Setbacks, disappointments, mistakes and failures are part of life. Each and every one of us will go through these at some point in our lives (unless you’re superman/woman). Most of the time, there’s not much we can do to control the challenges we come up against even though we try to prevent some inevitable hiccups.

Some people are very (or naturally) resilient in the face of adversity and others are not. We all have different ways of dealing with disappointments and setbacks plus the ‘timeframe’ we take to heal. How we react to or deal with our failures and disappointments is what really counts

I know people who bounce through life, enduring setbacks and never allow their setbacks to shake them and what I noticed with these people is their upbringing and the environment in which they grew up coupled with surviving past difficult times influenced their resilience. They are ‘hardies’ and are very open to change and interpret any stressful experience as a normal part of life. They approach life with optimism and find meaning even in negative experiences.

Unfortunately, some people don’t have the art of bouncing back and standing on their feet. They need to go through healing process and cleaning up by talking and more talking (without any action) and expect things to fall into place for them or for someone else to clean their mess for them. They find it very difficult to dust themselves off after a fall – even if they caused the fall themselves.

What we sometimes call ‘a mistake’ (after the deed is done) is actually not a mistake but bad choices we make ‘intentionally’ but expect the consequences of that bad choice to go away. We evade the reality forgetting that we cannot evade the consequences. It’s like seeing a signboard clearly stating ‘beware of sharks’ but we decide to jump into the water to ascertain if there are really sharks in there. When they are ‘lucky’ to survive that mistake, they do the same mistake by ignoring warning signs – which is very foolish because wise people do not make the same mistakes over and over again – they learn from their mistakes.

When relationships come to an end, many people bombard themselves with unhelpful affirmations such as ‘I can’t cope’, ‘I can’t live without them’ etc. It’s a very good opportunity to gain clarity on what you want from future relationships and adopt a new response mechanism. In future relationships, if the ‘old stuff’ rears its ugly head, you nip it in the bud before it becomes deep-set.  For many people, a certain amount of challenge/setback/disappointment/failure has actually been a good thing for them because it has helped them to cope better in future endeavours.

We can all bounce back from anything no matter how hard. It an art we can and should learn because we’ll always face adversities, tragedies, disappointments etc. and we need to adapt to make life meaningful to us. It’s all part of the ‘joys’ of growing up and until you know what others have gone through in their short life to be where they are – just keep in mind that severe setbacks are, of course, stuff of great stories.

You don’t need to reinvent yourself or become a different person to be resilient – its mental toughness and hardiness. We have to learn from tough situations and stop walking into mistakes and mess with our eyes and ears wide open. Some failures in life are inevitable – really it’s impossible to live without failing unless you want to walk on egg shells but it makes life boring but you don’t let the failure define you.


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