Jill is ready for a comeback.
She has gone through a year of what felt like sheer hell as she watched the proverbial wrecking ball do its thing with her life. No need to give you all the details. A few words will do the trick:
Husband. Best friend. Betrayal. Discovery. Heart-break. Divorce. Disillusionment.
In other words…
Jill recently told me, “Okay, so the divorce is done. I’m on my own. I want to get back on track. I want momentum again. But I just can’t seem to get going.”
Anyone who has had a major set-back in her life knows this feeling all too well. On one level, you can understand the desire to get moving again. But on the other level, there’s a deeper, more hidden craving:
“I want to stop feeling this pain. I want to forget this happened. I want my heart to stop hurting.”
This is tender territory. You know you’re ready for a comeback. But you’re still drained and haunted by emotions, questions, shame and blame.
This is not a time to rush headlong into new flurries of activity. Awareness, Intention, and Creativity are the energies required now.
So, let’s start with a few reminders. These are the bigger ideas to remember as you move through your day.
This isn’t what you are “supposed to believe.” (i.e., Another thing to beat yourself up about.)
This is the level of Intention. (i.e., The deeper truth you choose as guidance, even when you’re not necessarily feelin’ it yet.)
Six Reminders about Set-Backs
1 –The Daytime Television World-View Doesn’t Promote Healing.
If you live in the Daytime Television World-View, then you see Jill as the victim. (Or “Good person.”) You see her husband as the perpetrator. (Or “Asshole.”)
While this world-view might land Jill a guest spot on Dr. Phil, it won’t help her move forward or heal. That’s because labels, judgments, should’s, and shouldn’ts keep us from showing up as Creators in our lives. They are pronouncements, which by their very nature, are designed to keep us “reacting” at all times.
The truth is that in this situation, people behaved unconsciously – and most likely, the unconscious behavior began years before the actual fall out.
This doesn’t mean that Jill won’t feel like a victim at times. Or that you “shouldn’t” get resentful, or jealous, or angry.
However, the deeper healing will come when, at some level, you remember that out beyond the Drama Triangle (victim, perpetrator, rescuer) there’s a deeper learning, and that you actively played a creative role in this situation. When you can accept that (without self-judgment), you can begin to heal, let go, and experience transformation.
Feeling better is temporary. Transformation is forever.
2 – You’re not going to get back to your “Old Self.”
Sometimes during set backs, we just want things to be the way they used to be. We want our Old Self back.
But think about this. Your “Old Self” was the self that was living so unconsciously that this situation was created in order to wake her up!
You don’t want “Old Self.” You want EXACTLY who you are now. Warts, bruises, disillusionment, and all. These things transmute into wisdom. A New Self. A Wiser Self.
She is there, waiting for this stuff to fall away so she can rise up.
3 –Repressing Emotions Keeps You Stuck
Even when the worst is over, the nature of emotion is that it can creep up and take over at unexpected, and often inconvenient times. Bitterness, shame, self-hatred, jealousy, anger. All of it is a part of the human buffet of emotional ranges in painful situations.
Now, it’s not that you should let these things rule your life from here on out. But if you try to push them down, then the creative energy that is meant to propel your life forward, is actually working so hard at repressing these emotions that its ability to help you heal is diminished.
4 – Time May or May Not Heal All Wounds. Time is YOUR Choice.
“Time heals all wounds.”
Really? Does it? Cuz most of us know at least a few people for whom time has only deepened their anger or resentment. And we also know some people who healed so quickly and moved on with such velocity that it seemed almost like denial.
The issue is not “time.” The issue is you. You can heal in an instant. Or you can take some time. But the truth is that you choose how much time. Don’t be a victim of time.
5 – After a Set-Back, We May Often Become “Addicted to Reaction.”
Jill said, “I want to get back on track, but all I seem to do now is spend my time putting out fires.”
This told me everything.
When we spend any prolonged amount of time in a place of reaction, it is very easy to forget how to get back into the energy of Proactivity (or Creativity). Remember, Reactivity is the opposite of Creativity. And Creativity is the energy that has the power to heal, transform, change, and uplevel our bodies and lives.
Often, when a set-back seems to destroy someone, it wasn’t because of the set-back itself. It was because the person never consciously moved herself back into her Creative or Proactive space. She stayed stuck in the energy of Reacting to her life.
One of the first places to begin your comeback must be re-introducing creativity and proactivity back into your being – little by little.
6 – Mental Awareness is one thing. Body awareness is another.
You can mentally understand each of these reminders. You can even tell yourself you’ve got it down. (“I already know that!”)
Well, yes. You might.
However, it can take some time to EMBODY the mental awareness that seems so obvious and true. For instance, most of us were socialized to view tough situations from the Daytime Television World-View. We were steeped in the victim/perpetrator/rescuer mindset. So, turning that around will probably take a bit more than just mentally understanding it. We will have to experience it and embody it. (This is why it will be important to include your body in your comeback. Not just your mind.)
Even though we’re placing the idea of a comeback in the context of a potentially traumatic situation, you can also use these same principles for small set-backs. After a week-long illness, an intense travel schedule, or when a problem employee quits suddenly.
So, with these things in mind, we will begin Part 2 of How to Turn a Set Back into a Comeback with a To-Do list of actual steps to take as you begin your comeback.