There’s no avoiding it. You win some and lose some. Health changes. You fall short on goals. Circumstances conspire to prevent desired outcomes.

An article in Psychology Today by Dr. Melanie Greenberg described strategies for overcoming setbacks. I jotted down some thoughts about her guidance.

  • Face the truth. Every disappointment deserves assessment. Some get stuck at extremes. They ignore or avoid the reality of a situation, so it persists. Or they exaggerate the problem, so it consumes more energy than it deserves. The truth is somewhere in between. So don’t avoid. Deal. Problems don’t age well. Get a real grasp of the truth.
  • Allow yourself to mourn. The higher the stakes, the stronger the disappointment. Expect it to take time to take it in. Expect it to take time to disperse. Resist having resentment and regret fuel the frustration. It’s real, but it will pass.
  • Don’t become a victim. Failure isn’t fatal. Mistakes are made every day. You become a victim when your failure becomes your identity.
  • Set a path forward. Given the setback, establish what is important and set out in pursuit of it as soon as you can. If you find yourself disappointed with no plan, whether big or small, you are drifting toward being a victim. Get up, take a step. It’s the beginning of “better.”
  • Be kind to yourself. Despite what critics say, you have resources, talents, experiences, ideas, and goals which you can draw upon to move away from disappointment. What you do for yourself is crucial. Make it positive. Affirming. Loving.
  • Look for a silver lining. You can learn from every setback. Adopt a strategy that you will mine every setback for the silver lining. Every time.
  • Be willing to try something new. If you don’t like what just happened, chances are some change is in order. What will you do differently? Go down a different street? Acquire a new skill? Take on different partners? Continuing in the same way isn’t logical. Embrace change.
  • Be gritty. Those whose difficulties have formed constructive approaches to disappointment, like those described above, become experts at overcoming. It will fuel your resolve every time disappointment raises its head. Get real. Get up. Get going. That’s what gritty people do.