Learning how to deal with bad experiences can help us move on, without hanging onto any pain that was caused.
Throughout our lives, we’ll have experiences we deem either good or bad. Even though we don’t want to have bad experiences, we cannot avoid them.
What we consider a bad experience depends on our conditioning and mental strength. Something we may think is a bad experience may not be a big deal to someone else.
Having the ability to deal with bad experiences is extremely valuable if we want to have good mental health.
The Dangers of Not Dealing With Bad Experiences
The real challenge of having a bad experience isn’t the experience itself, but the meaning we give them. If we’re not careful or handle those experiences well, they can cause us to form limiting beliefs.
Beliefs we could form include:
- Things never work out for me.
- I’ll never be successful.
- I’m not good enough to get what I want.
- I’m not going to take risks again.
- This is as good as things will get.
- I don’t know if I can ever be happy.
Other dangers of not dealing with bad experiences include:
- Feeling unhappy or depressed.
- Low levels of confidence or motivation.
- Additional stress on relationships.
- Poor attitude and performance.
- Resistance to take new actions.
Since bad experiences are a part of life, how we respond will determine how we deal with them.
When I had completed my university studies, it took over six months to find a job related to my studies. That was not a pleasant experience. I didn’t have the mental strength or the emotional maturity to cope with not finding a job quickly.
As many of my colleagues had found jobs, I was unhappy, unmotivated and felt a lot of anger. I felt I had wasted five years of my life pursuing something that wasn’t helpful to me.
That six to seven-month period felt like an eternity. Looking back, had I known what I know now, I could have dealt with that experience a lot better.
I could have used the time I had to learn new skills, acquire new knowledge or volunteer with different organisations. If I had a better mindset, it wouldn’t have taken me as long to find my first job.
Our bad experiences can help us improve who we are or how we do things. It’s our willingness to learn how to deal with bad experiences that can make all the difference.
How to Deal With Bad Experiences and Create a Better Future
Here are five things that can help you deal with bad experiences. These will assist you in moving forward toward the results you want to achieve.
- Evaluate your thoughts about your experiences. It helps to observe or notice our thoughts without judgment. Instead of judging our thoughts, we can question them from a place of curiosity. We can use our perspective to look at our experiences from different points of view
- Get the proper help you need. A big mistake we can make is to keep things to ourselves or believe no one will understand. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of intelligence and maturity. Seeking professional help or reaching out to our support network are ways we can deal with bad experiences better.
- Do not relive your experiences. A bad experience is something that happened. It’s over. What can cause us more pain is if we continue to relive an experience repeatedly. That will generate negative emotions, which will not help us. It’s also important not to blame others or have resentment towards something or someone that was involved.
- Use your experiences to develop greater self-awareness. Every experience can teach us something valuable. We can view it as a valuable gift. It’s our job to learn the lessons we need so we can become the person we want to be. Our bad experiences can motivate us to learn new skills or acquire new knowledge.
- Refocus on something new or better. The past is over. All we’ll even have is the present moment. What we do in the present moment will determine the future we create. It’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves and create the future we want.
Our bad experiences provide the contrast we need to enjoy our good experiences. If we only ever had good experiences, we wouldn’t enjoy them as much because they’ll be so familiar.
As we learn how to deal with bad experiences better, we can use them to become stronger mentally. If we let our bad experiences slow us down or defeat us, we won’t create the results we want.
Action Step: Next time you have an experience you deem to be bad, use these ideas to move past it quicker. Give yourself time to process the experience, then let it go so you can free yourself from it.
Question: What are other things that will help you know how to deal with bad experiences?