Do you wish you could stay strong when setbacks hit and things go wrong? If so, you’re not alone! Setbacks and disappointments are a part of life, but learning how to effectively deal with them, can help to strengthen us from within.
When faced with setbacks, disappointments and stagnation, the first thing to do is not to fight back harder, but to step back and regain perspective before proceeding. This may feel counterproductive at first, but it is vitally important.
When we get so focused that we see things as black and white, good or bad, we can get boxed into rigidity. Truth is, life consist of an entire spectrum of possibilities, rather than just two choices. Stepping back and refocusing opens our minds to more ways of seeing and acting in life.
It does not always require a major shift; even a small tweak can make a difference. Just step back and shift your perspective enough to include one more way of looking at that situation. Is it really true that you are the only actor responsible for creating a desired outcome? It may be more accurate to say you represent one of many conditions that need to come together for something to unfold.
Even when we put our best into something, the outcome might not be what we expected. There may be very strong messages from inside and around us telling us that the outcome is the most important thing, yet that is a limited perspective. The outcome is less important than cultivating our capacity to be with whatever is, even when it is not at all what we have wished for.
This means learning to be okay with not knowing, with not being able to control the outcome. We continue to practice and train our ability to at peace within, and we don’t take the outcome personally.
This is at the heart of authentic spiritual work: it includes both being and doing; awareness as well as the discipline of application. What keeps us pliable in this often challenging process, is the attitude of gratitude.
Gratitude is not dependent on external circumstances. We don’t feel gratitude just because everything is going great, although that’s important to acknowledge. We especially need to practice gratitude when things are not going the way we want them to. It’s when things go wrong, that we are faced with deeper attachments and desires that often masquerade as needs.
To stay flexible, we need to practice gratitude anyhow; similar to the concept of “hallelujah anyhow” that is often heard in black churches; giving thanks and finding gratitude not because of our circumstances, but despite them.
The challenge is to stay in a receptive, open place, not fighting against what’s happening, but digging deeper within to live from our core values, to be the difference we wish to see in the world, and to lead by example in making a difference despite the setbacks we may face. It requires us to dig deep and keep showing up, doing our best with the resources and gifts that we ourselves have been given to make this world a better place.
And when our best is not sufficient to change things around yet, we entrust the outcomes to a Higher hand and we stay the course with compassion for ourselves and others. Once conditions are appropriate, the outcomes will be sure. In the meantime, the work remains because living from our true core and purpose is the only meaningful way to live. Even when conditions are not yet appropriate for optimal outcomes to show up, we can say “hallelujah” anyhow, and stay the course.
Setbacks and delays are part of life’s reality, and they are fully workable. Our practice is to not pull away from the dissonance, not to withdraw from what we are faced with; and in that place where commitment and discipline meet the obstacles, our souls learn resilience and strength.
This is true especially when you feel outnumbered and alone. Don’t get locked into the duality of blame and shame! You cannot be successful by feeding what you are fighting, so when you reach this point, step back and regroup!
Do something good instead. Recognize that we need the shadow to show us the light, and navigate by forgiving the limitations of the shadow and finding a way to shine the light.
One of the biggest pitfalls in our society is the way in which personal preferences are mislabeled as needs. People often attempt to manipulate others by presenting their emotional preferences as needs, and then demanding these “needs” be met. Listen to individuals for a day and you’ll notice how often this is used to manipulate: “I need you to be quiet now,” “I need you to listen to me,” “I need you to do this right now,” and the list goes on.
In reality, these statements confuse emotional preferences with needs. They are indicative of misappropriate use of the limbic brain, where needs and preferences are often confused in early childhood. Adults who get stuck in this dysfunctional behavior, create a lot of chaos for themselves and others.
An emotional “need” is not the same as the biological need for oxygen, food and shelter; it is simply a preference. In fact, psychologist Steven Stosny identifies only one valid emotional need for adults, and that is to act consistently on deeper values.
When we consistently act from our deeper values, all the emotional preferences that parade as important needs, will either be satisfied as a byproduct of meaningful living, or they will drop away as unimportant in the bigger lens of living a purposeful life.
The best way to attain the life you want to have, is to approach it from the perspective of living it in alignment with your deeper values and meaning, not from emotional preferences masquerading as “needs.”
When you do that, you will find your roots digging deeper so you can stay strong when things go wrong.
About The Author:
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.
Are you feeling rushed as you read these words right now? Welcome to the modern world of constant connectivity! And the faster our pace of life, the more essential it becomes to nurture our inner life for resilience.
