A new way of looking at setbacks.
We all know the idea of taking two steps forward, then three steps back, or whatever other number combinations you can think of. (Paula Abdul even sang about it!)
This concept says “I’m making progress but I am still hampered by setbacks.”
It’s how we know that our journeys are in no way linear.
Over the last few years, I have come to see such steps forward and steps back in a different light.
It’s not so much that a failure of some sort has occurred requiring one to be penalized by falling backward in line.
It’s that some kind of closure is necessary for some past situation (big or small) and you won’t be able to successfully
move forward until it is dealt with.
Oftentimes, we don’t even know what it is we’re supposed to bring to closure when a setback happens, so it can add confusion to frustration.
But there is always something that needs our attention.
For me personally, things like counseling have helped me figure out the areas of my life that have needed attention. Other things like channeling sadness or anxiety into some kind of art can also be helpful.
This mindset has certainly helped me to stress less when such a setback happens.
All of this, however, requires a certain level of surrender that is often tough to do, but you have to trust the process.
Becoming a widow was absolutely the biggest “setback” of my life.
Nearly six years later I am still picking up the pieces – I honestly don’t know if we ever get all the pieces picked up.
But in order to keep moving forward, we have to clear our paths.
And sometimes keeping the path clear means going backward for a stretch.
Think of it as backtracking to clear away debris after an unexpected storm – because isn’t that what a setback is?
We can sometimes use that metaphorical debris to help us out later on down the road.
(Example: I had a headlight go out and had literally no idea what to do – especially as my dad was out of town. But I learned and then was able to know what to do when it happened again. This wasn’t the biggest of setbacks, but it changed the trajectory of the rest of my evening and into the next day.)
That particular time was full of setbacks and it seemed like I couldn’t get anything straight.
But soon the clouds parted and I saw that I was further down the road than I even knew.
Not to mention that it feels nice to address these different areas of my life that have been needing attention.
I just may need to remind myself of all of this the next time I hit a snag in life, though!
Let’s use them to help propel us forward.
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