5 Ways to Deal with Setbacks & Obstacles
Life sometimes likes to throw us curveballs and it can feel overwhelming, especially since, most of the time it's unexpected and all of a sudden! Below, I share 5 key ideas to help you work through setbacks and obstacles that happen to make an appearance every once and a while.
Welcome to today's podcast! Today I wanted to talk about ways to deal with unexpected setbacks or just when life happens and steps in processing stressors properly. Now, I could do an entire podcast just dedicated to stress and distress, but that can be saved for another time. Today I just want to talk about some big ideas that I think would help you in any sort of setback that happens in your life. Now I'm not talking about physical setbacks or injury. I'm talking about things that happen in life that you know present themselves as obstacles that we have to overcome. I may be doing a mini series where I'll do a podcast next time or very soon on how to deal with physical setbacks and injury, and that's something I'm very passionate about as well. But today I'm going to be talking about five ideas that I think that would help you out.
Anytime that you experienced something coming into your life where it stresses you out a little bit and you don't know how to really process it right away.
1. Find the Silver Lining
So, the first big idea is to find the silver lining amongst the flames. Now, just this past summer, I went through a fire evacuation and the potential of losing everything. I mean I didn't know if our home was entirely an ash burned down or what. We were completely displaced for weeks on end and a lot of people would describe that as a scary event, a mountain fire being evacuated, seeing photos and flames of the entire mountain being gulped and fire and flames. I mean it was scary, but you know what? It brought our family closer together and it prepared us for if it ever happens again, it put things into perspective. It got us problem solving rather than getting stuck in the emotion of it all.
And it allowed us to be grateful for the little things and gave us insights onto that. As long as you have your life and each other, does anything else really matter? At the end of the day? Now when I say find the silver lining amongst the flames, I mean there's always something you can look at as a lesson or something you can find within the experience that you're going through. That is a silver lining, that is that kind of positive in the negative moment and it's not that people who are extremely optimistic and positive all the time don't go through bad situations, it's just that they find the positive in those bad situations.
2. Look for the good
So, that brings me to the next big idea which is look for the good. Seeing the lesson and the silver lining is the first idea. That's more of what can I find in the situation that helps me learn something new or it gives me a lesson in life.
The second one though is look for the good. So the first thing I thought when I found out about the fire and when I was experiencing all that is all that matters is that we are all okay and not hurt. Look for the good. Sometimes I even like to see things as, yup, I deserved that. Or, it's about time! Say, for example, It's been years and years since I had a flat tire happen or I got a speeding ticket. If I get pulled over or if I get a flat tire...if something happens during my day where it's kind of an obstacle...my first reaction I think to myself always is that it was bound to happen and I kind of deserved that. I find the humour in it. It's probably been a long time coming and our perception in the way of looking at a situation dictates how we cope and feel and if you can look for the good and bring the humour back into that situation and know that things could always be worse, then it helps brighten up and lighten up the situation for yourself and allows you a little bit of time and brief space to problem solve amongst that kind of humour and that light space.
3. You are not alone
Now, none of us are special or deserve specialness in situations and chances are thousands or even millions and millions of people have gone through the same exact thing you have. Which brings me to the next point which is you are never alone. Your experiences and things you've combated aren't unique, which I don't mean that in a rude or mean way. I mean that in a loving and respectful way. They aren't unique and you are not alone and thinking of it that way is a very isolated way of thinking. I'm not saying that you are not unique. I'm seeing that the experiences you've gone through are not unique. Your ways of seeing things, doing things, dealing with things, your perspectives, your magic, your gifts, your passions, your way, your view and your ability to influence and relate and connect to other people.
Those are all special and that is something that only you have in your own unique way, but what you've been through, not so much. Of course the way things have unfolded for you in your life and your experiences and your upbringing and all of that is unique to you, but the actual experiences and the obstacles and the things that you've gone through. It's all part of the human experience and it's something that you are never alone in and that should be so humbling and bring you so much solace and peace and knowing that that there's all sorts of people from all walks of life that have gone through what you're going through and that you're not alone is something that really should be cherished. To reach out to those people, to talk to those people and to connect with those people because that's where we really do connect as human beings, but also where you can get through what you're going through because you can learn from people who've already been there and done that.