We’re living in an amazing age, every bit as futuristic as the Jetsons or Star Trek sagas some of us grew up with. I love being able to connect face to face with clients on the other side of the world, or download a song in a second. Yet this continuous connectivity also poses a challenge: many of us have trouble disconnecting from all the intensity for some peace and quiet. Our inner life can silently wither even as we chase the outer holy grail of success.
The thinner we spread ourselves, the more we skitter across the surface of our outer lives, never going deep. And technology can track us down just about anywhere, anytime, it seems there is literally no escape!
Trying to keep up the pace can take a huge toll. That stress shows up in suppressed immune systems, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and digestive ailments.
What is needed is more resilience: the ability to rebound from setbacks and challenges, similar to the elasticity of a rubber band returning to its original shape after stretching.
Resilience can be developed with practice, just as you can develop muscle strength by exercising.
The process of developing resilience starts with a reminder that our true nature is eternal and not time-bound. We literally need to disconnect and remember that our souls exist in timelessness. Poet E. E. Cummings put it this way:
“How fortunate are you and I
whose home is timelessness:
We who have wandered down
from fragrant mountains of eternal now
to frolic in such mysteries
as birth and death
a day, or maybe even less…”
By connecting to the soul’s eternal nature, we regain our inner sense of poise. We can learn to not push into the future, nor run from the past, but to walk our path in this present moment with unhurried grace. Lama Surya Das calls this place of the eternal present “Buddha Standard Time.” In his book with the same title, he quotes Liu Wenmin, an early sixteenth century poet, making peace with time:
“To be able to be unhurried when hurried;
To be able not to slack off when relaxed;
To be able not to be frightened
And at a loss for what to do,
When frightened and at a loss;
This is the learning that returns us
To our natural state and transforms our lives.”
The busier we are, the more we need time out of the rat race to regain perspective and renew ourselves from within. It is our inner life that ultimately sustains us, and not the outer bells and whistles.
Honoring your inner path of truth is essential for a meaningful life. Research by palliative caretaker Bronnie Ware showed the number one regret of dying people is wishing they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves, and not the life others expected from them.
How do we honor our inner compass amid the frenetic demands of life so we can live without regrets? Three concepts come to mind: Stay true. Stay present. Follow the energy.
- Stay True:
A commitment to truth, at all levels, is automatically a commitment to freedom. It is always truth that sets us free. And where Higher truth prevails, why would anyone need to lie?
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius advises his son Laertes:
“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Any “security” gained through loss of inner freedom actually submits to fear at the cost of integrity and truth. A nation that puts national security above personal freedom has lost its true power base. In saying this, I am not suggesting that a country should suddenly lower its guard against all enemies (both real and imagined). I am saying that addressing the outer issue before addressing the inner conditions in consciousness that created it, will simply not solve the problem.
This is why politics is not the answer to what plagues the human condition. Politics is like a trainer who seeks to harness and train the collective energy so it will function for the good of all. It will ultimately succeed only at the lowest common denominator.
True freedom is an inside job that starts with elevating consciousness at the individual level by aligning to Higher truth. That alignment fosters confidence, resilience and trust.
- Stay Present.
Stay in the Now. Past and future are always adjuncts to that. Don’t let the busy-ness of the world rob you of this priceless gift of NOW.
That means you need to make peace with your past so you can live without regrets. It also means you need to release the need to control the future because that is an illusion causing unnecessary anxiety.
You and I do not know what the future will look like because it is not yet manifest. There is no other human who can accurately predict how life will play out, because the future is created through a myriad possibilities and individual choices that ultimately manifest when conditions are favorable.
There are no veterans or pros for where humanity is going now – it is new to all of us. The choices you and I make in each present moment, will collectively decide the future that unfolds for us. So let’s nurture our inner resilience and stay true to our path right here, right now!
- Follow The Energy.
Let your body be your barometer. It will show you what you really need. You always create the perfect scenarios to get what you really need.
There are no good or bad energies. All people and things are just energy… which is, essentially, neutral. Energy is as neutral as the electric current that lights up both a cathedral and a drug lab.
Some frequencies of energy may seem particularly useful and attractive to you for where you’re at in your individual consciousness right now. Other frequencies can repulse for the same reason. That does not make them good or bad; they are simply useful to your journey at this particular time or not.
Pay attention to the things that attract or repel you; they are clues to what you need to do, choose or say in order to move forward on your path.
Together, these three principles can help you cultivate a richer and more resilient inner life, no matter how much turmoil you face in your environment.
About the author
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.