September 2, 2011 - submitted by Matheus, Brazil

I'm having a bad time. I'm not feeling well about myself. I lost a friend, he died two days ago and he was 19. He was one of that kind of people you want to be like. I lost my girlfriend cause I was a jerk. And I'm looking for a way up. I want to find ways to become a better person. I'm lost in my mind. How can I put myself together?

The Oracle replies:

I would say that above everything else right now, you need to give yourself time to grieve the loss of your friend. I'm not surprised you're sat assessing your life and your behaviour but that's not the priority at this moment. It's good that you realise that you've not behaved the best way you could and that's how life lessons are learned and you move forward. You can't do that however if you punish yourself or berate your actions. Just to acknowledge them and decide not behave that way again is good enough for now. It doesn't have to be in tribute to your friend that you decide to be a better person, but if that helps, go for it. Maybe you can talk to your ex, not with a view to getting back with her, but to just apologise if you feel the need. Start afresh and wipe the slate clean. Take time out to choose your path and what you'd like to achieve. Your past actions don't have to stop your future from being what you want it to be. If you make an effort to be mindful of decisions you can take time to decide what you want to do, how you want to do it and at any point you feel you're letting YOURSELF down, just pause, change and get back on track. Over to you.

Do not worry! There is a light at the end of your tunnel. Your friend just passed two days ago, which is a very traumatizing and sudden event to face. Mourning is a very long process and you cant let your life go to shambles just at the beginning. Time will heal your wound. As for your girlfriend, if her feelings for you are strong enough, she'll accept your apology for being out of line. If not, than she was not the right girl for you! You'll find the right path, just don't give up trying. To get your life on track, do not be pessimistic at all. Be optimistic, even if you have grief. Try new things, turn to your hobbies, and remind yourself that you're not going to let your friend, whom you looked up to, down. All my best, Sabrina.

I'm sorry to hear you lost a friend. And a girlfriend. The best thing about this situation is that you are looking for a way up, and the best way to become a better person, in my opinion, is to make someone else's day better, everyday. Whether it's volunteering your time to help someone out or simply being kind to someone, I find it always ends up making me a little happier than before. As for dealing with the loss of your friend: well, that's just terrible. Give yourself time to grieve and then move on; life is for the living. Try to make him proud. When you find yourself missing him, send him love and peace, and go on about your day. As for your girlfriend, tell her you regret being a jerk, as you clearly do. Whether or not she accepts your apology, it's good for the soul. Your journey on self-improvement is independent of your relationship with someone else. Maybe you can take this time apart to focus on yourself. Just remember, it's your destiny, your life. Though you may not have the power to change what other people do in your life, you have the power to change what you do and how you do it. It is what it is, but it will be what you make it. Keep your head up and your hopes high while keeping in mind, as hard as it is, that everything changes. Even the bad times. Best, Sarah.

First of all I'd like to say that I'm very sorry to hear about your friend. Matheus, you are very, very strong. If I were in your place I'd be a complete wreck! I've been in dark places before and I've tried alot of things to try to get myself out of my funk. I have a couple of tricks you might like:
If you like to read, try reading The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha, it's basically a compilation of little everyday things that are awesome, I found it really funny and then you start to notice those little awesome things and they make you realise that things will always get better. Another thing that has always helped me is music. I like to listen to Coldplay, obviously, but if you're sad, try listening to very upbeat and positive songs. Plug in your iPod and just blast any song that reminds you of a happy memory.
At a time like this it's imperative that you stay close with family and friends, they will want to help and probably hate seeing you sad.
Please know you're very strong, again and I wish you the best and hope everything gets better soon (Don't worry, it always does.) Grace.

Ironically Matheus, something just happened that really took a lot of weight off my back. A period of 7 months it was, but it's better then forever. Matheus, I would say that you should tie up loose ends, say sorry to your ex, and for now, say goodbye to your friend. We all have the power to change the things around us if we don't see fit. So go out there and show the word you're ready for a change! Never forget what's important in your life, who you are, and who you're friends are. I wish you the very best Matheus and may your friend rest in peace. Billy N.

I've felt the way you have before. The way I help myself feel better is by 1) listening to music that makes me realize what I have to be grateful for, and 2) always wearing something on myself to do that as well. I wear a bracelet that says 'happiness' on it, to remind myself that even when I'm feeling the most down, there is always something to look forward to. There's always some light, you just have to look for it. I know it's always hard to lose someone, but you have to live a life they would be proud of you for living. Have absolutely no regrets, my friend. And don't be afraid to talk about your friend, either. Talking helps, and if you talk about all of the good times you two had, you'll find a way to be happy that you were able to know him. As for feeling down about yourself, I recently went through a rough patch with Anorexia. I wouldn't eat because I didn't feel ok about my image. I got out of it by thinking about the things I love about myself. At times like this, when something tragic has happened, people tend to be cruel to themselves. Don't let that happen to you. My best wishes, Sydney.

I think you should focus on doing something good for someone else who's special in your life. Maybe volunteer to help another friend with their troubles, or the family of your friend who passed away. If that's not an option, it could even be something like volunteering for a soup kitchen, as long as it's a good deed for some person who needs it. I know from being sad myself that the way out is to do things for others because then you start forgetting about your own problems. Starting to put others first is a sure way to become a better person. And pray for guidance. I hope this helps. Charles.

I'm very sorry for your loss. Your question touches on several bases, so I can imagine you are probably feeling a wide variety of emotions right now. One of the best ways to cope with all of these experiences is to keep a journal. Start with the date and time, then spill your thoughts onto the page. Extracting your thoughts and writing them on paper can help get them out of your lost mind's eye and into a place where you can grasp them and make sense of them. Over time, you can read previous entries and see for yourself how much you have changed. You mentioned your friend was someone that you admired, so you should embrace his/her morals and values when becoming a better person. Think of other people who inspire you and adopt their traits, too. In closing, allow yourself plenty of time to find your bearings. You won't get over these hurdles or change overnight, so stay close to friends and family, and you'll find that everything will sort itself out in due time. Best regards, Blake.

I'm sorry to hear about your loss. You're very heart-broken and stressed out, these events shock you, or "wake you up." You can't replace your friend or cover up his memory, that will hurt even worse. Honor your friend, and use this moment to turn your life around. You need to talk to your ex-girlfriend, make amends to the way you acted to her. You've already become a better person, you just need to show people. Take some time to cope with your loss, get your feelings together, and when you're ready, wake up, look at the world in the light, be positive, and hit the ground running. You can do this.
Bradley H.

Thank you all for your replies. Click to read this week's Team Oracle question, and send us your answer.