How do you recover after an emotional setback?

Question:  How do you raise your energy when you’ve been stepped on and emotionally trounced by another person, and your self esteem is so low that you can’t even imagine ever being happy again? 

Answer:  I think everyone goes through periods in their lives when they feel stepped on and emotionally crushed.  Sometimes the emotional pain is worse than any physical pain you can imagine.  I know, I’ve been there myself.  Trying to find happiness, trying to find even a smidgeon of joy, can be difficult, especially if you have low self esteem or otherwise feel powerless.

Find positive thoughts.  What has always worked for me is grasping at the positive, no matter how faint or how far off it may seem.  Find one thought that makes you feel a little tiny bit better.  “Well, at least I have a roof over my head.”  Or, “Well, at least I still have my family.”  Try not to let yourself become overwhelmed with negative feelings or they will bury you in an avalanche of despair from which it’s hard to dig yourself out.  Keep grasping at thoughts that put you in a better position than you initially saw yourself.  Make a list of what you still have that’s important to you or that makes you feel good, safe, or secure.

Connect with loved ones.  Another way to raise your energy is to talk to someone who loves you and cares about you.  Friends and family are excellent at helping you see that you are not alone, and helping you find positive thoughts.  Let them know you need help, and ask them if they will listen to your problem. 

Keep your perspective.  It’s also important to put things into perspective.  Maybe it’s not as bad as you’re imagining.  Compartmentalize your problem so you don’t let it permeate your whole life.  Maybe you lost your job but you have an awesome and supportive wife and 3 great kids who are the light of your life.  Maybe your husband asked you for a divorce but you’ve got great friends and a fantastic career.

Help others.  One of the best ways to raise your energy is to help someone else who is down, troubled, or depressed.  By offering a blessing to another you will feel blessed in return to be able to help someone.  It’s a win-win because the other person gets something that will help them and you begin to feel better and more powerful yourself.

Feel gratitude.  Nothing raises your energy higher than offering prayers of thanks for what you have. 

Learn from the situation.  Your situation may really be quite horrible but what’s worse is to fall into the same trap again.  If you just left an abusive relationship, learn from it and don’t get into another one.  If you just got fired figure out what you really want to be doing and see it as an opportunity to find something better.  If you think low self esteem got you into the situation, work on improving your self esteem.

Don’t beat yourself up.  What you don’t want to do is beat yourself up after someone else has already beaten you up.  That serves no purpose.  If you start hearing thoughts in your head like, “I’m just a stupid-head,” or “I’m a no good rotten person who isn’t worthy of love,” or “Who is going to hire me now?” you just stop those thoughts right out of the gate!  That’s fear talking.  You can’t allow yourself the luxury of a negative thought.  That will anchor your feet under the water and you’ll drown.  Keep your chin up.  If you can’t find a positive thought at least don’t let the negative ones creep in.

Take care of yourself.  Take some time to do something joyful.  See a movie, take a walk, call a good friend, get a spa treatment, dine at your favorite restaurant.  Indulge yourself a little.  Don’t do something destructive like eat 10 bowls of ice cream, but do something to show yourself that you still care.

Sometimes bad things happen.  How you handle it determines the course of your life.  Will you pull through or allow it to bury you?  Find strength in what you still have going for you.  Sometimes life throws us into the raging river.  Whether we sink or swim is up to us.  Keep your chin up and your head above water so you can find your way back to the shore.  Look for help along the way.  It can come from many places.

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