We all experience them, setbacks. Professionally, within relationships, when trying to make ourselves a better person. The experience of things either not going as planned or failing as a whole. It’s not a good feeling, and it can even keep us from moving forward in our lives in many ways.
But through a simple shift in how you handle a setback no matter if it’s a large or small set back, can change many things. You might not always be able to recover or fix what got you to where you are, but with a few simple steps you can make things better moving forward.
Here are the four steps on how to overcome a setback while making yourself a better person:
1. Let yourself experience the negative of the situation
Negative emotions and experiences often get a bad rap. It’s natural to want to maintain or obtain the natural high that our positive emotions give us and eliminate the negative emotions we feel. However, our negative emotions have a very real need in our lives. Our negative emotions inform us of when something (or someone) in our environment might need more attention, they help us build empathy as well as better connect with others.
Putting yourself in and staying in a negative state isn’t healthy, but allowing yourself to feel a very natural and normal part of something (the good and the bad) is the first to understanding what it means to you and your perspective on life. If you don’t allow yourself to have those feelings and process them during a setback, you won’t know how to move past them in the future. This is the real strength, understanding your negative emotions.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas A. Edison
2. Give yourself some easy wins
If it’s important to let yourself experience the negative side of things, what do you do when it’s time to move past a setback or negative experience, but you can’t? Change your focus and give yourself some easy wins. Giving yourself some easy wins is different than simply doing something that makes you feel happy. It’s focusing on doing something that makes you feel as if you have accomplished something (even if it’s just a little bit).
This could be anything from cleaning up around the house, beating a level in a video game, or even volunteering. The idea is to do something with an end goal that’s in sight, and you can easily reach. Make it a little bit of a challenge, of course, but give yourself a short term win.Giving yourself an easy win allows you to think of something more positive and get some of those feel good hormones going in your brain, making it easier to move past a setback.
3. Look at what didn’t work
It’s not the winning that teaches you how to be resilient. It’s the setback. It’s the loss. – Beth Brooke It’s important not to look at your setbacks as if they are ultimate failures, but instead just a learning experience. You might not have the same opportunity available to you immediately, or ever, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to be learned.
If we as humans are anything, we are an accumulation of our experiences at any one moment. So taking the time to look at those experiences, especially when we have had setbacks, to learn from them is priceless. You not only open up the opportunity to avoid the same negative experience in the future but to learn more about yourself.
4. Make a plan and give it another go
The biggest hurdle in dealing with a setback is giving things another go. But if you don’t (especially right away) it’s likely you won’t. Getting clear on what didn’t work is great, but what good is that if you don’t give things another try? The difficult part might be that circumstances aren’t going to be the same as before, and that’s okay.
That’s why it’s important to make a plan and be aware of how things have changed. By looking at new circumstances, understanding how it changes things, and then also why and what failed before you can create a plan of action or intention to give yourself a better outcome in the future.
“It’s not the winning that teaches you how to be resilient. It’s the setback. It’s the loss.” – Beth Brooke
Handling any setback isn’t easy, it can hurt emotionally in many different ways. It brings forward many feelings of failure and highlights some of the worst parts of ourselves. It’s not an easy thing to move on from the past, but when you take the time and effort to treat it as a learning experience instead, that setback just might be the lesson you needed to experience something great. As long as you allow yourself.