How to Overcome Setbacks In Your Life
You’re cruising along in life, crushing your goals and moving forward. Then, a setback comes along, threatening to derail everything you’ve been working for. This happens to all of us at one point or another, and setbacks are inevitable. Luckily, it’s how you deal with them that matters.
What Are Setbacks?
A setback can be anything that halts your momentum in your life. For example, maybe you’re involved in a car accident and you’re injured. The impacts on your physical and mental health could be far-reaching.
It might cause you to miss time at work, slowing down your career trajectory, and perhaps could also cause you to experience health-related issues such as chronic pain or weight gain.
Maybe you don’t land the dream job you were sure you’d get. You move into a space of “now what.”
Perhaps a relationship ends, such as a friendship or a marriage, and it changes what your future looks like.
For some people, who deal with mental health issues like anxiety or depression, they may have it under control, and then perhaps they experience a relapse that sets them back in their progress.
Whatever the specific situation is, learning to deal with setbacks in a positive and productive way can change the outcome.
Don’t Let Your Self-Worth Be Dependent on the Context
Something important not just when you’re dealing with a setback, but throughout your life, is to keep in mind that your self-worth and self-esteem don’t depend on the context of what you’re dealing with.
A lot of people will take a bad situation and internalize it, convincing themselves there’s something wrong with them, rather than realizing that situations always change. Your sense of self-worth and self-esteem should remain constant in the face of those changes.
Work on your inner voice so that you can train yourself to understand that external situations don’t change your value as a person, and you don’t have to blame yourself if something goes wrong. Of course, you can take accountability when needed, but that’s different from constant self-blame or being too critical toward yourself.
If you are too hard on yourself, think about your strengths and your skills, and focus on those.
Focus On the Things You Can Control
So many of us start to feel ourselves mentally spiraling when we focus too much on what we can’t control and not enough on what we can.
Learning to focus only on the things you can control is an important lesson, not just when you’re facing setbacks, but all the time.
A good example is what’s happening right now with the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s affecting people’s businesses and careers, and many of us feel scared and out of control.
You may not be able to control the pandemic directly, but you can control your response to the situation.
If you don’t get the promotion you hoped for at work, don’t focus on that because it’s no longer in your control.
Focus on how you can develop your career and identify new opportunities. Accept how you feel in the moment, and then take a forward-thinking approach.
When you’re facing a setback, rather than obsessing over it, think about ways you can help other people.
When you add value to someone else’s life, it can make it easier to overcome negative situations in your own.
You’re thinking more about what you can do to bring positivity into someone else’s situation and less about what’s going wrong in your own.
Give Yourself Time
One of the most important lessons is truly that time does heal everything.
Sometimes, we’re so anxious to get back to what we see as a sense of normal or perhaps to avoid setbacks that have occurred, that we forget the importance of just waiting it out and giving ourselves time to heal and move forward.
Try to work on your sense of impatience, and let time pass gradually. In the meantime, focus on other things. Eventually, you will look back, and even if at the time it seemed massive, the setback will eventually be remembered as relatively small in most cases.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
The people you surround yourself with regularly are going to play a big role in how you deal with stressful situations, how you see yourself, and how you see the world.
Put yourself in a position where you’re surrounded by positive people, which is particularly important if you’re dealing with a setback.
You want people who are not just positive, but who are supportive and encouraging.
Don’t Let Yourself Become a Victim
When something happens, and it’s not what you wanted or expected, whether in your personal or professional life, you may get stuck in a cycle where you view yourself as a victim.
There are several steps you have to take to avoid becoming a victim, no matter what life throws at you.
First, it is psychologically healthy to recognize something negative has happened, but then, not letting yourself be a victim relies on moving past that.
Take ownership for things in your life, including what you want and what’s good in your life, and what’s gone wrong.
Think about what you need to do to make certain things happen in your life, rather than trying to blame other people if things don’t unfold the way you’d like them to.
If you do find yourself blaming others or blaming the world, stop yourself. You might say the word stop out loud when you get to that point.
Become someone who focuses on gratitude as well. The victim mentality is often one that relies on focusing on what you’re not getting, so instead, flip your internal narrative and think about what you are getting.
Setbacks are inevitable, and life is a series of ups and downs. The thing that separates someone who successfully overcomes these setbacks is a desire to remain in control of their life and their thoughts and move forward.