When life knocks you down, do you bounce back fast or drown in your emotions?
If you struggle with coping with life’s blows, you’re not alone.
Everyone encounters challenging times in their lives. I think we can all agree that you never know what life will throw at you. Life is one big rollercoaster ride of ups and downs.
There will be times when you feel like you’re on top of the world, while other times, you may feel like you’re at rock bottom. Most of us will sway on both ends of the continuum at some point in our lives.
Playing with the unknown makes the journey through life equally exciting and terrifying.
If you’ve been clinging to dear life with the belief that life is supposed to be linear, you’re in for a rude awakening.
When bad things happen, it’s natural to feel down. You may even fall into the trap of assuming that things will never get better. Unfortunately, this mindset is the very thing that keeps so many people stuck in one place and drowning in victimhood.
This wild ride that we call in life is actually an endless string of highs and lows, successes and failures, setbacks and comebacks. This is why it is imperative that you develop your resilience muscle.
My Personal Journey With Bouncing Back
I know how hard it is to pull yourself out of the rubble when life knocks you down. My rock bottom was ugly. I wasn’t ready for it. It hit me like a ton of bricks and left me feeling hopeless.
A brain injury will do that to you. I like to call it my “silent trauma.” On the outside, I looked totally normal, while inside, it felt like I was slowly dying.
I was in a battle with my brain. It felt like I couldn’t win, no matter how hard I fought. My nervous system was stuck in the “on” position. It wasn’t until I connected to my body intelligence on a deeper level that I started to move from a position of helpless victim to victor of my life.
My greatest knockdown in life tested my physical, mental, and emotional resilience. However, through it all, my ‘bounce-backability’ remained strong.
In many ways, this horrible experience has become my greatest gift. It’s given me the ability to connect with my mind, body and, and soul on a whole new level. More importantly, it led me to my life’s purpose.
Today, I’m the Founder and Creative Director of You 2.0, a dance movement medicine practice that helps women move with their mess so that they can heal trauma and become more resilient to life’s blows.
In my experience, the goal of resiliency isn’t just bouncing back fast. Rather, it’s about learning how to bounce forward. In order to prevent the same mistakes from happening again, it’s not enough to merely rebuild yourself.
You’ve got to take it one step further and find meaning in difficult times so that you can your transform pain into possibility.
The Importance of Resilience
Have you ever wondered why some people bounce back faster from challenges, while others fall and can’t get back up? It comes down to resilience.
Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.
How you approach setbacks, in large part, determines your level of success in life. This is why it’s so important to possess a resilient mindset.
The great thing about resilience is that it’s a trait that can be learned and cultivated with practice. Just like a muscle, you need to flex it every single day.
Keep in mind that possessing resilience won’t magically make your challenges go away. However, it will give you the ability to bounce back faster so that you can return to enjoying life to the fullest.
In the words of Dr. Steve Maraboli,
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving; we get stronger and more resilient.”
5 Steps To Bounce Back When Life Knocks You Down
When it feels like you don’t have the strength to get through difficult times, I’m here to tell you that you do.
Take a moment and think back to every hardship you have endured in the past.
You are still standing. Why do you think this is? What was it about your character that allowed you to get through these difficult times?
I would argue that people don’t give themselves enough credit for how truly resilient they are, and have always been.
It doesn’t matter how many times you fall. All that matters is that you bounce back.
I’m a true believer that you will never know how strong you actually are until being strong is the only option that you have.
I am the living proof that you can transform rock bottom into a life that is truly purposeful. However, you’ve got to believe that this is possible for you.
Here are five steps to bounce back fast when life knocks you down.
1. Reframe the Difficult Experience
Let’s face it… it’s disappointing when life knocks you down. In this state, it’s easy to drop into self-pity and blame the world for your problems. The internal narrative, “Why me?” may play out in your head like a bad record.
However, just because you get derailed, that doesn’t mean that you’ve failed altogether. I like to give myself five minutes to wallow in my disappointment and then, I get back to being an emotional gangster.
How do I do this?
By reframing my interpretation of a negative experience.
Reframing means changing the way you think or “talk” to yourself about a stressful event. Instead of saying “I give up”, “I’m a failure,” shift your internal narrative and say something like, “This is merely a setback. I will get through this because I’m a strong person.”
It all comes down to the meaning that you give experiences in life, both the good and the bad. Stressful life events are merely opportunities for you to grow and become more.
2. Show Yourself Compassion
I believe that self-compassion helps you face life’s challenges with more grace and ease. No matter what setback you encounter in life, don’t beat yourself up about it.
Whether it was something within your control or not, show yourself some self-compassion.
When you take the time to be kind to yourself, you are reinforcing the idea that you deserve to be treated well. The worst thing that you can do is blame yourself. This is a surefire way to experience feelings of shame which is a strong burden to bare.
Self-compassion acknowledges the reality that you are having an unhealthy moment, not an unhealthy life. You always have a choice what the next moment is going to be.
The next time that chaos strikes, ask yourself what you need in order to feel more grounded when everything in your environment feels uneasy.
Showing yourself love is all about acknowledging and accepting that you aren’t perfect and neither is life! All any of us can do is our best.
Adopting this mindset will allow you to view challenges more objectively and in turn, feel more in control of your life.
At the end of the day, you cannot control how others react or what the world gives you. However, you can always control your inner world.
3. Take Responsibility for Your Life
If you refuse to take responsibility for life’s setbacks, you avoid problems altogether and, in turn, disempower yourself.
A setback may not have been your fault. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take ownership of it. When circumstances are unfavorable, it takes guts to say, “I’m owning this.”
Spending time and energy being bitter towards a situation is a waste of time. You can’t move forward in life if you’re too busy blaming the world for your problems.
Avoid making excuses at all costs and recognize the role that you played in the situation. This is how you will feel empowered to learn from your mistakes and bounce back fast when you get knocked down.
In the words of Erica Jong,
“Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: No one to blame.”
4. Find The Silver Lining
Life acts in funny ways. What may seem like the worst thing in the world may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
Did life really knock you down, or is life just trying to steer you in another direction? The second that things aren’t going our way, we’re often inclined to think of it as a bad thing. But what if it isn’t?
By looking at the bright side of a difficult situation, you will feel more empowered to find a solution to the problem.
Research shows that having a positive outlook in difficult circumstances is not only an important predictor of resilience, but it is the most important predictor of it.
Optimistic people always look at obstacles and challenges as opportunities to improve themselves. If you can see the glass half full, you will be a happier person overall, regardless of life’s knockdowns.