What do you do when you hear something you didn’t want to hear?

What do you do when you hear something you didn’t want to hear?

The kind of news you hear where the doctor tells you, “You are going to be wanting to sit down for this.”

The moment you hear those words you know something bad is going to follow.

There is a pit in your stomach. You are praying, “Please God, don’t let it be as bad as I think it is.” The whole time you are waiting to hear this news. It feels like forever.

Then, you hear the news and all you want to do is cry. You may want to hit something. Running away feels like a good option.

Regardless, you have to digest the news.

There may be a time of shock. The shock will leave you in a brain fog. Your mind wants to figure out your next step, but all you can do is sit there dumbfounded. There is even a struggle to remember your own name. The weight of the news feels like it is crushing you.

Yet, you have to do something with what you just heard.

We all hear things that we didn't want to hear. What do you do after to hear it? How do you navigate through it? Contained here are a few tips you can use!

There have been several occasions that I have heard such news.

One of my earliest memories is with my sister. When my sister was first diagnosed with a brain tumor I thought it was a joke. I thought that there was no way that she could be that sick. There was a period of denial and anger. There was a time of morning.

They told us she was going to die. 6 was the number of times she was “suppose” to die. She never did die.  Hearing that she could have was a lot to bear.

That was a tough pill to swallow.

Now, let’s fast-forward many years.

Recently, a member of my family received some tough news. They will be in and out of a hospital for the next few years. This is until their condition improves. In reality, it may never improve.

It is a hard to swallow. It makes you want to pull your hair out!

We all hear things that we didn't want to hear. What do you do after to hear it? How do you navigate through it? Contained here are a few tips you can use!

Have you ever been there?

I am sure that it was hard for you. You may have been experiencing times of intense loneliness. There may have been times of confusion and fear. Maybe you went into a downward spiral of denial and pain.

I felt much of it.

My heart and mind were filled with anger, confusion, and pain.

I would stare off into space and wonder what was happening.

It made me feel alone.

What did you during this time?

Did you know what to do?

When you are walking through these situations it is hard to know what to do. You don’t know how you are going to handle the situation until you are in the situation. Only then can we see how we will handle it.

Sometimes we find that we are able to handle the situations better than we thought.

Other times we find out that we are way worse off.

Let me take the guessing game away. Here are 4 principals that I have gained through my experiences. They have helped me through some of the toughest times. I am positive that they will help you as well.

1. Take time to Process it.

You just heard some life changing news. What makes us think that we can just pick up and move on? When did we come to the conclusion that we aren’t affected by what we heard?

So let’s talk with some honesty.

When something life changing happens we need time to sit with it. We have to let the reality of the situation wash over us. Yes, it can be painful. The reality is often painful and at times cruel.

Recently, a family member was struggling with their illness. For many years I have downplayed the severity of the illness. Believing that they will be “ok” or that it isn’t “that bad” I lived a lie. I was caught up in a hyper-positive thinking process. Often times downplaying the reality of it.

Well, until recently that was me. The doctors gave some stark news that left me breathless. Sitting here I am still dealing with the news.

My problem? I have never stopped long enough to process the information.

I have many questions that I have never taken the time to ask. What does this illness mean for their future? What is my role in their healing and treatment? How do I help or hinder their progress? What does this mean for my family? How do I deal with this in a healthy manner? How do I feel about what is happening?

If I would have just sat there and processed through everything I would be in a better place. Because I have never taken the time to process the situation I am sitting here a mess. There is a bit of hurt and pain running through me.

I feel helpless.

Yet, each day I am coming to terms with the news. I was asking the right questions. There were times that I spent ample times doing research into the issue. Each step I took helped me accept the news.

When you learn to process through your feelings you are learning to cope with the pain.

2. Hang onto Hope.

The MOMENT you hear the tough news you go through a plethora of emotions. It doesn’t matter if you are a manly man or a sensitive one you feel it. I respect the female ability to process through deep emotion. There is something beautiful about the way they are able to stay strong inside of tough emotions.

Yet, one thing I can say we share between us is the loss of hope. In tough situations, we all find it hard to hold onto hope. It seems to be the first thing that leaves when we hear the news that causes us to falter.

Hope is one of the most powerful motivators. It is also one of the most powerful stabilizers. You draw strength from it. There is a feeling of confidence that comes from it. In short, without hope, we become lost.

You have to hang onto hope with everything you got.

