~ Reflections on Growing Wiser and Learning from Our Setbacks~
I’ve often talked about growing in terms of new experiences or in learning something new, or making mistakes that teach us valuable lessons on how to move forward or alternatively how not to move forward (i.e. don’t try that again, type of thing). Whether they are good, tough or in between, these personal experiences are the best teachers to learn from and learn about ourselves… that is if we are paying attention to the lesson. If not, sometimes it can be frustrating, or tough having to learn again and again until the message becomes absolutely clear. Sometimes for me this has been the case of “What you are doing isn’t working” or “Try something else” or “Don’t going down that path again”. Whatever it happens always seems to be followed by some new form of knowledge, a tidbit about ourselves that we didn’t know before that allows us to go in a little more prepared than the last perhaps failed attempt.
But what if that doesn’t work and we end up making it quite a few times, all leading up to a humungous oops?!?
Well, this has been the case for me- a huge stage of every-kind-of-ward growing. Which I realize only after going through some of the toughest moments and emotions that it’s left me better than before. It seems our setbacks have the pretty powerful ability to transform us into stronger versions of ourselves, which is a pretty incredible. I’ve realized this myself and gradually am trying to become grateful for the lessons. Even though, the process that precedes this realization, and transformation was tough and sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other seemed to be asking a lot; it became a necessary step in moving forward and on with life.
The lesson I’ve learned is then this is what we must do if only to prove to ourselves that we can do it and for the process to begin. Despite it being tough and me having to rely on extra support I still managed to learn a lot about myself and how I am able to grow from my own experiences and mistakes. Getting through the thick of it has also made me realize how strong and resilient I am and that if I got through this difficult time then maybe it is possible to get through any other challenges that may come my way. On this note I shall end with a quote from the wonderful Cheryl Strayed:
“You’ll learn a lot from yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery.
Be a warrior of love.”~ Cheryl Strayed
Thank-you for listening,
Reflections on Changing Directions and Setting Goals!
I’ve really been thinking about the courage it takes to pursue something new or start a new project and how to move forward from there. You know the necessary steps it takes and the hard work involved that mainly seem to stump me up from the beginning. I’ve also realized that there’s a certain courage it often takes in the doing but firstly I believe it must come in deciding to do so and following through. Without that it’s as the quote says:
A Goal without a Plan is Just a Wish
So I admire others who were able to follow their plans while I still struggle in sorting mine out. Occasionally comparing my first ch
apter to their middle or end which is in how they’ve been able to pursue their passions or take those next few steps. While not giving credit to how far I’ve come and the progress I’ve made.
With that said, here is what I learned about creating and pursuing our goals:
- Sometimes the only way to figure out what works for us; what we can do and even what our goal might be is to try. It took me many attempts at writing before I figured out that blogging is for me, and I’m still learning from it and figuring out what specifically works. There’s a lot to be learned through trial and error. Even the simplest experiences are great guides in showing us what works for us, what doesn’t and what is most important. BUT it is only through these experiences that we gain valuable insights.
- Each new step to that point seems to be built upon the last. The more you put in and work towards that goal, the clearer it will become. You may also find what isn’t working for you anymore, but even those steps will bring you closer to what does.
- With each step there is room for further inquiries and also setbacks. Both allow us to reflect on our choices and adjust the direction of the sails. One important point is being gentle with ourselves if we come into tough times or make mistakes. It’s just a lesson that perhaps it’s time to reevaluate and reflect on where we went wrong and how to move in a better direction. Reflection is good, dwelling not so good.
It can be tricky feeling ready to take on change especially if we are uncertain how. Hopefully thinking of each decision simply a step or way to try something helps us be more open to it. It’s just a step for us to see where it may lead and it’s a way for us to move past the hypothetical “ifs” or “what ifs” we often get stuck on in between deciding whether it’s something we want to do or not. I’ve embraced many new experiences this past year and learned great new skills simply by deciding to go for them and seeing how it goes, figuring things out along the way. When you decide to try and see what happens the possibilities are endless. Who knows you might end up surprising yourself.
Best of Luck, and Great Steps,
The Three Things that has Helped Me and Hopefully Can Help You!
It seems the challenging times are the ones that really shape us but also call for the most out of us. When in the midst of experiencing, working through and resolving inner, outer or both conflicts sometimes the best way to get through is simply hang tight and hope for a brighter outcome like waiting for the calm after the storm. If we have the motivation or support to help us be able to get through is a good first step, still it can take a lot of personal strength and courage to just putting one foot in front of the other when things seem uncertain or when we become uncertain of ourselves. Through my experiences I’ve learned that it’s not the easiest to go through but it is a process worth going through if only to come into a new awareness. Until then it can be a bumpy ride of sorting out but perhaps what I’ve kept in mind through my own challenging experiences can help you.
Be kind to yourself: It can be hard not to self criticize, dredge up past emotions or actions, analyze and overanalyze the situation until the cows come home but one thing I’ve learned from wrestling with these tendencies is that they are not always helpful. Sure it is important to reflect on the incident or occurrence to help us move forward and learn from our mistakes but this can also hold you back from moving forward positively and forgiving yourself. We all at one point in our lives fall prone to pitfalls and thoughts on self judgment that serve no purpose than no other to keep us down. These things are bound to happen, so be easy on yourself and know that part of hindsight comes from our errs or oversights, ones that we couldn’t have known.
