There is a reason cars have a reverse gear.
Sometimes we have to go backwards in life and right ourselves, before we can keep progressing towards our goals. If everything was easy and we never had difficulty or faced failure or challenge, we would actually lose a lot of satisfaction from life, I suspect.
But this can be easily forgotten.
I found this a few weeks ago when I was laid low for a few days with illness. It really doesn’t sound like it should have bothered me much, but for those 48 hours I was really frustrated and quite miserable. When things are going well- and they had been going very well for me this year- it is easy to forget that the occasional setback is inevitable. So then when these setbacks arrive, we often don’t deal with them as well as we could.
Most of us have lives that are highly multi-faceted and we do an impressive job juggling a number of competing priorities. These can include our health, our career and financial security, friendships, family, relationships and even hobbies (obviously I’m one of those people who think hobbies ARE very important.)
Without being at all exhaustive, that is a pretty long list and the fact that for the most part we stay on top of it all is pretty amazing when you think about it. But because we don’t really think about it, we often take it all for granted.
But inevitably, considering the number of balls we are trying to keep in the air, occasionally something goes wrong (often due to no fault of our own either) and in at least one of these areas we suffer a setback. And at this time it is easy to lose perspective.
At other times, our struggles are more significant. Sometimes our relationships get rough or fail. Sometimes we suffer drawn out periods of sickness. Sometimes we struggle in our career or fail to reach other goals. As Ben Hirst demonstrated earlier this year, this happens to even the most indomitable people. Whatever it is that brings us down and however savage its impact, it can be helpful to take stock of all the other things we are doing well and that we have going for us at the time.
This isn’t a recipe for instant happiness. It is also important to give ourselves permission not to be okay too, and without any need to justify it either.
But before we mentally castigate ourselves for our failures (which I don’t really view as negative events either), our misfortune or our inability to get ‘anywhere’, it is worth reminding ourselves we are succeeding in so many ways. Give yourself credit where it’s due and remember that we can’t have it easy all the time.
Sometimes we have to take a step back and reset ourselves- for however long we need- before we can start to go forwards again.