For me, my hope is found in Jesus. You may not agree, but I do not make apologies for my faith. Every situation that I face I face it with the knowledge that no matter what happens I am loved. That alone gives me the strength to keep pressing through.

Why Jesus? I come from a multi-religious background. Meaning, I have practiced a number of different religions through my life. Each and every one that I practiced left me in the same place. I was hopeless, empty and scared.

I tried to put my hope in things. It failed me. I tried to put my hope in people. They failed me. There was even a point when I tried to put my hope in me. Ultimately, I failed.

When I became a believer I realized that I was no longer empty and scared. There was a hope that was born in me. No matter the situation I KNOW that I will make it through!

Maybe you are not a Christian. There will be a challenge as you look for things to hope in. Remember, that the world is a broken place full of hurting people. If you are looking for people to save you it may not happen.

Whatever you do: HANG ONTO HOPE!

3. Allow people to hold you up.

This one was hard for me. I grew up in Philadelphia. Growing up there gave us an independent attitude that was too proud to ask for help.

Whatever I was going through I put to the side to help others go through it. Never once did I ask for help. You just didn’t do those things. This attitude stuck with me for the better part of my life.

Recently, I realized how stupid I was.

If you do not have anyone to hold you up then you will never get up.

Relationships are at the core of who we are.

Allow people to step in and help. My only suggestion is to allow people that you trust help you.

Drop the pride and learn to ask for help! It may save your life.

If you are having trust issues, and cannot ask for help, well that is another post for another day 😉


#1. I love it when people share their thoughts.

I am eager to hear how you have navigated through some tough situations in your life. Comment below and let me know what you would add to this list!

#2. Would you consider sharing these tweetables?

[bctt tweet=”You don’t know how you are going to handle the situation until you are in the situation.” username=”Jim_burgoon”]

[bctt tweet=”When you learn to process through your feelings you are learning to cope with the pain.” username=”Jim_burgoon”]

[bctt tweet=”You have to hang onto hope with everything you got. Without hope, we are lost. #keephope” username=”Jim_burgoon”]

[bctt tweet=”If you do not have anyone to hold you up then you will never get up. #togetherwemakeit” username=”Jim_burgoon”]

[bctt tweet=”Drop the pride and learn to ask for help! It may save your life. #humility #killpride” username=”Jim_burgoon”]

#3. Would you be willing to subscribe to www.jimburgoon.org for some great content??

[mailerlite_form form_id=4]

  • I have been there when things seem like they are spiraling. And been there when they pronounced something that sounded like hope was lost. But I do believe that hope it one of the most important aspects of a persons character. And the ability to hope even in hopeless situations can carry us through. The key is finding the right thing to hope in. And knowing that where we place that hope means everything. What happens may not be always as we have planned it. But it works together for good nevertheless.

  • I think prayer helps! It sucks receiving bad news smh but its always great to figure out a way to deal w/it.

  • Muna Kenny says:

    It’s difficult to have to hear something that will hurt you but this is life! What I do now is, hear it, think about it, if I can change it well and good, if I can’t I leave it to God!

  • This is a hard one for me it would literally drive me mad or sick to my stomach

  • Amber Myers says:

    Oh yeah, I’ve heard things that I would rather not many times. I like your list of how to cope. I always hang onto hope.

  • Dona says:

    Jim, thank you for this great advice. So many people can benefit from this information. I’m excited to share this information!

  • Jessica Taylor says:

    Wow! This post is so true. Some news is so hard to process that you really don’t know how to handle it.

  • If i heard something about me I, I think I can process it coz it involves only me. But hearing something about others… like what do you do in that situation? The guilt of having to tell or not… xx corinne

    • Jim says:

      Hearing things about yourself sucks, but it is somehow manageable. Hearing about others becomes a weight too heavy to bear. Like the world is crushing down, because we don’t know how to help them.

    • Jim says:

      Hearing things about yourself sucks, but it is somehow manageable. Hearing about others becomes a weight too heavy to bear. Like the world is crashing down, because we don’t know how to help them.

  • GiGi Eats says:

    I live in my own little bubble so I never really “hear” bad news or things I don’t want to hear. ha!

  • Jivi says:

    What a beautiful post. It really is so important to sit with the uncomfortable feelings that come up after hearing something so horrible, because ignoring them will only lead to more problems down the road.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kind words! I am right with you. It is so hard to sit with uncomfortable feelings. I agree wholeheartedly agree with you that ignoring the feelings can only cause worse things to happen!

  • Sarah Bailey says:

    What a great post you are so right, sometimes you really need to allow someone else to hold you up.