Take Things Day by Day and Allow for the Process to Happen: From my own personal experience, there were many days where this is all I could in times of great stress and anxiety to get by and move forward in a positive way. If you can get through those first few days and allow yourself to take things slow by taking things day by day and for time to pass as it does, it’s a good step healthy step in keep those anxieties and self perpetuating thoughts at bay. Even if it takes longer than we would like to carry on as normal or to feel good again it is completely okay, and it’s okay if that’s all you can do. By accepting this it is another way of being kind and patient with ourselves and fears during this time. Sometimes we only have the courage of a mouse but it is still a form of courage and that’s good and worth noting. Do what you can do, and keep on, keepin’ on.
It does get easier day by day: This is probably the most overriding theme and message that I’ve realized from getting through times of tough growth or failure is that those first few days are the hardest part of rising strong but if we continue to move forward gradually it will get better. Things will look up and you’ll see that everything won’t be as hard as the first few days which can be the toughest. At one point, hopefully, you’ll realize that as time passed so has your biggest hurdles. This is where rising strong feels good and becomes easier because as the expression states: “the only way out is through”. Through the tough times, the fear, uncertainty and nervousness. There may be some days that will take a bit more of that courage while others less but either way each step forward will also lead to extra courage and ease, so don’t get discouraged and know that each will build towards progress in the end.
Stay strong and brave,
A Lesson on Self Compassion
This much I am learning about how I handle any new expectation or experience that may take some adjustment and a few tries. It won’t always go smoothly the first time yet I put these unreasonable expectations on myself to get everything done the perfectly the first time or figure out whatever this new thing is in the first few attempts. Which is unreasonable to expect of anyone, even if I am putting all that pressure on myself. In expecting to handle everything way up there I’ve far exceeded what anyone else could put on me. So I’ve begun to really look into “why” I’ve done that? where that could have come from? and how to move forward being gentler on myself- after all sometimes the ones in need of most forgiving are ourselves.
As having such high expectations for ourselves; set by ourselves are tough and aren’t always the most reasonable. I believe another thought too, is that often these are the ones most easily moved higher and higher. Sometimes no matter how hard you try or how much you’ve accomplished there’s the little critical voice inside us that taunts us to take on more- even if it may be too much-. When I’ve listened to this voice instead of my own intuition it (most of the time) has only ever set me up with disappointment, frustration and extra stress. Three things I didn’t need in my life at that moment. However what I often do need and to give myself is understanding, patience and self-compassion. Especially self-compassion.
Which I became hopeful for once realizing that a lot of my own harshness is tied to a sense of perfectionism in me. Coming from that part of my brain that feels relieved when everything is in it’s place at the end of the day or when my baking at first hasn’t turned out just like the picture. Since discovering this, and being humbly put in my place I am intent on learning how to let things go and worry less about having things go perfectly right. After all, there will always be things outside my control and for others to worry about so there’s no sense in worrying about these things myself and constantly stressing over what I can’t control. This is what I’ve slowly been working on let go that need for everything to work out perfectly or I guess my own concerns to only worry about whether I’m doing all I can. There’s things to be concerned about while others that aren’t worth the stress. Sometimes it’s best to just do what we can do, be gentle on ourselves and set those expectations a little lower in accepting this process over time because it’s been a gradual building up so it’s probably going to be a gradual letting go.
Plus! My Top 5 (so far) Favourite Podcasts and why they have helped me and can help you!
It seems inevitable that in life it’s not always going to be this fun, smooth, happy-go-lucky ride. There of course will be days where everything is going our way; the sun is out and shining; we’re well rested from a productive yet tiring day; our favourite outfit is clean and therefore ready to wear; and things are going well at work. On these days, it’s so much easier to take on the world and tackle challenges both big and small. Yet there are other days when we are feeling overwhelmed, things aren’t going our way and there is much more to take on.
Which means even the slightest little struggle or extra consideration can seem like too much. Be it criticism or an adjustment to routine which may prove possible to handle previously suddenly seems like too much at times. For me it is often this trifecta of circumstances both external and internal struggles that contribute to the feeling of being overwhelmed. Often habit is to look deeper into what has caused my distress, and may take some time to uncover the deeper issue but it’s also best to take a break from all that thinking sometimes and just relax. What I’ve found destressing or relaxing is simply putting on a good podcast to tune out those obsessive thoughts, get out of our own heads and gain a new perspective on ourselves. While reading can be effective too I’ve found some insights are better understood heard. I’ve gained so much just from listening in on the advice the Podcast hosts have given to others regarding similar questions I’ve asked myself or experiences I’ve had to make my way through wondering “if I was the only one”. Well friends, through some of the most relatable and wonderful podcasts that the answer has been found and it’s a resounding “No. Indeed we are not the only ones out there struggling”. These podcasts and their episodes are proof of just that.
So without further ado…
Here’s a list of my top 5 favourites (so far):
- Dear Sugar Radio (ft. Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond)
- Millennial Podcast (ft. Megan Tan and others)
- The Lavendaire Lifestyle (ft. Aileen Xu)
- Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert (ft. Elizabeth Gilbert and others)
- The Lively Show (ft. Jess Lively)
To check them out, search on your phones podcast function or I believe you can also find them online or under the iTunes store. Many of these I’ve found on Pinterest list pins under the Pins/Lists titled like “Best Podcasts for…” fill in the blank. So definitely check there if you are looking for more inspiration. Here’s also the links to their podcasts online: