A journalist for Livestrong.com recently asked me to contribute to an article about moving onward after a breakup. I was honored to participate, and offered two actions she included in the article. You can read the article here - The 7 Healthiest Ways to Deal With a Breakup.
Of course, the actions I provided needed to be “healthy.” So I couldn’t share things like, “eat all of the ice cream you can find, stalk your ex on social media until you pass out from crying, or berate yourself for not making the relationship work.”
Nope. That would have been unprofessional of me. Realistic, maybe. (I’ve done all of those things.) But not helpful.
That article got me thinking about setbacks in general. Each one of us experiences them from time to time.
Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, were passed over for a promotion or experienced a health crisis. Perhaps you took a risk at work and lost or you shared an article on Facebook, only to have someone you respect jump all over you for doing so. Setbacks come in all shapes and sizes.
So how do you shorten your comeback after a setback?
Below are five steps you can lean on as you make your comeback. I’ve used these exact steps over and over again after big losses and small ones. They are also based on scientific research and have been proven to move you forward in a direction that best serves you.
5 Steps to Shorten Your Comeback After a Setback
1. Permission to Feel
You’re rushing to a big meeting at work when a song comes on the radio that reminds you of an ex. For a moment, you’re right back in a memory and tears begin to roll down your face. You tell yourself, “I don’t have time for this!” So you stop yourself from feeling what your body wants so desperately to express.
Some emotions can seem inconvenient or even annoying. However, it’s imperative to give yourself permission to express them. If you stifle your emotions, you are delaying your own healing. In addition, you run the risk of your emotions manifesting into anxiety or other potential health concerns.
So how do you feel your emotions when it’s inconvenient to do so?
Schedule time to feel.
I knew a woman who lost her dad to a horrible disease. She was overcome with grief, but her job leading Human Resources for an international bank didn’t accommodate random outbursts of tears. So she scheduled her grief. Sounds weird, right?
She allowed herself to cry for 20-30 minutes every day at lunch until one day she didn’t feel like crying anymore. The loss of her father was still within her, but the energy of grief had transformed into resolution and then peace. So as strange as it sounded to schedule this time, it ultimately pushed her to heal at times that worked best for her.
2. Listen to Your Inner Luminary
We each possess a wise inner knowing that guides us towards the right actions. It’s always loving and speaks to us often. I call this wise guide our inner luminary. You may call this guide your soul, intuition or God’s voice.
When you don’t know what to do, quiet your mind and ask your inner luminary what you need in that moment. You may receive a nod to rest, play or let out your anger. Whatever response you receive from your wise self, trust it.
My clients find that exercising, playing an instrument or doing an activity that allows their mind to relax is the best way to tap into their inner luminary. You may have experienced this when you’ve gone for a run. All of a sudden, your brain comes up with the most brilliant ideas! Other options to tap into your wisdom include prayer, meditation or journaling.
Setbacks provide an opportunity for extraordinary wisdom that you can use to create the life you want.
3. Mindful Gratitude
The last thing you may want to do after a job loss or other setbacks is to think of something you’re grateful for. However, I highly recommend expressing gratitude right in that very moment!
If all you come up with is, “I’m grateful I’m breathing,” then that’s wonderful. Even the smallest of gratitudes can be transformational.
As you scan your brain for items, people and experiences you’re grateful for, you’ll begin to notice your mood lifting over time. The practice of gratitude isn’t meant to minimize the setback or the emotions you’re feeling. (Remember, it’s important to give yourself permission to feel ALL of your emotions.) Practicing gratitude does, however, bring you back to the present moment where you’re likely breathing and safe.
What are you grateful for this very moment?
4. Cultivate Confidence
Confidence is a muscle we can build each and every day. In fact, the latest research proves that confidence is not a fixed psychological state. It can be cultivated by taking more action, trusting your instincts and choosing to worry less about people-pleasing and perfection.
One daily activity I recommend to boost your confidence is to celebrate the small wins - not just the big ones. When you take time to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate the small wins, those wins begin to build upon themselves. Reaching your goal of a comeback, or anything else, will become more doable and manageable.
Managing your mindset is a significant step in any comeback. Begin by identifying your beliefs and tweaking them to keep you motivated.
When I was training for my first 100 mile bike ride for charity, I had to prepare myself to climb 4,000 feet. What?! At that point, I had climbed hills in my car or while walking up them. Never had I climbed a big hill while sitting on a bike. It seemed impossible to me.
The first big hill I trained on proved to be too difficult. I didn’t think I could make it up to the top, so I jumped off my bike and walked instead. The next few hills I attempted were tough, too. I stayed on my bike, but my mother would have washed my mouth out with soap if she had heard what I said along the way.
Then I had an idea! What would happen if I cheered myself all of the way up to the top?
I tried the experiment on the next hill and the climb was easier! So I began telling myself things like, “You’ve got this. This hill is SO doable. It’s going to feel GREAT when I arrive at the top.”
The more I believed I could overcome the challenge, the more I did. The same holds true for you. Believe you can do it and you will.
What beliefs are holding you back from making your comeback? How can you tweak them to better serve you?
Own Your Power
The lesson I hope you’ll take away from any comeback is that you have immense power to rise.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. —Maya Angelou”
The nuances of a comeback vary from person to person and situation to situation. What’s helped you make a comeback? Share your helpful tip in the comments of this blog post. I know you’ll inspire others.