  • Bridgette says:

    Very powerful. I especially relate to the part about asking for help. I don’t like to ask for help. I’m supposed to have it all together aren’t I? Well that’s how I feel often, but I know I’m designed to be in community with others.

    • Jim says:

      Asking for help is incredibly hard for a number of us. Keep plugging away and keep asking. Eventually, you will be able to ask with ease!

  • Elizabeth O says:

    I know from my own health scares that taking time to process and plan a course of action and get a second opinion helped. Above all, prayer, family support and quality care made a huge difference.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. It really does help! People don’t realize the power of stepping back for a moment.

  • Alissa says:

    I love how you said to take some time to process what you heard. If I make an immediate reaction I might jump to conclusions.

    • Jim says:

      You are so right. When we don’t take the moment we will definitely jump to conclusion! Thank you for sharing!

  • Shannon says:

    These are great tips for dealing with terrible news! The first tip, taking time to process the new information, is the best one. When it’s news that you can’t ignore then it’s important to think about it and fully understand it. I’ve seen way too many people ignore things that they don’t want to deal with, big or small, and it came back to bite them.

    • Jim says:

      I think people would be able to navigate through the issues if they would just process it first. Sometimes we move before we realize what is really happening.

  • Adiba Anwar says:

    Simply will say _^_^_^_^_^_^_^_^_ this is the life
    and __________________ this is the end of life… So never get disappointed.
    Life will be better.

  • Kylie says:

    I think I’ve only experienced something like that once. And what you wrote here is very true! Whatever happens, you have to hang on to hope!

    • Jim says:

      Very much so! Hope is often times the only thing we have left when everything else seems to be going wrong.

  • Krysten says:

    These are great tips. I never really know how to handle hearing news that I don’t want to hear or am not ready to hear. I will take these tips into account.

  • Jolleen says:

    Very well said. I have been through situations like this before, and it is not easy. My dad passed away from cancer when I was 19. Looking back on it now, hearing the news that he had cancer when I was 17 was I think more than I even knew how to handle. I held on to hope, we all did. But God decided to take him home after 2 long years of suffering. I find peace knowing I’ll see my dad again. He is in a place with no more pain or sorrows..

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for sharing your story! I am honored to know it. I will send up a prayer for you guys! Yes, one day you’ll be together again.

  • Sondra says:

    You’re right the important thing to do is hold on to hope. When you believe things will get better it makes it easier for you to go about your day.

    • Jim says:

      It is! Then one day, before you know it, it really does seem to get easier. Either it is the situation passing or you becoming stronger! Thank you for sharing.

  • Pam says:

    I love your suggestions for handling news that you are not prepared to hear. Allowing yourself time to process the news and to realize it is real is really key. People sometimes make rash decisions when they don’t do this. I am in my 60s and have obviously been given news in the course of my life that I hadn’t been prepared for. I will say that growing older and growing up helps a great deal.

  • I have a really terrible habit of pushing bad news or issues away. I do not really allow my self to process and I know I really should.

    • Jim says:

      How has pushing these thing away really helped you in your life? I find that when I am able to answer that question I can see the truth of where I am at and what to do from there! Let me know how I can serve you.

  • Kristin Cook says:

    How we handle tough situations and how we handle devastating news really reveals a lot about where our hope is. I always want to place my hope in Jesus so that bad news will be put in proper perspective.

  • Liz Mays says:

    This was really interesting! I’ve definitely run into this situation quite a few times in my life. I do think it’s good to absorb the information without letting it bring you down. Hope is important and sometimes there are things we can do to improve the situation.

    • Jim says:

      If you read my article about stress you will notice that I discuss that sentiment. When we take a step back and take the whole picture in we can make an action plan for the furture. Thank you for capturing the heart of the article!

  • Shameem Reza says:

    Awesome post and great inner thoughts. feeling refresh after reading whole post from top to bottom. Thanks 🙂

    • Jim says:

      It blessed me to read your comment. My heart’s goal is to help people find tools and the encouragement they need to live life to the fullest. Thnk you for sharing!

  • Thanks for sharing your story. Agree that bad news are hard to swallow especially if we hear our close family is ill. I’m still hanging on to hope and I put my hope on Jesus!

    • Jim says:

      If you can put your hope on Him you will be victorious! Keep pressing forward and keep hope alive! Thank you for sharing.

  • Neely Moldovan says:

    I have dealt with this too. My dad had a very serious form of cancer and it took me a long time to process everything.

