Finding Meaning in the Setbacks. ~Danielle Lewis

Posted on Posted in Be Well.


I am meant to live life with a gypsy soul and a loud mouth.

You see, for me, life is best lived in adventure. And when you see every damn thing as an adventure, you bet life is pretty freaking exciting.

Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t always been like this. Like many of us I have felt this inner tapping.

“Do it, do what you love, and let your mind and your feet wander.”

It would be harder for me to buy into the type of thinking that life is meant to be rough, tough, and hard with moments of bliss than vice versa. I finally stopped fighting my fears and moved through them. What I came to realize is when I live from a place of allowing myself to feel what’s right—including dreaming big (or small), laughing loud, or sitting still—I find peace of mind.

Isn’t that a beautiful gift we all deserve?

From this place I have found that when you stop controlling life, it offers you much more than you thought possible. In the small moments, you can find a deep breath full of unlimited gratitude. That’s the stuff that counts—when you start realizing all that you have is so awesome you couldn’t feel more in love and thankful.

For me, it led to surrendering to my Type A-ness, living without certainty, and feeling full faith that what was coming to me was because it was supposed to. And I hope this isn’t a deal breaker, but sometimes those “comings” aren’t so…magical.

Let me explain with a personal example. I woke up a few weeks ago on January 1st. I had a hell of an awesome year including a wonderful holiday season. I felt brand new and full of energy. That feeling kept spiraling in the preceding days until I got sick. You know that sick where you’re like “not brushing my hair or teeth or pulling my butt out from under the comforter for anything other than some Vapor Rub and cough drops.” And then where do you think all those ultra-positive vibes went? Yup, piled in the trash among the mounds of tissues.

After a few days of being down in the dumps, canceling exciting plans, and putting off things that needed to get done I was feeling unbelievably done with being sick. Worst of all, as I know many people can relate to, as my physical condition kept declining so did my mental. And what did this mental break down look like? In short, I was full-out future-freaking out. All the “what if’s” including the most fearful “what if I never…” overwhelmed my thoughts as I laid in bed with no energy, feeling like total crap.

That’s a dangerous combination. In a word, I felt hopeless. I felt out of control—of my body and my life. Overdramatic, you bet, but in the moment it felt seriously real.

This was very foreign to me so I forced myself to change my attitude enough to find a different perspective. After some soul-searching and lovely meditation, I came to my conclusion. I realized all moments in our lives are assignments, not just the good ones. They all have meaning to them and what we take away from them is our own choice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to feel perfectly happy feeling like crap, but like so many say, there is a reason for everything. This goes for when things go wrong and when things go well.

For me, I feel my setback was a hard lesson on a topic that is hard for me to grasp: giving up control. The cool thing about a setback is that when you’re on the bottom, you have nothing else to do but let go and work through it. It helped me say:

“I surrender to this low. It doesn’t define my strength, mentally or physically, and it isn’t some kind of scary premonition for things to come. I’m doggone sick and it’s ok that I’m not feeling my most motivated.”

It also allowed me to believe my canceled plans and put off to-do list were more than ok, but needed. Life doesn’t just happen to us. We may not have much say in the stuff we can’t control—like being sick—but we have a lot of say in our disposition around it.

So as a fresh start, let us not critique ourselves when we aren’t feeling our best, but let us find the meaning in it. Live life from a place of self-worth and self-love. Have a little faith that it’s going to work out and take each moment for what it is: a moment.


danielle lewisDanielle Lewis is a passionate soul searching college student at West Chester University interested in connecting her social work degrees with a way to teach and demystify what it means to follow your bliss. During the day, she works as a Domestic Violence counselor with a strong message that women can empower other women to find their self-worth and potential. Outside of work, Danielle can be found tirelessly writing, reading, and meditating. It is with those hobbies and many more that she has found the meaning to her life to be in the adventure of living it fearlessly.

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