Oprah talks about how she faces setbacks to students graduating, she makes some really helpful points to consider take a look about how we can bounce back and steps we can take in a more empowering direction.
Bad news and setbacks is there such a thing? Of course, you might be saying. Well, I believe it really depends on your perspective and your beliefs. Tony Robbins is well known for quoting that “what you focus on expands”, so whatever we keep thinking about will grow, we will draw that into our day to day experience.
The concept of good and bad is interesting. My belief is that there is no such thing, although I do believe that there are good and evil forces (from a spiritual perspective). Mainly I consider that the obstacles we perceive in life are not what we think they are, in fact they are more like considerations.
We get an opportunity to consider how we are going to think or even rethink, an experience or challenge and if we are wise we will firstly understand the life lesson ie how we can apply it to our lives and those around us effectively, and use it to develop our character, skills and in the service of others. This way it becomes less about our experience and more about the bigger picture, and we can use the experience to empower rather than dis-empower us. It's up to us, if we want to stay stuck we can or we can focus on the real reason we are here which is contribute, to make a difference. Everyone then gets to benefit from our experience, and the price it has cost us personally.
Thinking this way helps us realise that none of our experiences are “bad” if we choose to use everything we go through in a productive way. One saying I like is that "there is no failure only feedback". We look at the experience and decide to take the value from it, rather than dwell on the past, hurt, anger the resentment, disappointment, shame, etc. We get to decide how we will use it to be in our personal power or to remain a victim to circumstances and our past.
Lately things have been challenging in my world, and it has required that I really deepen my understanding of everything I think, do and become. I'm getting an opportunity to take a deeper look.
Life, is always teaching me lessons, if I am willing to get honest and really look for the answers. It often takes deep courage and determination, even letting go is a process of surrender, it takes discipline of our habitual thinking, listening to our bodies signals and tuning into our heart intelligence and spiritual nudges.
Although the challenges are there, underneath them I feel a still assurance and an excitement because I know that change is happening and for me that is encouraging, not always pleasant though!
So what can we do, in the here and now,to help ourselves through this process?
1. If you feel sad, angry, whatever it maybe, allow yourself to feel those feelings. It may not manifest in an obvious way. It could be that you have a headache, a stomach ache, tense muscles, a pain in the body somewhere, finding that you are irritable, less patient, unable to concentrate, less inspired or lacking drive/energy, negative self talk etc.
These are signals that something emotional may need clearing. One way is to have a good cry, punch a pillow, get those feelings out or talking the feelings through with a skilled person, who can really listen to you, not just give you well meaning advice or share their personal stories and problems.
Try to avoid distracting yourself with other things like, food, TV, alcohol, over working, complaining etc as these things may work for a while but become less satisfying and rewarding as we are ignoring the real issue, the unresolved feelings.
If this is an emotional habit for you, a way of coping, and it's hard to avoid these things, start being conscious of your choice and what you are feeling, and if you do eat some food, or zone out be aware of it, and rather than overeat, allow yourself some time, food etc but avoid being unconscious about it.
The saying goes "feelings buried alive never die", and will probably surface in another way,so you get an opportunity to deal with them. However you have a chance to move beyond any unconscious or conscious denial, to release them. Perhaps you are used to suppressing your feelings and letting things out maybe hard. If this is you, you are not alone, it is common, as we have been taught that expressing our feelings is often unacceptable, wrong, we may feel misunderstood and that those around us don't know how to help us effectively. If you think about it, it makes sense, we realise to keep safe, to receive approval, love and acceptance it is much less risky to suppress our emotions. In the end though we pay a high price on all levels - Physically, emotionally, mentally, practically etc.
2. Another way to approach it would be to find a private place, get quiet and allow yourself to connect with the feelings. I like to go out into nature, because there I feel more connected, and peaceful and it helps me remove the day to day distractions of being at home etc. You may find resistance to this, if you do be kind to yourself and take your time. This is probably a new experience for you.
I would suggest just trying it for a couple of minutes to start with. This way it will seem easier. If you find that you can go longer, great. Follow what feels good for you.
If you can try again, close your eyes and connect inside to the feeling, allow yourself to focus on it, even embrace it. What you will probably find is that the emotion will become less or even melt away.
I found this really hard when I first tried it, I was fighting the process, even afraid to embrace my unpleasant feelings. When I did I was surprised what peace, relaxation, and ease I felt afterwards. My body felt less pain and my mind became much clearer and free. It felt like a weight had been lifted and joy started returning.
It is a simple process, but very powerful. It's also free, which helps!
3.Ok, another way to support yourself as the bible tells us is in '...Hezekiah...spread it before the Lord." 2 Kings 19:14 NKJV
Take some time to really keep calm and use your critical thinking to get clear on the facts of the situation. What is really your responsibility and what is the other person's? It maybe that you need to correct something you said or did, honestly expressing your part and if appropriate apologising for it, forgiving them and forgiving yourself. Forgiveness sets us free. This increases your self respect, cleans up the relationship, however the other person may not accept it or value it, still this is not our responsibility, just that we communicate clearly and in integrity.
Perhaps you may want to prayerfully ask, 'Lord, what can I do about this situation?' If you can do it for yourself, God won't do it for you. Joyce Meyer quotes: 'We cannot do His part and He will not do our part.' Faced with a well-armed, vastly superior force there was nothing Hezekiah could do to save himself. So he went to the house of God and spread out his need before the Lord.
When you respond in faith, a challenge becomes an opportunity for God to demonstrate what He can do on your behalf. Ask yourself, 'Is this problem really mine?' Yes, we're supposed to bear one another's burdens Galatians 6:2 but you're not supposed to let everybody dump their problems on you. Sometimes in our eagerness to rescue others we get in God's way when He's dealing with them. What has God said about you, and situation? God doesn't respond to your need, He responds to your faith!