We honor important milestones with celebrations that acknowledge achievement and accomplishment. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, promotions and award ceremonies are all examples of honouring progress and success.
Yet its life’s disappointments, often unnoticed, that have the greatest potential to sabotage the future. If we are honest, it’s the painful disappointments that generate repetitive thought patterns that most deserve our attention. Perhaps it would be easier to overcome painful disappointments if there was someone cheering us on at the finish line. Isn’t overcoming a setback worthy of popping a cork or cutting a large cake?
Finding honourable closure is the practice and persistent effort to overcome setbacks and disappointment.
What needs attention
Situations requiring honourable closure include events that …
- leave a negative and lasting impression on thoughts, feelings and beliefs
- hi-jack the inner dialogue and fuel the inner critic
- prevent taking risks and daring greatly
- cause harmful consequences with increased intensity over time
Honourable closure is a verb and a noun
It’s more than a desired outcome. It’s about conscious effort to permanently replace the negative inner dialogue. When achieved, it dials down the inner critic allowing positive thinking, improved emotional well-being and risk taking to emerge.
Wishing and hoping
Left unchecked, unresolved pain and disappointment lead to secondary dependencies as the need to escape intensifies. Secondary challenges emerge as “too much of something”, becomes the coping behaviour. The brain’s pleasure centres are triggered, neural pathways deepen and bad habits emerge or even worse, addictive behaviour. It’s a slippery slope between enjoying food, alcohol, gambling, shopping or any pleasurable behaviour and full blow addiction.
Early intervention of pain and disappointment is an antidote to addiction but requires awareness, acknowledgement and courageous action. Singing along to Dusty Springfield’s “Wishing and Hoping” offers temporary distraction but is no substitute for honourable closure. Fluoride can prevent a cavity but can’t heal an impacted tooth. It’s time to begin drilling when negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs begin threatening your potential.
Where to Begin
In the last blog, I introduced the concept of paying attention to patterns: once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern. Practice by splashing a little fluoride on the mistakes and coincidences before tackling a root canal. Buoyed with some confidence, you’ll be ready to resolve the repeating disappointing patterns that hi-jack your thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Trust your intuition in deciding where to begin.
1. Explore contribution
The easy part is assigning blame. Identify who is responsible for the disappointing pattern.
a) Have I created the pattern?
b) Has someone else created the pattern?
c) Do I share responsibility for co-creating the pattern?
Unravelling a pattern you’ve independently created is a good place to practice before moving on to those created by others.
2. Define your desired outcome
With good intentions, define a desired outcome that will bring closure to the situation. Be selfish about your needs while accepting others may not share your point of view. The goal is to achieve honourable closure so YOU can stop the self-sabotaging chatter that holds you back.
3. Decide on action(s)
Explore a range of possibilities that will best serve your needs and the situation.
4. Find a helpful lesson
Buried in the most disappointing situations is always a nugget of new wisdom. Honourable closure is always hiding underneath a valuable lesson. The lesson becomes a tool in your tool kit that will be beneficial in the future.
(During the coming months we’ll expand on the possible actions to help strengthen your confidence, capability and overall resilience).
There is an easier path
There is a more direct path to finding honourable closure. Use your “get of jail free” card and skip the messiness of a root canal. Simply ask “What could I do right now, this minute, to permanently let go of the setback or disappointment that plagues me?” Share your ideas so we can pass them along to others looking for the fast track to their greatness.
When we know better we do better
Remind yourself that you can do better in the future (and so can others). We are imperfect human beings and our unique life experiences are aligned to a unique curriculum designed to serve the evolution of our spirit.