    • Jim says:

      I had a conversation with someone about length of time. I find that the amount of time is unique for every person. Some process quickly. Others take time. I am someone who needs some time, but when I am done I am done. I will be praying for you and this situation.

  • Jay Colby says:

    This article resonates with me so much. Throughout my life I’ve been told several times I wouldn’t be able to achieve my goals. Great thoughts!

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your story. It is never easy to hear, but once we process thorugh it we can find health.

  • This is a well written article. You really captured this problem so well. I have trouble hearing something bad too so usually I ignore, even though I know it’s not healthy.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I struggle with it as well. I ignore things when I know I shouldn’t. I think it’s time for a change. It is time to get healthy again. It is time to confront the pain head on and find health! Thank you for sharing.

  • Eileen says:

    I can relate to this post. I was very young then when my dad called me to his side. He said, in a very calm voice. “I have cancer.” My eyes welled with tears, all I could say (actually shout) to my dad was, “No, you don’t! Stop saying those things!” I was in disbelief. No. That cannot happen. Daddy’s a doctor. He can’t have cancer. He should know. I was in denial. As the months and several surgeries went by, my denial turned to prayer and hope. That God will heal my father. That the cancer will be gone. God gave me a different answer though. He called my dad back into His Arms. He took away all his pain. I was heartbroken but I was comforted by the thought that Daddy is now in a better place.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It blesses me to hear. It is something I see as very sacred. Keep pressing forward and keep praying! I am hear to serve you!

  • These are great suggestions. Knowing that there are people around to help you out when bad things happen always makes such a difference.

    • Jim says:

      People don’t realize the power of having someone to hold you up. It is a game changer. Thank you for sharing!

  • I love that you point out holding on to hope! I think it’s much healthier to focus on hope than the bad in a tough situation. I agree that leaning on others can be important too!
    Cheers. Sarah Camille // SCsScoop.com

  • Most of us get a high blood pressure with the way we react after getting a bad news. We all will get one bad news or the other at one point in our lives, so how we react is actually very important. I like the way you gave some salient advice that can help us push through.

    • Jim says:

      You have caught the heart of my blog post! That is super encouraging. I pray that it helps you through the tough times. Thank you for your kind words!

  • Life is full of things that you did not want to hear or know or experience in the first place. That is part of life. Ignore what you can and deal with the rest, I say.

    • Jim says:

      I have tried ignoring what I could. It hasn’t really worked for me. The goal, for me, is to live an emotionally healthy life. What I have found is that when I try to ignore things I tend to just bury them. I liked to deal with things head on. What I can get through today is something I don’t need to worry about tomorrow. Thank you for joining the conversation! I appreciate your perspective!

  • JENN says:

    Processing and then remembering that there is good in everything is huge.

  • Beautiful post Jim!

    What resonated with me was the allowing other people to hold you up. God gives us amazing graces in tough times and some of the best graces come from others you can draw strength from.

    Dr. Lisa

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kind words. We were created to be in relationship with one another. It is at the core of who we are. It is funny how we push that to the side because of our independence. Ultimately, our severe independence causes us to violate our design. Maybe, just maybe, we should ask for help more often. I think then we would truly see what it is like to live whole and healthy. Thank you for sharing!

  • I love this post. There is so much truth to it. I really resonated with what you said about learning to let others help. I can be a stubborn and independent person and don’t want to admit when I need help from others. Thank you for a thought provoking and vulnerable post!

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kind words! I think you and I are a lot alike. I have always had a bit of trouble asking for help. Then I realized that I cannot do this alone. There are so many things happening that I feel like I’ll crack under the pressure. That is why I need people. To help me hold the weight up. It only took my 30 plus years to figure that out!

  • Patricia says:

    Great post! I am a Christian too, saved 17 years ago. Also, I think it’s VERY important to have people help hold you up. We were created for community, not to be alone in life. 🙂 I’m bookmarking and following your website! I think it’s THAT good.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I pray that what is shared with you via this website truly helps you in your walk. I will send up a prayer for you! Thank you for joining the conversation.

  • Corinne says:

    I can’t imagine hearing one of my family members had a brain tumor. Tumors are so scary, especially in the brain! My sister actually might have MS, she isn’t even thirty right yet. This was just what I needed to hear…thank you. Thank you very much. for writing this.

    • Jim says:

      I am blessed to see that this encouraged you!! It can be tough hearing something like that. My prayers are with you! Let me know how I can serve you best!

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