How To Get Through Negative Experiences

Happy Black History Month! I hope you all had a positive start to 2022. As we use this month to reflect on our past, I thought it would be important to share some tips on how to get through negative experiences. What is a Negative Experience? A negative experience can be anything that happened to you, something you’ve seen, or you have a bad day. We all have them sometimes. It’s normal to have them. Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes, when we have a negative experience, it can be hard to pull ourselves out of it. So what do you do? The first thing that I suggest is to acknowledge that you had a bad experience. By doing so, you’re able to address the pink elephant in the room. Have you ever been in a situation where you and your friend are talking about someone and the person you’re talking about is right there in the room? You find yourself using codewords for regular things to avoid the person knowing what you’re talking about, but we all know that they know you are talking about them. The same thing is true with us. When we try to avoid addressing the negative experience, our bodies use codes to mask our discomfort. These codes may look like having difficulty sleeping, feeling rushed all day, or even overeating. Our body makes us feel like this to alert us that something is wrong. When we acknowledge that something is wrong and we went through a negative experience, we can begin to break the code. After acknowledging that we went through a negative experience, it is important to allow yourself time to sit with your feelings. I’m not going to lie. This part can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Sitting with your feelings means you may be very uncomfortable with what comes up. For example, after experiencing a break up you will have many feelings. Most people feel a wave of sadness at first because they can’t imagine how life will be without this other person. This sadness may grow into anger because this person hurt you. As you continue to sit with your feelings, you may go back to feeling more sadness, you may even start to feel a sense of relief that this person is no longer in your life. There’s no right emotion to feel during this time, but allowing yourself the space and opportunity to feel all your emotions is healthy and important to get through a negative experience. When you have allowed yourself to sit through your feelings related to the negative experience, you may wonder, now what do I do now? Reflect on the following questions: How did this negative experience happen? Start from the beginning. What were the red flags that happened along the way that you may have missed and what happened when you tried to address these red flags? Taking time to think about the entire experience will give you a unique perspective to objectively see what happened while you’re no longer in the situation. You may be able to see more clearly where things went well and where you could make a different decision in the future. Remember, that what happened is not solely your fault and that you did the best you could with the information you had. Now that you have more information from reflecting on this negative experience, identify what you have learned from this experience and how you can use this experience to guide and motivate your future? Every successful person has a story of going through a negative experience and using that experience to help them build and sustain their success. Take Oprah Winfrey as an example, Barack Obama, Stacey Abrams, Lebron James, the list is endless. Don’t let this negative experience prevent you from having the future you want. Use what you’ve learned to create the positive, fulfilling life you deserve!