Everybody faces challenges in life. An unexpected job loss; a death in the family; a major medical emergency that you have to pay for; or even something as simple as having to move house because the owner is selling. Life isn’t life without its many setbacks. But while most people start to panic and let the situation overcome them, a few find out that they have what it takes to overcome the situation and come out as winners on the other side.

What’s the secret of bouncing back from setbacks? Is it something to do with your education? Could it be the kind of friends you associate with? Or does it just have to do with knowing what to do when such things happen? Below are 3 simple steps that can help anyone get over a major personal calamity:

Take Stock

The world isn’t over just because you had a bad day – no matter how bad it was. You still have everything else, don’t you? So what if you lost your job – you didn’t lose the skills that got you that job in the first place, did you? So what if a loved one has passed away unexpectedly – life and death isn’t in our hands anyway. So what if your spouse has left you – you still have what it takes to make it on your own.

The sooner you realize that the first thing to do in this kind of situation is to take away your focus from what you lost and put it on what you still have, the sooner your recovery from the setback. There’s definitely a place for grief, self-pity and anguish; but for how long?

The first thing to do once you get over the initial shock, therefore, is to take stock of whatever skills, possessions, relationships and other resources that are still with you. As you do this, you will begin to see things in perspective, and realize that what you’ve lost is nothing compared to what you still have. This is easy enough advice to give, but very hard to accept and put into practice. Doing this, however, will make you stronger and prepare you for the next step.

Use your Resources

Now that you know what resources you still have at your disposal, use them to facilitate your recovery. If you’ve lost your job but still have contacts within your industry – as you will likely have – then start calling up those friends and acquaintances and let them know that you’re looking for openings. Don’t be afraid of using your professional network – after all, you may not have realized it at the time, but this was one of the reasons you built that network in the first place!

If you’ve lost a family member, go and counsel with another close relative. This often helps unburden your load and can tremendously speed up your recovery from the tragic loss. It may even be a friend you are comfortable opening up to. As long as you can get it off your chest and start the healing process, it doesn’t really matter how you do it or with whom.

Using your resources wisely will enable you to quickly recover from even the most painful and life-changing experiences. The people and tools you have at your disposal will support your recovery, and you will soon be in a position to think clearly again about the future. This is a very important step – one that most people completely miss because they’re still in panic mode. If you have to recover, then it’s easier to do it when you have the right kind of help. Of course, you can rough it out and get through on your own – at times, you’ll have to – but it doesn’t always have to be that way. Make it easier on yourself by using what valuable means are available to you. The final step is probably the most important one, because it has to do with the rest of your life after whatever setback has affected you.
Remain Positive

While most people would gladly give you this platitude, few understand the true meaning of remaining positive after disaster has struck. Often, it can only be understood by those who have faced and come through tremendous challenges in their own life.

You may not have heard of Christy Brown, but you might have heard of the film My Left Foot, in which actor Daniel Day-Lewis portrays Brown, a cerebral palsy patient with an iron will to live life as a normal person. The movie is based on Brown’s own autobiography, and tells a true story that will touch your heart. Of course, you don’t have to be Christy Brown to overcome your troubles. But you do need to understand the motivation to remain positive.

Being positive in the face of adversity is one of the most difficult things to do. Your mind constantly draws you back to memories of what you’ve lost, and it takes all your energy to pull it back to where you want to go. It’s certainly not easy, but it is highly imperative if you want your recovery to be complete. But don’t think that remaining positive means forgetting your experience: far from it. The secret to this is to use your past experience to shape your future. Your future is far more important than your past, and you need to do everything in your power to ensure that your future is not affected by that past – no matter how gut-wrenching that past might be.

These 3 steps cannot be taken overnight. Don’t believe that they can. It will take time, for sure. You’ve been under an unimaginable amount of stress, and your body and mind need time to recover. But what you will gradually come to understand is that if you follow these steps, your recovery will be quicker than without them.

And make no mistake – you will forever carry the scars of that experience wherever you go. But the knowledge that you have faced the worst and overcome it will give you the confidence to face anything else that comes your way.

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