WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH…

The tough are expected to get going! How does one do that? Sounds like easier said than done, especially when you are in the eye of the storm, or nursing a disappointment or a failure.
Failure and disappointment are inevitable parts of life, yet difficult and challenging to deal with. We all face moments when we don’t achieve our goals despite our best efforts. We may not find our dream job or soul mate or that promotion for which we slogged all through the year. Relationships may end despite our best efforts to save them; friends or colleagues may betray us, we may have to face some ugly truths.

At such times, it is natural for a person to feel lost, confused, hurt, pained or even angry. It is normal, acknowledge it, accept it, but be careful not to sink into a self-pity mode. You should not feel afraid or ashamed to express it, but in a healthy manner. Allowing yourself to sit with these difficult emotions and simply feel them by sobbing, screaming into pillows, or punching bags helps the emotions run their course. It’s like the safety valve on a water heater: releasing even a little bit of pressure helps the entire system operate more efficiently. However, if you lash out or let your emotions get the better of you, you may end up worsening the situation for yourself. Rather, try to put things in perspective, starting with a reality check – was your expectation realistic? Is the situation really as bad as it feels right now? Will it matter as much a month later or a year later? Sometimes, our interpretation of what happens is in many ways more important than what actually happens. The more we can learn to frame the situation in a constructive and positive way, while still being honest, the better we are able to process disappointment.

Like any other emotion, disappointment has a spectrum of feelings such as anger, sadness, frustration, and distress. Keep a check and do not allow the disappointment to grow into stronger emotions like discouragement and depression. Find your sweet spot for anxiety relief, such as meditating, walking, listening to music, or watching a comedy. Your general state of stress and anxiety can add an extra layer of sensitivity and make you more prone to agitation. Another useful method is to journal your feelings which can be a great way to release pain and help in healing.

Work towards moving on. Make a new plan. It is perfectly fine to step back, assess the situation and change course. Remember that this one event does not define your entire life. You are a valuable person who can bring a lot to the table, whether it is because you are an experienced professional, a superb parent, a talented artist, or an incredible listener who is invaluable to your friends. Remind yourself of all of your good qualities and achievements which have brought you success in the past. How can you use these qualities to pick yourself up again. Whatever your situation, you always have choices and skills to deal with it. Think about other situations you coped with successfully and how you might apply the same skills to this situation. Get busy with the new plan and soon you will feel the weight of disappointment lifting from your shoulders.
A setback is permanent only when you give up!

If you are dealing with a phase of feeling low or defeated, Katalist can help you find your silver lining and the strength to bounce back. Reach out to me on khyatishah@katalist.net.in.