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Setbacks are Servants

By September 22, 2014March 17th, 201952 Thoughts for the Chronic Dieter

There are many ways that we can view our setbacks. We can see them as validation of our doubts, reasons to be angry at the world, sticks to beat ourselves up with. Or we can view them as servants that help us learn, grow, and develop.

Again, let me draw on my own experience in the hope it will help you find the hidden servants in your setbacks…

So, despite my developing a fair “alreadys” list from last week, I have to start again and have a shoulder reconstruction (with a nice bill to match…private health I’ve been so good to you, and THIS is how you repay me!) So what does my mind make of this? Well, of course, it is a sign I am too old for any martial arts, that the world is totally unfair, and that I am also a complete idiot to do this to myself in the first place. However, I decided instead to use this setback as the blog topic for the week; to see how it could serve me…and, on reflection, there is much to gain! This setback gives me the opportunity to:

    • Practice gratefulness – before I took for granted the movement of all of my limbs…yesterday I found myself laughing with joy as I could swing my arms on a run! 😀
    • Learn. I thought that I was being smart by doing preventative exercises on the shoulder when I was training for a competition, but that it was excessive when I was training normally. #oops #lessonlearned #doitallthetimeyoufool
    • Focus on other values, and even clarify values. I’ve gotten a lot done, had some great chats with people, and enjoyed several great movies in my extra spare time 😀 😀 😀 . At the same time, stepping back has reinforced my love of moving, and I am setting some lofty goals for next year when I recover…
    • Accept help. Being pretty independent, this can sometimes be a toughy, but as Bill Withers sung so beautifully “we all need somebody to lean on” (here’s the song, just because it’s a great song).
    • Develop my mind. I am an optimist, but as the guru of optimism, Martin Seligman says, true optimism comes into its own when bad things happen!
    • Grow empathy – when I say “I think I understand” to my clients with similar setbacks, I think it’ll have that little more weight.

The dieting industry would love you to believe change should come easily, smoothly, and seamlessly. This way, when you have a setback, you are likely to jump on “the next big thing”…and less likely to persist with learning to do something sustainable. But the way people really change is more like waves moving back and forth on the shore as the tide comes in…the back and forth is natural…the important thing is the greater flow of the tide.

So, in hard times, try not to give yourself a hard time because you’re having a hard time. Find the servants in your setbacks…and remember, the only failure in setbacks is failing to grow.

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