There's thousands of people that have gone through a fire evacuation situation and we really need to know the difference here. I immediately thought to myself, other people have gone through this exact situation and they've got through it just fine there. Okay, I am not the first person to go through this and if you think that you're the only person to have gone through what you're going through or no one understands you, you're going to feel extremely isolated. There are so many people that probably just within your reach are going through what you're going through right now or have faced that obstacle that you can talk to and learn from their experiences and if you feel like you can't do that online, there's a plethora of resources and forums you can go to. I mean, read books. The narrative of the human experience has remained somewhat the same.
If you strip it down all the way to the beginning of it, it's growth or progress followed by struggle or tragedy followed by growth and progress and so on. I mean the struggle is needed for the growth.
4. Give yourself a time limit
The fourth idea here is give yourself a time limit. I allowed myself a certain amount of time to mope around and be scared and sad and upset and angry about the state of affairs that someone lit the mountain on fire on purpose aggravated me for obvious reasons. I mean what my brain completely went off, but then after my allotment of time was over and I vented to loved ones, had a few hugs, shed a few tears. I pulled myself together and started to see the good, the silver lining. I saw that I wasn't alone. Allow yourself permission to feel. Don't block the emotion ever, but then also don't get stuck there.
Get back up and deal with the situation at hand. Often times when there's an obstacle that comes into my life, I allow myself, you know, 10 to 30 minutes of complete emotion and I give myself a time limit because I know if I don't, I'll just stay there. I'll get stuck there and emotion begets more emotion, so when you're stuck in that negative space, it's just going to bring about more negativity. So set yourself a time limit. As odd as that sounds and you don't need to actually physically set a time limit an alarm clock. You can if you want to, but just know in your head, okay, you know I'm going to give myself 30 minutes to an hour to really dig deep in terms of the emotions that I need to let out here, but after that, get yourself together, get back up and deal with the situation at hand.
5. Seek social support
The last idea here is seek social support. Now, one of our main go to's and reactions. When something happens, say an obstacle or a setback in life that happens or when life just happens or something negative happens, we tend to want to shut out from the world. We tend to want to get quiet. We tend to want to just go within ourselves and seek support within ourselves and that's okay too sometimes if you're not ready to seek social support right off the bat, but definitely seek social support in hard times. Social support is the glue and it's how we express ourselves. It's how we connect and relate with each other. It's how we gain insights and lessons and knowledge and grow deeper in connections, so seek social support in hard times, even if it's hard for you to swallow. It's hard for you to talk about.
If it's hard for you to step outside of that comfort zone of always feeling comfortable in locking the room and being alone and dealing with it yourself. Just know that things are always easier when we deal with them together. Don't fight your battles alone. That's exactly when you need to reach out, even if it feels weird for you, do it. Be vulnerable and real and be raw. I mean, I don't know what you're facing personally in your life right now and the depths of it, but I do know that no matter what you were going through seeking social support and talking to someone really helps. Even if you feel like there's no one you can talk to. There's always somebody. There's always online forms. There's places you can go in the community to express yourself, to talk to someone and there's your friends. There's your family and I don't know your exact situation, but I know that if you follow these five ideas that it will help brighten or lighten the situation no matter what you are going through.
Those are my five ideas on how to deal with unexpected setbacks or when life happens because really it happens to all of us and I think that if we can see the silver lining and the lessons amongst the flames, we can look for the good. We can know that we're not alone and we can give ourselves a time limit on getting stuck in the negativity of it all and we can seek social support amongst those hard times. We can really effectively deal with the situation at hand and move up and onwards from it because as you know, this too shall pass and everything happens for a reason. It's either there to teach you something to help you grow or to help you connect deeper with other people and deeper with yourself, so next time you have something that's a setback in your life or an obstacle you have to overcome, I hope you can think of these five key ideas and I hope that they help you out.
Sending you BIG love today & always!
My whole heart, ♡
The Happiness Approach Podcast
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Today's QT's: Quote-ables & Takeaways from today's podcast episode & blog ↴
“Growth never comes without struggle and you need the darkness to see the light.”
“There's always a silver lining, a lesson or an insight you can take away with you in everything that you go through.”
“You are never alone in your experiences and that's a beautiful thing.”
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” - Aristotle