“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”- Charles R. Swindoll
Have you ever felt like you won the fight only to be knocked
down again? The glory can feel so
fleeting. It’s as if the universe
doesn’t want you to get too comfortable with the win.
For some, they take hit after hit and still get fists up
ready to go at it again. But for others,
the continuous hits drop them to their knees where they can’t seem to steady
themselves enough to get back on their feet.
I would be the latter. . .
They feel invincible:
How California’s coronavirus plan went wrong- The Guardian
How did we get here?
California struggling to stay on top of pandemic- San Francisco
‘We opened the floodgate’:
Doctor explains why California COVID-19 cases keep going up- ABC 7
These are just a few of the recent headlines touting the recent
surge in COVID-19 cases in California after reopening efforts.
It’s as if we were celebrating the knock out—turning our
heads just for a moment to enjoy the crowd’s cheer—when our opponent suddenly
jumps to his feet for another round.
Just when a semblance of normalcy appears and you begin to
celebrate life as you once remember—eating at your favorite restaurants on date
night, getting a much needed pedicure and planning a surprise birthday party
for your best friend—the universe says, “Not so fast!”
How you handle setbacks—like California scaling back its
reopening efforts—has a lot to do with your adaptability, coping mechanisms and
ability to roll with the punches.
I wish that I could proudly state that I hold various world
champion titles in the art of handling life’s disappointments —but that would
be a lie.
My go-to response to most things that don’t go my way is
similar to a small child being told, “No.”
I typically respond first—think later. Responses vary from flat out denial, anger
and refusal—to pouting, complaining and feeling sorry for myself. Laila Ali, I am not.
Seeing the glimmer of hope that things were getting
better—only to have it stripped away—could cause even the greatest of fighters
to thrown in the towel.
I typically need a long warm up before I jump in the ring
again. I need to stretch my emotions,
condition my responses and work out any negative self-talk before I tackle
unwanted setbacks. But I always jump
back in. Always.
Developing coping mechanisms to deal
with my depression and anxiety has been a life-long journey of acknowledgment,
discovery, patience and forgiveness. I
realized long ago that lying to myself and others about my struggles doesn’t
make me a winner. Championing for
others—and myself, does.
We all deal with setbacks in our lives—the COVID-19 setback
in California’s efforts to reopen is just one of many. Some people deal with setbacks like born
champs—going for the KO. Others—like
myself—duck and weave to stay out of harm’s way until we can get our
The following are a few tips to get you in fighting shape to
square off to life’s challenges:
Beat Yourself Up- This is something I am working daily on.
When I experience a challenge, disappointment or setback, I typically
let it affect my self-esteem and self-worth.
Negative self-talk is on autopilot and I have to work extremely hard to
beat down the voice in my head that says, “You are not good enough.” Or, “You
can’t handle this.” This takes a lot of
practice. It’s not easy to flip the
switch to life-long negative conditioning, but you can do it! Surrounding yourself with encouraging people
who are positive and supportive is key to giving you that little push you need
to start being kind to yourself after a setback.
2. Accept the Pain- The worst thing you
can do when dealing with a setback or challenge is avoid it or deny it. Acknowledging that in life you will
experience disappointments will offer you the ability to plan accordingly. Have a strong foundation and support system
that you can lean on with life throws you a right hook.
3. Focus on What You Can Control- You can
play a part in getting things back to normal by controlling how you
behave. You have zero control over
anything but yourself. Concentrate on
how you can make a change in your life and learn from any setbacks that come
your way. Be a part of the solution, not
the problem. Example: If we are struggling with reopening because
people are not adhering to social distancing and wearing masks; you concentrate
on how you can influence others to adhere to safety guidelines. If each of us does our part, we will get one
step closer to getting back to normal.
4. Don’t Give Up- No matter how dire things
are in your life, I’m here to tell you someone has it worst. Two of the strongest people I have ever met
went through hardships I would never want to imagine. One fought cancer. He ultimately lost, but never gave up hope
and never stopped fighting. The other
lost back-to-back loved ones. She is
resilient. She is a leader. She never gives up. She is my best friend. Learn from others and gain strength knowing
that if they can fight, so can you.