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Overcoming Setbacks and Developing Resilience

Everybody encounters setbacks and hardships, what defines us is how we cope and move forward when confronted with difficult times. If you’re in the middle of a hard time right now, then hopefully this will give you the small push you need to get you moving in the right direction. On today’s episode, I want to talk to you about bouncing back, being resilient, coming back from a setback even stronger than you were before.

We’re all going to have to deal with major setbacks. I want to give you some advice today that’s going to help you gain some perspective because we’re all going to have setbacks. Some more traumatic, some more painful than others. Certain things are just inevitable. Someone you trust is going to betray your trust. There are going to be people in your life who adore and love you no matter what. There will also be people who you will never receive their approval. There will be accidents, there will be unexplainable circumstances, illness, sorrow, pain and hardship and some of these things defy reason. They go against the plan you’ve created to avoid pain or avoid an accident. Those things that you’ve put together will fall apart. That’s called life. These things are ultimately out of our control. Granted, there are things that we can control. You can control what time you wake up in the morning, what you’re going to eat, if you’re going to exercise in the morning, who you’re going to spend time with but rarely can we ever control the outcome of your life. Let’s identify the areas in which you DO have control so we don’t waste time worrying about those things that we can’t control. Okay, here they are:

  1. You can control your own behavior.
  2. You can control your own attitude.
  3. You can control who you choose to spend your time with.
  4. You can choose what kind of treatment is acceptable and what kind of treatment by others is unacceptable.
  5. You can decide to be the bigger person.
  6. You have control over whether you want to forgive someone or not.
  7. You can control your emotions.

Before you argue back and say, well, actually – no I can’t control it because sometimes I am too upset, I can’t control myself, I just lose it, I end up yelling at other people. Well… I’m going to tell you that you’re wrong. You actually CAN control that. You’ve just decided not to. You see, control means you have the ability to do certain things a certain way. We both know that if you were in the middle of a screaming fit and you found out that Beyonce was at the front door, you would pull yourself together and snap out of it. That simply means, you CAN control yourself.

The most important thing I need to tell you about setbacks is that it’s not personal and you can’t take it personal. Setbacks just happen. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. There isn’t a positive that comes from feeling sorry from yourself. Being wrapped in your own self-pity will completely erase any chance you have of being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel or allow anyone in or to have hope. In fact, when you feel sorry for yourself, you repel people from you that you really, really need during these times. When you embrace that dark, inner state and you feel that the world is conspiring against you, that you don’t have real friends, that you can’t do anything right – guess what you attract to you? MORE of that! It’s a mentality that welcomes more of that to you and all you will attract is more tragedy. When you embrace those feelings of feeling sorry for yourself, you ensure that there will be more to follow.

The other important component of a setback is to acknowledge the pain that you feel. Don’t avoid these feelings, or pretend that they don’t exist. To pretend that it’s not emotional or that this is something that you don’t feel sadness over only pushes those feelings down further. Sometimes, we want to put on a brave face and be strong and we’re so concerned that how others will see us, we’re more concerned with that than worrying about our own well being.

One of the most important things you can do when experiencing this trauma or setback, is to find a confidant. Find someone who is great at listening. Too often when something happens to us, talking to everyone about it will just reopen the wound, it becomes gossip and it becomes more hurtful than it does helpful. Find someone who will listen and empathize but keep you accountable to move forward.

Every personal struggle you go through is preparing you for enduring challenges that come your way.

It’s not what happens to you that defines you or even the outcome, it’s what you do with what happens to you. If you’re knocked down, do you get back up?

When you are forced to undertake a setback, whether it’s expected or not, you must allow yourself a period of grieving. Now – don’t get it twisted. You have my permission to put on your favorite pair of sweatpants, binge watch a season or two of a show on Netflix, cuddle up to a few glasses of your favorite red and maybe skip the gym for a few days but this time is necessary and this time is what we call the grieving period.

Grieving is the period often of self-discovery and/or reflection that you need to put the pieces back together from a draining period of your emotional gas tank. Think of this like a bathtub, if someone pulls the plug, slowly the water drains out. In fact, the plug maybe doesn’t fit right and you find yourself slowly leaking the reserve of energy built up. You follow me? It takes time to fill the tub back up. That my friends, is refueling from your grieving period. Then what? What’s next?

Next, let’s be sure we know how to get rid of what I like to call “triggers” that can cause another emotional strain. We must remove those things that cause distraction or inflammation of those same feelings that caused this setback. This may mean cutting a few friends who aren’t the most positive influence or temporarily removing the Adele album from your iTunes music library. I think you know what to do here.

Without removing those things from your line of sight, it’s like taking a recovering alcoholic to a bar every night – you must set the scene for success. Your regrowth of energy and fuel is contingent on the environment being right.

To take your final steps out of this period of grieving from setbacks, it requires a few things. First, it’s okay to feel a sense of disappointment but you must take the lessons you can and should learn and move forward with those things as tools for the success of your future self. The end of this grieving period must be set by you. It must have a firm date. Maybe it’s a Sunday or a Monday that is the fresh start for you but you must force yourself in one direction only and that direction is forward. This will send a powerful message of strength to your soul.

You’ve been through alot and those times are inevitable but know that there are others who they too are enduring. Both people that you know personally and people you know from a distance.

Place your faith in believing your power to summoning up your internal resources. What is that to you? Your friends? Your faith? Your family? Or maybe, it’s yourself.

Find center and stability by searching for a focus. Maybe that means immersing yourself in research or a cause that’s near to you, reading or spending time with those near you to help console you.

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Resilience is a key characteristic required to get through life. No one goes through this life without setbacks, disappointment, death, divorce or whatever it might be.

Rather than letting failure overcome you, find a way to rise above! The key factors in a person developing resilience include: having a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to know you are in control of your emotions, accept failure as an opportunity or sign to change course and soldier on. Don’t waste another minute wondering why things happen to you. Realize that YOU have control. You can control your attitude and how you respond to it.

It’s time to reset. It’s time to start anew. It’s time to accept what’s happened and commit to move forward. Take the past for what it taught you but move forward. Wake up every day and realize that it’s only going to get better. In this moment, right now, you have the ability to change your outlook and start fresh. Move forward.

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