Emotional Setback: Woman smiling with eyes closed hugging a man
Written by David Davenport – Contributing Author Healing Arts Institute

Experiencing an emotional setback can change our lives in unexpected ways. There are times when we make a conscious effort to start fresh and make a better life – New Year’s resolutions come to mind right away. It’s almost ritualistic in how we approach these promises we make to ourselves. 

Sometimes we keep them, many times we don’t. These promises are safe to make because we have control over when we choose to ‘reset’ and whether we even follow through at all. If only life were always this predictable…

Death, divorce (and unforeseen global pandemics) can upend our lives in ways we never expected causing massive emotional devastation and financial turmoil. The impact seems so much greater because we did not choose for this to happen. We did not want this to happen.

Whether we choose or it is chosen for us, the outcome of these events can actually lead to extremely positive life changes. We just have to be willing to do one thing to make that happen…

We have to let go.

Getting back to the way things were may not be possible, practical, or even what’s best for us – and coming to terms with that may be the hardest part of the journey. Let me give you a few tips to help you re-frame your situation so that you can take control of your life path again.

Take back control of your life

You don’t have to like the situation that you find yourself in, but you do have to accept it. The world moves on whether you want it to or not, and the most empowering thing that you can do is take responsibility. It’s not your fault, but it is your life. You’re the only one who can change it.

As much as you may want to point a finger at someone or something, it won’t help get you to where you want to be. Taking ownership of your life circumstances puts you back in the driver’s seat. It helps you to build and maintain self-respect while you slowly put the pieces back together.

Define new realistic goals

If you continue down the same path you have always traveled, your result will always be the same. Change in difficult times can be painful but setting new goals can be exhilarating and life-altering. If you want a new life, there is no better time than now to start. Set realistic deadlines and take small steps towards making each one a reality.

Setting small and attainable short-term goals will give you a boost to your confidence and motivate you to do more. The more you can accomplish, the more in-control you will feel about the direction of your life. When starting over, always start small.

Be consistent with your new goals

It can be incredibly difficult to maintain consistency when trying to adopt new habits. It’s even harder when you’re struggling with the weight of an emotional anchor on your soul. But that’s why we start with small goals!

Work towards at least one of your new goals every day, even if you don’t want to do it. Slow progress is still progress, and before you know it you’ll be on your way!

Find support

Having people to help guide you is imperative during times of change. Friends, family, therapists, and coaches can all be amazing sources of strength and inspiration. With enough time, experience, and perspective you will see that it is possible to turn what was once a tragedy into a redefining moment to start the life you’ve always deserved.

Healing Arts Institute has an amazing staff of friendly and highly trained therapists to help guide you in the right direction.


Galli, Anthony. “How to Be Outrageously Consistent | 7 Tips to Be Consistently Consistent.” Medium, 21 June 2018, medium.com/the-mission/how-to-be-outrageously-consistent-7-tips-to-be-consistently-consistent-a32fd1c0a250.

Weinberg, Melissa. “The Power of Setting Short-Term Goals.” This., 2020, this.deakin.edu.au/self-improvement/the-power-of-setting-short-term-goals.

“Do You Accept Responsibility for Your Actions?” Goodchoicesgoodlife.Org, 2014, www.goodchoicesgoodlife.org/choices-for-young-people/accepting-responsibility-.



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