So how do you respond to setbacks in your life? Some people respond emotionally by having a breakdown; some respond physically by showing violent behavior; some respond by keeping all their thoughts and feelings inside… but this is where you usually implode and go numb. You feel helpless and overwhelmed by all the sudden changes in your life – changes that you certainly did NOT ask for. In Al Sibert’s book, The Resilience Advantage, he illustrates the difference between a negative ‘victim’ response and a positive ‘thriving’ response to life’s setbacks.
Sadly, some people get stuck in the victim / blaming stage when they experience a setback. Instead of finding ways to properly cope and overcome these difficulties, they blame others or themselves. Sibert notes that when you put the blame on others, it becomes almost impossible to bounce back from setbacks. On the other hand, when you are able to accept your current situation and find healthy ways to cope, you become more resilient. Speaking from personal experiences, learning how to be resilient is such a crucial skill to have in order to thrive in life. In fact, Sibert emphasizes how resilience is more important than ever in today’s world. As you build resilience, you are able to bounce back from any kind of setback and in ways that are not dysfunctional nor harmful. At this point, you are not only able to help yourself get through difficult times but you are also able to help others with their setbacks! It’s a ripple effect!
5 Ways on How to Overcome Life’s Setbacks:
- Accept that Some Things are Just Out of Your Control.
As humans, we tend to freak out as soon as we feel like we don’t have control over something or a situation. Of course, it’s a scary feeling to not be able to predict the outcome of something or prepare for what’s going to happen next. But this mindset results in having anxiety which sets your brain up in a way of thinking that is negative and not productive. So what do you do? Well first of all, you need to accept your current situation. This is when you acknowledge that your current situation is what is and you can’t run from it. The next step is to take action instead of feeling bad for yourself. Having an understanding that things will happen in our lives where we don’t agree or will be comfortable with is a great way to prepare for setbacks. I’ve learned that I can’t always be incontrol of my life so I need to have faith and know that I will understand why things happened the way they did later on. Just let go and leave it to God.
- Adjust to Your New Normal.
As we become older and more mature, we realize that we need to become more open and flexible. In order to properly adjust to a situation, we need to be okay with adjusting ourselves and our minds. This is when you become comfortable with your discomfort. Being able to adjust to and accept the uncomfortableness you are currently in plays a huge part in building resilience.
- Work on Creating a Positive Mindset.
No matter what life throws at you, it’s important to remind yourself that this is a time in your life where you have the opportunity to grow! We tend to think of setbacks as a negative thing but they can actually be a very positive thing in our self-development journey. At the end of the day, it really comes down to how you perceive a situation and then how you act in response to this challenge in your life. In fact, this is a great time to work on the problem-solving skills that you can, in turn, use in ANY sector of work. In sum, keeping a positive mindset is keeping a healthy mindset which results in an overall better version of you!
- Surround Yourself With Those Who Encourage, Motivate, & Inspire You!
This may sound obvious and cliche but you’d be surprised how many of us tend to shut down during these setbacks and stay fearful. I am personally a very open and outgoing person but I haven’t always been this way. I needed to be reminded over and over again that my family & friends are always by my side. Sadly I learned this the hard way but instead of shutting down and suppressing your feelings and thoughts, just please talk to someone. Whether it be a parent, sibling, friend, partner, counselor, or doctor. Research has shown that expressing your feelings and letting them out actually decreases our sadness, anger, and pain by making them less intense. In other words, putting our feelings into words produces therapeutic effects in the brain (University of California, 2007) and it opens the door for others to help us. Remember, we can’t and do not have to do any of this alone!
- Remind Yourself that You Are MUCH Stronger Than You Think!
Unfortunately, during difficult times, we start to create lies in our heads that result in us living in a false reality. Nancy Colier is a psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher that has studied why it is important to recognize these lies that we create in our own minds. She states that we tend to live inside our heads where our thoughts fester and become so real that they become what we think is our reality. In other words, your thoughts do not exist outside of your awareness and therefore, you need to catch yourself when you are in this state and remind yourself of the truth; that you are much stronger than what you are facing. Instead of being caught in the web of thoughts and lies in your mind, direct your focus towards growing your self-confidence, self-esteem, and moral values!
Besides, God only gives the hardest battles to His strongest soldiers!