to work towards a better tomorrow –  that one day things will get better. Hope brings healing and restoration. It is the engine that keeps us moving in the face of adversity. It is what makes us resilient.

We cannot allow ourselves to stay in a place of despair. We have to speak to ourselves and tell ourselves that things will work themselves out.

In the midst of our pain, we do not always think clearly or rationally and that is understandable. There are no judgments here. However, we must also be careful to look for that ray of light in the midst of the darkness that confronts us. And that ray of light is the power of hope.

Our strength and courage are often demonstrated in how well we bounce back after tragedy. It begins with a single decision to not allow tragedy to break our spirits.

For some of us, bouncing back might take the form of taking on new challenges; for others it might be doing something as a memoriam. Whatever you have to do, do not allow yourself to remain broken by tragedy.


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