How to Overcome a Disappointing Setback
We have all been there. Everyone has experienced a major disappointing setback. Most people have experienced the loss of a job, a lover, a friend, or a commitment. Pretty much everybody has had to pick themselves up off the ground and basically start over. I have had to start over many times in my life, and I am sure I will have to pick myself up many more times in the future. It is exhausting to consider all the valleys and hills we must get through in this life. Yet, it is the obstacles we overcome that make us stronger, both mentally and spiritually.
At this current moment you may be on the ground frustrated and angry about your disappointment. You may be in the process of picking yourself back up, but you are struggling to lace up those boots and keep trekking. You may be back on your path, but you keep tripping because you fail to look forward. If you are in any of those positions take this time to consider my 10 tips for getting over a disappointing setback. Moving forward may not be an overnight success, but if you apply just one of the ten tips then you are on your path back to happiness and greater opportunity.
1. Acknowledge the Event
First of all, acknowledge what happened. Try to look at the situation from an objective point of view. What were the factors leading up to this event? What caused this event to unfold? See the setback for what it was: a brief moment in time.
2. Practice Acceptance
Now that you were able to acknowledge the event, it's time to accept the disappointment. Recognize that this setback was merely a moment in time, and like all moments in time it will pass. Accept your role in the event. Accept your behavior in the event.
3. Eliminate Blame
You're doing a great job so far. You've managed to acknowledge the disappointment and you are practicing acceptance of what transpired. The third thing you must do is to eliminate blame. This is so hard to do. It's so hard because we want to be victimized when things go wrong. We want somebody else to be the "bad guy." We want to place blame on a person, our stress level, our lack of sleep, our lack of discipline, our lack of control, or our lack of compromise. Regardless of who or what was part of the equation, you have to let go of blame. No person is to blame. No circumstance is to blame. What happened was friction. What happened was collapse. What happened was a shift in direction. Acknowledge the event, practice acceptance, and eliminate blame. Then, go call a trusted friend!
4. Have a Sounding Board
Make sure the person you open up to about this setback has your heart and best interest in mind. Make sure the person you talk to will not make you feel worse. Make sure the person you talk to helps you to gather optimism, hope, and clarity. Make sure your sounding board is a person who makes you feel safe to be the mess of a person that we all tend to be from time to time. And don't be afraid to have more than one sounding board because everyone we open up to can help us to gather more perspective on life.
5. Take Time to Gather Perspective
Venting to your sounding board was probably a cathartic experience. From here put that therapy to good use. Think about what your trusting friend or family member had to say to help you get back on your path. I recommend having some alone time to journal, or go for a run, or take a long bath. Whatever you decide to do to clear your mind, and get re-centered, let it be because you are open to new opportunity.
6. Be Open to New Opportunity
All set backs provide us with new opportunity. Either that opportunity will unfold into a new job, or a new lover, or a new way of approaching a diet. Whenever we fall down, we can only get back up and embrace a new way of moving forward. This time when you move forward take with you new solutions.
7. Look for Solutions
You're over blaming. You've had your time to process and vent. You're also open to new opportunity-even if it is scary. This means you are taking new, purposeful strides in life to get where you need to be. You are becoming a problem solver. Figure out ways to bring more happiness into your life. If you know that you have a sweet-tooth then do not buy sweets to have in the house because you know that will derail your diet. Pay attention to red flags the next time you start dating, and do not compromise your values for the fear of loneliness. If you feel stuck in your fitness journey then hire a trainer or seek a recreation class. If you feel lonely then call a friend for a coffee date, or signup for a community class. Find little solutions each day that will bring YOU happiness and guide you toward your ideal life.
8. Reassess Your Direction by Listening to Your Intuition
Listening to your intuition is priceless. If your gut tells you Mr. Joe Blow is bad for you in the long run then walk away. If your gut tells you that a certain friend in your life is not genuine then it's okay to make a new friend. If you know you are unhappy in your current career then listen to that and seek what you are passionate about. Do not worry about other's opinion because most people just want to see you happy. Stop over-concerning yourself with the "what-ifs" "could have beens," or "when the time is right." The time is now and your inner-self has the answer.
9. Practice Gratitude for the Lesson Learned
Practicing gratitude for the lesson learned is humbling and hard to swallow. You can either journal what you learned from this lesson or simply meditate on what you learned. Remember, there is no good or bad when it comes to our life lessons. Our life lessons are simply lessons which teach us about how to improve, where to go next, or what not to repeat. And like all lessons, they keep repeating until we have mastered the lesson. Perhaps this current setback is similar to one you've experienced before. Did you learn something new from this one? Did you improve from the last one? Please, do not beat yourself up. No one has life figured out. Each person is doing their best to overcome. You are on your way, so don't give up!
10. Don't Give Up!
I think number ten speaks for itself. You can't give up on yourself. You can't give up on the idea of love. You can't give up on a goal or a dream. Not matter how many times you fall down, and get hurt, you can always pick yourself back up and keep moving through the hills and valleys of life. Just keep moving forward!
I am a new mother who has her hands full! I juggle not just my coaching business, but I am also a full time educator. I also teach yoga in the Bay Area, and I mentor first generation college students.