A Hard Pill to Swallow: Overcoming Setbacks in Life

Posted June 2, 2011 by Under ACTion, Empowerment, Optimism, Overcoming Obstacles

Overcoming some of life’s biggest challenges can be hard, but it is much manageable when you take a step back and process it correctly.  I recently encountered a person that I thought was close to me, that let me know that after all the help they had given they could no longer be apart of a project I am working on.  It was so sudden, such a cold email, with virtually no explanation.  Being a person who genuinely loves people I felt like this guy below, but I felt like I had to swallow this hurtful pill.

A Hard Pill to Swallow

I wondered what did I do, was it something I said, was it something I did not say.  I reached out to this person, but was not able to reach him.  I called friends and asked their honest perspective.  I emailed him to find out what happened and see if I could make things right, but that did not work.  I emailed a close friend and sent him the email trail to see if I did something that I did not see, but he also saw nothing that I did, but rather he thought it was something the gentleman was going through.  What I realized is that although I genuinely cared about the relationship with this person, what was bothering me even more was that I was not in control.  It did not matter what I did, it just did not seem to work, and that is when the light came on (after about four hours of discouragement).

It was eating me up inside that I could not solve it with this other person, as I had no idea what to solve.  I came to a resolution that I am the only person that I have the ability to “control” and being frustrated by what I could never control would only serve to frustrate me more.  It was discouraging to be quite honest.  I did not feel like working on my book, and I needed help!  These are the questions I asked and answered, and how it might help you to overcome a setback in your life as well.

1.  What was my contribution to the setback?

I had to first reflect and think how (if at all) I contributed to the problem.  Most times we automatically go to blaming other people for the setbacks, but I wanted to find out how I could improve in this situation.

2.  Who can I talk to for wise counsel?

I talked it over with my wife, called a good friend and prayed about the situation.  I realized that I did not want to handle this on my own because my thoughts would run away with me.  Because I have established Healthy Relationships I could count on the people in my inner circle to provide me with great wisdom and counsel.

3.  What can I honestly do about it?

I realized that there was nothing more that I could do, and so I had to let it go.  I said to myself,

“This experience will either make me bitter or better”

I was determined to allow it to make me better.  I challenged myself to let the discouragement push me to new levels of writing my book, and it has.  My locus of control (check out 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) was limited and I grew to be quite content with that.

4.  If I keep this perspective what positive will it do?

I had to challenge my mindset.  I was frustrated, but realized that there are people who would love to have my “bad” day, and that challenged my perspective.  After saying that to myself I began to smile, and realized that it was really a very small matter.  This person was not in my inner circle anyway and did not warrant such a huge response.  My perspecitve changed and I had peace!

I am not sure what setbacks or challenging situations/people you are facing in life.  But one thing I can guarantee you is that if you choose to you can overcome it.  With the proper questions and help your pill will become much smaller and much more manageable to swallow and to overcome.  It will either make you bitter or better, which pill will you choose?

Which pill will you swallow

***Please share with others, if you think it will help!  Thanks for your time!

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5 Responses to “A Hard Pill to Swallow: Overcoming Setbacks in Life”

  1. June 2nd, 2011
    Heather Says:

    Wow what a pertinent post for me today! I have been dealing with a similar situation, however, in this case it is a person who means a great deal to me. For me I had to 1) realize I cannot control the other person, 2) realize what choices I made to create the situation – much like your #1, 3) accept the fact as it is, 4) talk talk talk it out w/friends and 5) learn from this.

    My experience has been similar to yours. It’s tough to go through, but if we pay attention, we’ll glean the lessons through the experience and “know better to do better” next time :)

  2. June 2nd, 2011
    Camille Holt Says:

    Justin – Sometimes these situations occur and what I learned when it happened to me was that the best thing for me to do was to just move forward. Because trying to analyze myself or get them to tell what was going on was a futile effort. The next step you need to take is to decide “If they come back, then what”. I had prepared myself to be done with this person that I cared for however a year later they came with an apology and an explanation and I had already decided if they came back depending on how they came I would be open. We never know what others are going through and even more so we never know when they will be ready to share that moment.

  3. June 2nd, 2011
    Justin Says:

    Wow Heather! It isn’t amazing with timing! Yeah I was talking to my best friend today and I let him know that I would be willing to fight for hi, because he matters that much to me! I love the learn from this advice!!!

  4. June 2nd, 2011
    Justin Says:

    Camille you are so right! I left an open door for this person, because I have no idea what happened, but I will set clear expectations with this person when and if he decides he wants to reopen communication with me. Thanks for sharing your advice!!!

  5. June 3rd, 2011
    Andrews Nyantakyi Says:

    Lessons taught in this post, I was never taught in all the years in my educational life. Not even anywhere. Justin, Thanks for such a great job. You are blessing many that you may never know how much.


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