* We regain our perspective and see our
setback as a setback and nothing more than that, and
certainly not as anything that detracts from our value
as a human being.
We assess what factors were at play in our setback, such as
feeling exhausted or overwhelmed, and try to recognize these
warning signs in the future.
We recall specific times and situations in the past when we had
a taste of success in this particular area of struggle or
We are able to poke a little bit of fun at ourselves and not
take our moment of regression with such deathly seriousness.
We realize that we are neither alone nor unique in experiencing
setbacks, but simply an imperfect and mistake-prone human being
like everyone else.
We extend the compassion to ourselves that we would to another
person if he or she had suffered a similar setback or moment of
For instance, if we have recently lost our composure (which
happened to me just the other day when I was discussing religion
with someone), we usually feel disappointed with or even ashamed
of ourselves (Why did I let that happen? I should have
recognized that our conversation was going nowhere and either
agreed to disagree with this person or changed the subject!).
Our inner critical voice may be champing at the bit, as mine
always is, to put in his or her two cents worth.
But as is
often the case, a setback or regression of some type precedes or
paves the way for even greater progress. For some unknown
reason, a setback almost always seems to be necessary at times
in order for our next growth spurt to occur. Perhaps we
have another significant lesson to learn. Or maybe we need
to be reminded that whenever we react in familiar
counterproductive ways, such as yelling, the silent treatment,
blaming, retaliation, and the like, we are setting ourselves up
to suffer inevitable feelings of remorse or shame. A
setback, though often painful, is not without potential
redeeming value, for it frequently paves the way for a comeback
and gives us the momentum to grow more than we would have had we
not suffered the setback. Go figure! Personally, I
would prefer to make significant progress without having to
suffer setbacks, but life doesn't usually seem to work that way.