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Identifying and Processing Setbacks

Setbacks are hiccups or speed bumps that are not supposed to bring you to a screeching halt. They are more like those things that slow down progress so that you can get a closer look at what is going on. There may be some modifications needed or areas within yourself that need adjusting.  However, some forms of setbacks are not as easy to deal with as others; with the right perspective, you will see it as a time to refresh and get back in the game.


Have you ever been in the middle of watching your favorite television show to have it interrupted by a broadcast signal intrusion? The message played then you were able to continue watching afterward.  It did not completely stop your favorite show just interrupted it. You may have missed details, but you were able to move forward. Well, we experience these setbacks emotionally as well. It throws us off our game; it’s like getting punched without warning. It takes a minute to regain momentum, but it does not completely stop you.  Even if you fall out, you do not stay down.  Emotional setbacks range from minor to major. The severity will determine how long the shake back will be, but you shall recover with proper modalities in place. There will be so much insight gained you will have tools to take immediate action should it happen again.  It will also give you the ability to help the next person. 

Emotional setbacks come in the form of a job loss, a break-up, divorce, a loved one passing, a delay in reaching a goal, your child acting out, a friendship is rocky, unexpected expenses, or having a big project fall through. Disappointments such as these are only a few examples that will cause an interruption emotionally.  When facing any of them, it is vital to expect discomfort.  A range of emotions erects when this happens. It is essential to deal with each by identifying it, acknowledge your thoughts when this emotion presents itself, and process why you are experiencing it. Journal therapy is an excellent tool in this case.  It is a good idea to have a positive attitude during said times. It is so easy to fall into a mindset that will further trap you, so fight for yourself and your mental health. As stated earlier, learn and grow from the situation. There is a key that lies within all setbacks that open the door to the shake back. It is up to you to access the key, unlock the door and thrive.  Practicing self-care during these times will also help in the process. Self-care for someone whose relationship has ended looks like getting rid of everything that reminds you of the person, mainly if that includes gifts, they purchased for you. If there were any sexual encounters, new bedding is vital.  Proper connections during these times are something we often miss. If the setback was due to a failed relationship, connect with a relationship coach. They are available to help you walk through the process, provide tools and accountability to make sure you do not sink back in the cycle. 

If a setback makes you feel like a failure, that is a sign of cognitive distortions at play, and a Cognitive Behavioral Coach would be beneficial to you.  Your thought process stops you, not the setback. We keep pushing in delivery the same way we should display when moving past setbacks. You may not get it on the first few pushes, but that one push comes that brings forth promise.  Would you quit during delivery?  Would you trap your promise in the birth canal? Would you give up halfway through the process? Nowadays, white coats will cut you open without a second thought. Imagine giving up and having what you were supposed to be doing snatched up by someone else who is now thriving.


Rather than seeing a setback as a complete failure, accept how it makes you feel and understand you are not a failure just because you have a setback. Anyone who wants to do anything of value in life experiences setbacks; there is no avoiding this.   Find inspiration that will help you to keep going. Avoidance strategies do not work; hiding your feelings or pretending you are okay only worsens the situation. Doing this suppresses the emotions that will show in everything you do as time progresses.  Feel it! Give yourself time to grieve and be more concerned with your well-being than what others think of you. “Let your heartbreak.” If it hurts, own that and heal. We have become so accustomed to coping and not healing people do not realize when they are hemorrhaging. Loss has become routine, and we equate success with loss.

How you choose to handle disappointments is vital to mental and physical health. There was a time when I did not know how to process, so I developed a coping mechanism called isolation. I have a new eBook called the Isolated Trap I will be publishing soon that goes into further details about its dangers and how I made it out of that cycle. I was depressed, and I would experience bouts of severe depression with every disappointment. I started to feel like my life was a disappointment, and that mindset caused a complete halt in everything I had going on or desired. My perspective stopped a plan before it started.  Pain killers became my go-to as I isolated. I did not want feel it; escaping was more manageable, and to me, that was better than what I was feeling at the time.


 For example, failed relationships affected my ability to rest, focus on the day-to-day task and eat. I experienced those failures as rejection, which took root as a child. I overthought everything, and I’d lose sleep trying to analyze what went wrong, why it went wrong, and what I could have done better.  At the time, I did not understand doing this was only piercing the wound. It was only making the hemorrhaging worse; it was causing a need for a transfusion. Focusing was a task in itself. My eating habits changed. Plagued with pain, it felt as though my intestines were always in knots. Therefore, my portion sizes decreased drastically; weight loss was immediate. The sadness, guilt, embarrassment, rejection, and humiliation surfaced at times or came forth as I started to heal. I have felt them all. Each came with pain points that took my breath away.  A setback like this is debilitating depending on the investment made in the relationship.   It felt like someone had died; I felt like I was grieving. 

If you are experiencing a setback of any kind, here are some healthy ways to unpack and process those emotions:

1. Feel what you are feeling and release it.
2. Cry, shout, talk, or write it out. Use natural creativity to express your feelings. Journaling is the safest space you can share your experience “Unaltered Voices.” A method called The Unsent Letter is a great way to say what you could not organize those emotions.

4. Reframe the experience by looking for the good that came out of it and building from there.
5. Learn from the experience and apply what you learned moving forward.

6. Seek proper counseling and/or a life coach.
7. Find a new hobby, learn something new, do something that you have always wanted.

8. Set new goals for your life. What is it that you desire?

Thank you for reading this article. If it helped in any way, please share with others and subscribe for more.


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  1. This so powerful it's refreshing and Reminding me the ways I have overcome yet thriving. Appreciate your Therapy.

    1. Thanks for reading. I am glad it brought some additional healing to you.


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