How To Overcome A Setback

Setback (n): a problem that makes progress more difficult or success less likely. Losing a job, being diagnosed with a medical condition, a failed relationship, the death of a loved one, failing an exam/class- those are just some examples of a setback. There are so many things that could go catastrophically wrong in our journey of life. We all face setbacks. Most of them tend to be on the minor side, like running late or spilling coffee on your papers. Sometimes it can be the smallest of personal matters that eventually amount to something gargantuan. Additionally, we can also be faced with setbacks that knock the wind out of us and make us re-evaluate our lives. Often times leaving us feeling broken. I like to believe that larger setbacks help us set guides for how we handle the smaller ones. They put things into perspective for when our lives seemingly fall apart again. How you react in the face of those setbacks and how you choose to move forward are the things that define you as an individual. While they're never pleasant, you usually come out stronger. I've faced my fair share of setbacks and managed to come out of each stronger and more resilient than the last. How have I accomplished that? Allow me to share. 

(1) Let your emotions run their course
Breathe, stretch, curse, scream, cry, laugh, sing, meditate, exercise to release endorphins, read a book, punch your pillow, vent to a loved one, etc. Do whatever it is that you need to do in order to clear your mind. Take a deep breath and let out all emotions related to the setback. Refrain from bottling up your emotions. Trust me, I've been there one too many times and it has never resulted in anything good. I promise you'll come out of this feeling a lot better.

(2) Accept it
Undoubtedly, this may be the hardest step. Sometimes it's hard to accept how horrible life can be and often times we find ourselves feeling like a victim. You want to believe it's all a nightmare and that it'll be over as soon as you wake up. Setbacks are difficult to accept, however it's one of the most crucial steps in order to move forwards with life. Unfortunately, some people choose to give up. Understand that everything happens for a reason. I truly believe in and live by this cliche. You may not see it now but at some point down the road, everything will come full circle and make sense to you. If it's easier, find a friend who is unbiased and acts as a listening ear (at the very least). Make sure it's someone you can really trust. Confide in him/her and hear what they have to say about your current situation. They may not know everything or be the wisest person in your group of friends, however you get to hear things from a different perspective than yours, which may help you in accepting whatever it is that took place. Bottom line: without accepting what has transpired, you will never be 100% healed and this will hinder your ability to become stronger in handling future catastrophes. 

(3) Let it go 
The past is the past, there's no point in dwelling on what happened. You can't change what has occurred. You can sit there and think about the "what ifs" but you're only digging a deeper hole for yourself to eventually climb out of. Yes, it sucks and it's unfortunate that it happened to you but try to look at the big picture instead of permanently playing the victim. You have to put down any old baggage and learn to forget the things that have hurt you. While accepting is difficult, the step of letting go usually takes the longest. It's possible you'll stumble upon pictures or messages that remind you of a specifically hard time from your past. Initially, this will affect you and may make you feel down, but as time passes you'll learn to chuck aside whatever it is that arouses these negative thoughts. As you learn to let go, you'll feel a sense of relief knowing that you're making progress in your personal growth. I've had moments in the past where I thought it was impossible for me to surpass particular hurdles and the "this is it, this is the end" feeling. Look where I am today though. I'm still here and more resilient than ever. Appreciate your strength. More importantly, be patient and let time do its work. 

(4) Find a new purpose
Everything happens for a reason. It's just a matter of time before you realize why it took place. I'm sure you guys are sick of hearing me repeat this over and over again on my social media accounts. I know it can be difficult to be grateful or to try to look at the big picture after something negative occurs, however every story has two sides- the negative and the positive (in this case). Look out for any possible signs in your life that might shed light on your setbacks and then start searching for that new goal. It's time you let your setback go already! There are greater things in store for you just waiting to be found. All you have to do is start looking. Of course taking on something new is always challenging, but it helps distract you from whatever it was that set you back in the first place and will help motivate you to explore new things. Maybe you encountered the setback to: redirect your life and career path, to spend more time on yourself and do things that make you happy (as opposed to others), to encourage you to put your health first for a change, to finally follow the dreams you put on the back-burner for years because society or loved ones told you otherwise. Whatever it may be, there is always a silver lining amidst the grey clouds. 

(5) Positivity is key
A setback will always seem insurmountable if you don't regard it as a challenge. No doubt there are times when, no matter how hard you try, things may not seem to get any better and all of your efforts have wrung you dry, but never cease to believe that with time and a positive attitude, you will eventually escape the hell that brought you here in the first place. With this new armour, you no longer have to stand idly by, whining about how unfair life is. Optimism and positivity are key, because if we dwell too much on the hard times the light at the end of the tunnel is dim and the path is treacherous. If you can focus your energy on viewing setbacks as opportunities for personal growth and failures as chances to restart and reboot your energy and soul you can strengthen your mind and heart to face the hard times. Pick yourself up and be fearless in your conquest to defeat whatever is standing in your way. Remember it's never too late to tell yourself that you've had enough and it's time to move on. Whatever painful experience you endured affected you deeply, but it's also over. Now is the time for you to re-write that horrible incident with optimism. This is something that only you have the power to do. 

Human beings are remarkable. We bounce back from setbacks- both big and small. We make it through trauma, tragedy, loss, heartbreak, failure, change, stress, and illness. Although facing setbacks is inevitable, how we face these setbacks shapes our entire life. Some people seem to have it easier- and whether or not this is the case, it doesn't hurt to think about what qualities these people that "bounce back" so easily may possess. Or what it is about them that helps them get through the hard times less bruised or scarred. Walking through flames is going to hurt you, it's going to burn you. However, it's how you react and what you do next that truly tests you character and makes you into the powerful human that you are. The truth is, all human beings can be resilient. No matter what you're going through, take time to be grateful for both your mind and your heart-  and take the time to acknowledge how truly strong you are. Although we experience pain and heartbreak, we must never forget how incredible it is that we often come out of these hard times even stronger than we were before. 

With hard work, dedication, and the drive to never give up, you will learn to take on the world. You will conquer the world. When we get knocked down and feel that things will never get better, the tide will change. You will stand up. You will fight. You will keep on keeping on. That is true resilience and that in itself is extraordinary. 

You got this babe! Have a great Sunday! 

Much love, xo

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