So there’s that moment in time when you realize you made a huge mistake. How do you recover from a major setback? How do you move forward after such a screw-up?
No one is perfect, and major setbacks happen. Daily. Even hourly: in our work, in our relationships, in our day-to-day life. But let’s swipe it aside for a second.
Take a moment to recall a major f**k up from recently, the one that makes you cringe just by remembering it? You know, that one instance that makes you roll your eyes and go: I can’t believe I was silly enough to do/act like that… well, let me raise my hand first and get out there saying –– I had one major screwup just like that a few weeks ago perhaps even sabotaging a significant relationship in my life (yet again) as a result of it.
(takes a deep breath and then exhales heavily)
You see, after the initial shock, self-loathing, anxiety, being angry and disappointed with myself; endless crying on the bathroom floor mat, resentment, and depression… in the past, it would have taken me at least a month of endless wallowing in the hell pit of sorrow even to think to get out of my dark cave and get back into the world…
Now –– now is a different story and let me share two simple yet powerful tools that I find helpful, especially when it comes to bouncing back after a major screwup in life.
Meditation as a non-negotiable part of day-to-day life
I started meditation practice in December last year, and I have been meditating daily ever since.
I firmly decided to make mindfulness practice a non-negotiable part of my day-to-day experience ––
I can’t picture my life without it anymore.
I won’t list all the benefits of meditation because there are countless books about this ancient practice already written, but I will share this –– after several months of constant mindfulness meditation I’ve noticed a few significant changes in me. I became less reactive to any stressful situations, less talkative (my mouth wouldn’t shut up for a second), less judgemental (when I was judging people what I was doing I was judging my reflection I saw in them).
And, above all, I stopped beating myself up for the mistakes (or were they ‘learning opportunities’?) I made in the past; I stopped longing for the past to be different; I stopped wanting to get back there and tweak a few things so everything is perfect and I don’t feel so crap and shameful an, and, and…
I’ve learned how to sit on my cushion facing head on all the painful emotions that arise without denying them or trying to push them down. Suddenly, the concept of #BeHereNow stopped looking scary to me; because I knew that the only way out is through.
The other day I had a catch up with one of my mentors whom I’ve been avoiding for a while if I am entirely honest with you. Why? Because he has this annoying tendency of catching and calling me out on my BS It’s a long story for another day, so bear with me.
We sat down and had a chat about mindfulness meditation and what I’ve learned so far in my practice. Mainly, we touched upon the subject of letting go of the past, of letting go of those painful and challenging situations and forgiving yourself and others.
What stuck with me were his words going something like this: Please, don’t look back, there is nothing in the past, look in the future & win it. Don’t waste your time looking back at what you’ve lost. Move on; life is not meant to be traveled backward. When a thing is done, it’s done. NEVER look back… Onward!
Okay. Will try my best to do just that –– I thought to myself.
Have you ever struggled with letting go? Have you ever tried to only use the past as a place of reference and nothing more? Is there a way to leaf through the past as you would leaf through a book, detached from emotions, especially when it comes to processing major setbacks in life? Please, share your thoughts in the comments below.
Another wise man shared with me recently: If you want real freedom in your life, you must decide to stop allowing external events to shape your happiness. And that is only done by becoming the master of meaning and finding the empowering meaning in anything and everything that comes your way during the day.
Of course, am still wondering if it’s really possible to find empowering meaning even when the times are tough and you barely can look at yourself in the mirror?
The other week I found myself in another stressful situation when someone else tried to unstitch me on purpose – and so #BeHereNow concept at the time felt like swimming through hot tar of broken glass when all I wanted was to escape the uncomfortable no-sunshine-and-rainbows moment.
So how do you stay open even when your instinct tells you to shut down and run for the hills? How do you stay present in the moment no matter what?
There is a way.
Listen, our emotional health influences how we feel and, behave in our day-to-day life. It also affects our ability to cope with stress, deal with challenges, build healthy relationships and bounce back from any major setback.
Emotional Clearing meditation, for instance, deals with those intense emotions that can erupt during the day, e.g., fear, anger, blame, anxiety. A daily emotional clearing process helps you to control your feelings, so they don’t control you. Emotional clearing also develops the muscle of emotional composure.
There are many many kinds of emotional clearing processes out there. Select the one
that works best for you. I do this once a day – either in the morning or the evening before falling asleep.
Whenever I face a tough situation, I ask myself this: What is this here to teach me? What learning opportunity is disguised as a setback or an obstacle overcoming which would only make me wiser and stronger as I advance further on my journey in life?
Instead of conclusion
I currently reside in London, and it happens that for the last 10+ years I haven’t lived further away from the river than in a 3-10 min walking distance.
Being next to any body of water is hugely important to me. And so on one of my walks to catch a glimpse of a sunset, I stopped to sit down and stared into the river for a while. Then an interesting thought occurred in my mind. And it went something like this:Be more like the Thames.
Be more like the river that doesn’t hold all of the water that passes through it… and so learn to let go of the things that are keeping you back from moving forward. Start with forgiving yourself, then see whatever happens as a learning opportunity, then… when you ready, move on.
photo source: pexels | giphy
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