Unexpected Events

As We Move Forward: Unexpected Events


It is one thing to look forward to major events in our lives. We look forward to Christmas, to birthdays, to vacations. Often the anticipation adds to the overall enjoyment once the event occurs. Young people look forward to moving forward in school, then graduation and the things that follow.

There are also unexpected things that happen. Some of these are pleasant, like getting a surprise gift or having someone special visit. We have one way of handling this type of unexpected event. Most of us respond very well in these circumstances.

There are things that come just as suddenly and without warning that are not so pleasant. Some of these unpleasant events have a serious impact on our lives yet are totally beyond our control. It can sometimes see as if no one cares what effect this event has on us.

These events can vary in severity, but the effect is essentially the same. Having someone suddenly act cruelly toward us is not the same as the death of a loved one, but the effect can be the same. We can experience strong emotions ranging from disappointment and fear to hurt and anger. Sometimes we have a delayed reaction to unexpected events. We experience a type of shock, which can delay our reaction to the unexpected event or even trigger a different emotional response. An example of this would be an angry outburst where sadness or disappointment would be the expected response to a particular sudden unexpected event.

Health related events can be especially complex in the emotional responses they trigger. Because these unexpected events may lead to life-altering adjustments, the range of our emotional responses may be broad and at times confusing to ourselves and others. Unexpected events in our lives will happen. Because they tend to disrupt our lives to a greater or lesser degree, their impact seems to be magnified as we view the event in the context of what was going on at the time and what followed. Another way of saying this is that the context of an event has a lot to do with our responses to it.


An accident or health related event miles from home can bring about many emotions just because of the difficulty of dealing with all the non-related issues that being far from family surroundings can bring out in us.

As we move forward, it might be useful to review unexpected events in our lives and how the circumstances surrounding the event shaped our responses. This can help us recognize what our various responses indicate and how best to deal with them.

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