How To Handle Setbacks Gracefully

Scottish poet Robert Burns said it best. “Even the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. And leave us nothing but grief and pain.” In other words, you can have the most well thought out plans but sometimes life gets in the way. Life was going well and you were on track to meet your goals and then BAM, your path was altered in some way. Setbacks can affect many aspects of your life – emotionally, physically, and financially. It could be something like the loss of a loved one, a financial or health crisis, the breakup of a relationship, or even a failing business.

If you are experiencing setbacks in life, there are many ways to overcome the obstacles in your life. And the right attitude can go a long way in helping you to get back on track. Practice a few of these tips to get you there quickly.

Be Honest – Be brave enough to be honest with yourself and with others. If your setback is due to a mistake you made, admit it. Own up to your actions and figure out a way to move forward. Honesty will allow you the freedom of a good conscience and will help to repair damaged relationships and feelings.

Forgive – If your setback is due to an issue that someone else caused, do whatever you can to try and forgive them. Forgiveness does not mean that you agree with their words or actions but rather that you want to focus on removing the negative energy from your life. The truth is, forgiveness is more for you than for anyone or anything that may have offended or hurt you. Releasing the feelings of hate can be very liberating and it may even go a long way towards repairing a damaged relationship.

Patience – Be sure to give yourself the time to be upset, angry, or hurt. Suppressing your emotions will only work against you. Remember the expression “misery loves company”? Take the time you need to grieve the loss properly (this will be different for everyone) but don’t dwell in those feelings to the point where it begins to affect your life in a negative way. Many times these situations are beyond our control. For example, if you are laid off from your job due to downsizing.

Stress Relief – Seek out healthy ways to reduce your stress. Hit the gym at Brick Bodies in Reisterstown or visit a spa such as Dreamer’s Salon & Day Spa in Reisterstown for some extra pampering. Going for a walk, practicing Yoga, and listening to music are other great ways to de-stress. Whatever you do be sure it is an activity that will make you feel better and will not cause an unnecessary burden. Even something as simple as taking a deep breath and counting slowly to 10 can calm the mind and lower blood pressure.  The goal is to try to find ways to focus your nervous energy in a productive manner.

Seek Advice – If you are in a situation and simply don’t know what to do it is often wise to seek advice from someone you trust. This person can be a friend, co-worker, family member, or mentor, as long as they are someone you can be open and honest with regarding your situation. Seeking advice actually serves two purposes. The obvious, being that you will get a new perspective on your situation and they may even be able to help you develop a plan on how to move forward. In addition, the act of talking to someone we trust can serve as a sort of therapy for us, helping to work through the problem in our own minds.

Focus on Solutions – For every problem, there is a solution. That solution may not be apparent to you immediately but it will come to you at some point. Spend more of your time thinking of solutions and creating a plan of action rather than rehashing your problems over and over. If you can master this skill, you will be able to easily reduce the stress and anxiety on yourself. Be sure to write down your plan and review it regularly. This will help keep you accountable to yourself as you are working through any issues. The best thing about challenges is that they always provide opportunities for growth and learning. So take advantage of them. Use your experience as a platform to educate yourself.

No one is immune from conflict in life. No one. Everyone has experienced problems and disappointments. Setbacks can leave us feeling lost. As if we are trying to reach an unknown destination without a map. However, it’s our setbacks in life that define who we are. We often find out exactly how strong and resilient we are when we are faced with the unknown.



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