2015 was a year in which I experienced quite a few devastating losses. I lost love, I lost a job, lost clients, friendships, and I quite honestly lost a part of myself in the process. For months on end I was hit with blow after debilitating blow. Loss is a natural part of life. Old, useless, dead things make way for new things all the time. It is how our seasons change, bodies grow, and lives evolve. At some point we will all be on the rebound from something. I believe how you handle loss determines the trajectory of your next rise. I learned so much about myself last year, which means all of the losses weren’t horrible. I’m still here. I want to help someone avoid some of the same pitfalls that I now find myself dusting myself off from. So here’s what NOT to do when you’re on the rebound.
Shame yourself for the loss
If you find yourself dealing with loss and in between seasons, learn very quickly how not to take it personally. I said it once and will say it again, loss is a natural part of life. You can’t grow without shedding some old ways, old people, old things. When things no longer serve a purpose in your life, they have to go in order to make way for the new. Don’t get into the habit of blaming and shaming yourself for anything that happened that may have caused you to be feeling grief. Take the lessons you learned along the way and add them to your toolbox, but don’t pack away the weight of shame with them. Some things happen that are beyond our control – especially when you are dealing with other people whose decisions may affect you. Forgive yourself and others quickly so that you aren’t carrying around unnecessary baggage.
Make drastic life changes
When we experience loss, sometimes the first thing we want to do is go out and do something completely different. We move across country to escape the pain. We jump into another relationship so that we aren’t alone. We cut and dye our hair to feel like we’re reinventing ourselves. We daringly launch out into new ventures to occupy ourselves or to prove our self worth. We gravitate to religion to find solace and answers. We tattoo permanent memorials on our bodies of a temporary situation. What we’re really doing is running. We’re running from the sting of the situation – which will inevitably be there for you to deal with when the dust settles. Give yourself time to truly process what has happened. Making drastic changes while on the rebound will only leave you reeling even more and it delays a true healing process. Sure, new things feel good for a while. But once the novelty wears off, you will have lost some of your truest self and find yourself scrambling to get your old, most authentic self back. Accept where you are in the present.
Try to fix everything
Once you come to the realization of how you got to your new season, you will for sure want to apply what you learned and patch up everything. That’s normal. But some things are better left alone. You may not need to know why things happened the way that they did. God may be protecting you from someone, something or yourself. Putting your hands into the situation to try to mend it isn’t always best because you can’t always bring back to life a dead situation. Yes, it is familiar and comfortable for you. But it takes you being uncomfortable to experience real growth. If you know that it was your fault for handling a situation improperly, by all means apologize and try to make amends with the party you offended. But trying to fix people and situations will leave you even more disappointed when you find that you can’t just hop back in where you left off. Life goes on.
Drag other people into your drama
This is particularly for relationship rebounds. Do NOT bring other folks along for your ride when you are on the rebound. Nobody likes to be alone and the saying is true that misery loves company. Jumping into another relationship without fully being over the one you lost will leave a lot of dead bodies, melee, grief and despair in your wake and you may find yourself back at no-nos number one through three of this list. You may meet someone who is extremely attractive and so much different than your ex that it makes you want to fall head first into a love affair with them. But it is likely just infatuation. You aren’t making decisions from the soundest place when you are on the rebound. You may be trying to comfort loss, are afraid of being alone or trying to fix what went wrong in the previous situation with the new one. STOP! DON’T! It puts undue burden on the person you are dealing with to have to live up to some unrealistic expectation that you have that they will cure your heartache or be altogether wonderful. And since you aren’t making the soundest decisions, you may wake up one day looking at someone you really aren’t that in love with after all. Not to mention, you really haven’t let go of the previous situation so you may end up breaking their heart to get back to your ex. Make sure you have truly moved on before bringing someone new into your life.
As with all things, pray, pray, and pray again. Seek guidance from God as well as others who have an objective standpoint. It is perfectly fine to seek out counsel. Proverbs 12:15 says “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” Just make sure whomever you seek counsel with is wise, has pure motives, and won’t necessarily be “Team YOU” all the time. You need to hear the unadulterated truth in order to make positive and lasting change.
Have you been on the rebound before and made some bad decisions? Let me know I’m not out here by myself! (Feeling a little vulnerable now. LOL) Comment below to share some of the things you learned.