How to Deal with Disappointments & Setbacks
This past weekend, I found myself in PA for a family reunion for food, fun and family memories! It was awesome. Of course, like a typical reunion, you always have games. Well, there was a game, in particular, that had me excited to play –the good ole sack race! One thing I wasn’t expecting, though, was to LOSE and experience a life lesson in the process. I’d like to share what happened.
My other three family members and I grabbed our sacks and lined up along the line to start the race. On the other end of the field, we anxiously eyed the “race official” until he screamed, “GO!” When he did, we took off hopping. I was winning. As soon as I got to the other side, though, I had to turn around and hop back to the other end to secure the official win. In my mind I thought, “I got this!” But then something happened. When I looked up, my cousin was halfway down the field. Trying to hop as fast as I could, I followed behind her. Next thing you know, she won the race!
Of course, the competitor in me was a bit disappointed because I wanted to win, but the conversation I was about to have with my husband would change my loss into a win.
After the race I told him, “I can’t believe I lost.” He said, “You had her, but when it was time to transition, she got you. You slowed down, but she got to the end and immediately turned right back around –that gave her the advantage.”
W-O-W-what? When he said this to me, it was like a flood of bricks toppled onto my head.
I didn’t fall, I didn’t trip, I didn’t pass out from exhaustion (it was super hot) –I just slowed down. Somewhere in the transition, I got lost and she won the race.
It got me to thinking–how many times in my life have I slowed down when a transition was taking place?
If it didn’t happen the way I wanted to happen–I sulked. If didn’t get the opportunity I hoped for–I shut down. In a nutshell, when life didn’t go my way or I experienced a setback, I became discouraged, disappointed, and found myself in a stuck position. Feelings and emotions that I should have gotten over in a day or two, often dragged out into weeks and months, and in one instance a year.
“Well, it won’t happen because of this or that. I tried it last year so it can’t work out this year. Why do I have to go through this? It’s like –those were the thoughts (and many more) that ran through my mind. In the end, it left me disappointed.
Can you relate?
In retrospect, the disappointments and setbacks I experienced was life pushing me to mature, to go to the next level, but my immaturity led me to believe that it was life against me. I couldn’t or wouldn’t bounce back, but I took my time (a long time) to move onto the next phase in life.
Here’s what I want you to take from this.
Transitions are a major part of life. No matter who you are, you’ll face one sooner or later. Moving to a new city, changing your occupation, or just moving into something new –it’s inevitable. At times, there may be turbulence in between the transition that alters your plans and causes disappointment. (Maybe you don’t get the ideal job or can’t relocate to the new city for whatever reason.) How you deal with it, though, says a lot about you. From experience, do not take too long to get over the disappointments & setbacks. Acknowledge it, get to the root of it, and then march forward. Settle it in your heart that there is a reason it didn’t happen, but do NOT become best friends with bitterness. You cannot afford to get stuck in the same place and allow life to pass you by while you’re still upset, discouraged you didn’t win.
So question, when you experience disappointments in life, how do you respond to life?
PS: And to be clear, there will be moments when you need to regroup. We’re human, and grieving, mourning and resting has to happen. I get it. However, you can’t let it consume your entire life.