Five powerful steps to successfully deal with losses and disappointments

Stuck with grief and discouragements? Want to move on but don’t know how? These five powerful steps will help you to take charge of losses and disappointments.

They say that losing something dear to your heart or being discouraged from time to time is an inevitable part of life. It’s not something you can avoid. People come and they leave, no matter how hard we try to keep them. We lose our jobs even if we work so hard for them. Unexpected things happen. And sometimes, life gets the hardest when we least expect it.

Grief can be overwhelming. And discouragements may cripple you. It’s hard to let go and move on but it’s not impossible. Healing takes time but you can move on if you choose to.

Trethowans
Trethowans

Three common negative responses you want to let go of

Moving on always requires letting go. Holding on to these toxic practices and behavior will make it even harder to heal. Therefore, if you genuinely want to get out of grief and disappointment, you need to stop doing these three things.

1) Being in denial mode

This is the first response of people who can’t accept the truth of a loss or a mistake done. Denying the current circumstances doesn’t make it go away. And running away from it definitely doesn’t fix the job either. What it does is it only prolongs the agony.

2) Playing the blame game

It’s a common defense mechanism of guilty people who can’t own up for their mistakes to put the blame on others. As harsh as it may sound, but blaming is a sign of cowardice.

Owning up to your mistakes that lead to the loss of something/someone is a better option than pointing fingers at others. Don’t justify it. Owning it, however, can help you.

3) Having self-destructive tendencies

People who are drowned with self-guilt and regret tend to destroy their lives as a form of punishment. You could’ve done it better, you could’ve done it differently. But punishing yourself won’t bring back the things you’ve lost or correct the errors you did.

Five powerful steps to move on from disappointments and losses

So how can you move on from disappointments and losses in a healthy way? Here are five steps.

1) Acceptance

The first step to moving on is acknowledging your loss and disappointments. It’s okay to grieve and it’s okay to lose control. Recognizing circumstances and emotions will lead to healing. You can’t be freed from something you won’t recognize.

According to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross in her work on the five stages of grief where acceptance is the final stage:

Acceptance is not a happy stage. This stage makes one empty of feeling, as if the pain is gone, the struggle is over and rest is at hand. It is at this stage that faith develops and growth follows. A new life is within your reach.

A crisis can be the stimulus that breaks old habits and generates change. You must allow time to bring healing – above all, you must be willing to be a healed person.”

Acceptance doesn’t mean that you don’t feel the pain anymore, it simply means that you’re not denying the situation and that you’re not trying to change it anymore. Acceptance means acknowledging that it happened.

2) Give time to yourself

As most say, healing takes time. It is important to give yourself time for all those emotions to burst out. Not many know this but suppressed emotions will negatively impact your health.

An article from Time on Mental Health stated that the “emotional stress caused by blocking emotions has not only led to mental illness but also to physical problems like heart disease, intestinal problems, headaches, insomnia and autoimmune disorders.”

It furthermore suggested that acknowledging and giving time to emotions coupled with the skills in working with them, will allow an individual to feel and become better. Give yourself all the time that you need. Go somewhere where you can let it all out and just be able to breathe in.

3) Ask for help

Many take asking for help as a sign of weakness especially if you are a mom. Mothers are supposed to appear strong in front of their children. A divorce or a job dismissal should not break you, but it does.

However, you don’t have to go through pain alone. It’s absolutely fine to need help, and to ask for it and accept it, it’s absolutely not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it takes courage to acknowledge that you’re not okay. And it takes courage to move forward. You’re not only fighting for yourself but you’re fighting for your family, for your children and for all the people that love you.

So ask for help if you need it. You may find that there are people who are more than willing to extend help than you realised.

4) Forgive

A scientific study on functional neuroanatomy of forgiveness observed a link between forgiveness and subjective relief, which supports its use in therapeutic settings as an aid for the promotion of mental health.

The feelings of grief and discouragement are often associated with anger, resentment and anguish. Someone may be the direct cause why you lost a family member, got fired from your job or failed your business. It may be a dear friend, a trusted colleague, a member of the family or…it might be you.

Though you have all the valid reasons to be and remain angry, if you want to move on, then you need to forgive. Forgiveness is a non-negotiable step for emotional healing. Forgive others and above all, forgive yourself.

Forgiving yourself might be harder than forgiving others which makes it more important for you to do so. A good relationship with yourself is the foundation of a good life and success. How you view and how you treat yourself is how others view and treat you. 

Give yourself a break and some alone time. Learn ways to improve your relationship with yourself because it matters. You matter.

5) Recall and remember

People are stuck not because they can’t get out but because they won’t get out. Rewinding all the negativities over and over again will definitely make you overwhelmed. Stop feeding yourself with negative emotions and thoughts.

If a loved one has died, then remember the good memories. If you failed in your business, then take it as a stepping stone. Use your experience as leverage to do better. No matter how bad life gets, remember that it’s not all bad. There’s always something good in everything.

In fact, we should live our lives in gratitude. Gratitude breeds happiness and contentment. A study on gratitude conducted by two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami showed that grateful people are more likely to be optimistic and to feel better about their lives.

Consequently, they had fewer medical visits in comparison to those who focused on sources of aggravation. We can’t control everything that happens in our lives but we can surely control who we will become after. Your circumstances don’t define you but may it mold you to become a stronger and braver person.

The three Ss you need to completely heal

Healing is a process and everyone is a work in progress. With that, you need to have these three Ss to make sure you are on the right track to healing and moving on.

1) A support system

People draw strength from the environment and the community they belong to. Surround yourself with your family, friends, spiritual counselors or medical professionals.

Having a support system does not only provide you aid but it gives accountability. Oftentimes, just having a person by your side is enough to go through difficult times. As Jonathan Haidt puts it in his book, The Happiness Hypothesis:

“Children as well as adults who weathered crises while embedded within strong social groups and networks fared much better; they were more likely to come out stronger and mentally healthier than were those who faced adversity without such social support. Social networks didn’t just reduce suffering, they offered avenues for finding meaning and purpose.”

Not everyone can help you. So make sure you surround yourself with the right people who understand and know what you are going through.

2) Self-love

Self-love doesn’t mean being selfish. It means taking care of yourself well enough. Brain and Behaviour defines self-love as a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness.

3) Sustainable change

There is only one constant thing in the world and that is CHANGE. Moving on can sometimes mean changing some aspects of your life. Change is good if you know how to use it well. Don’t be scared to try out new things and to begin a new chapter in your life.

Losing is just an opportunity to gain something new. If you’re an event organizer who wants to step-up your game, don’t be afraid to try out new tools like a WordPress event registration plugin that will make an event registration and ticketing process easier. Remember that hosting events helps people form meaningful connections.

Software as these are catered to your needs and are a good investment especially if you’re just getting back on track. If you are preparing for a future career change, making sure that you are healthy is the first thing you must work on.

Make the most out of losses and disappointments

Grief and discouragements are natural occurrences. And though we can’t avoid them, you can still get the most out of them. Whenever you lose someone or something, whenever you fail, remember that it’s not the end for you.

Ashes can still produce beauty if you put them into the right hands. May your story be a beacon of hope and joy. So don’t give up! You still have a story to tell.

Photo by Sherise VD