“What’s The Spiritual Lesson In Your Set-Backs?”

What important personal lesson is life trying to teach you?

Have you been experiencing the same undesirable circumstances? Does it make you wonder what these events are attempting to impart or teach you? Because chances are, you may be getting emotional drained from reliving the same struggles. Established spiritual wisdom reassures us that everything happens for a reason and I also believe every occurrence in our life path is specially designed just for us. Our experiences are intended to nurture the qualities that we must develop to grow into the people who can utilize the lessons within those challenges to fulfill greater purpose and abundance. Yet, if you are like me for a long time, I was simply reliving the “test” and not comprehending the lesson, thus I continued to experience the same disappointments over and over. My spiritual journey has taught me that the only lesson embedded in every challenge is developing greater self-love but the specific qualities that we must cultivate depends on which virtue(s) enables us to mature into our gifts.

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So, you’ve had the same argument with your spouse, a relative has let you down once again or you lacked the willpower to follow through with your goals and are feeling the same type of emotional discontent.

The first task is to honestly reflect upon what you were expecting in these circumstances? Our disappointment is always due to an unmet expectation that we have of ourselves and other people. Perhaps you wanted to feel important, appreciated or for events to unfold only in a controlled manner, etc. Our expectations represent the self-image that we believe we must uphold to be loved and therefore symbolize what we subconsciously believe is lacking in ourselves and must be substantiated through our circumstances or by others. Subsequently, all our expectations are the limitations and conditions that we place on accepting and loving ourselves. The expectation that previously motivated much of my efforts was the desire to be perfect, thus I kept encountering conflicts, relationships, and situations that made me feel imperfect. Naturally I would emerge from these failures and setbacks with a great sense of self resentment and an even stronger attachment to experiencing “perfection” in the next relationship, job, goal etc., only to experience the familiar disappointment towards others or myself for not being good enough. Not only did I unconsciously begin jeopardizing my growth by opting for opportunities with a lower threshold of encountering imperfection but I was missing the broader life lesson all together. I believe that the life lesson in each of setbacks is to develop the emotional quality that enables us to experience peace when our expectations aren’t met so that we can become detached from that expectation externally, internalize it within ourselves, which subsequently enables us to make life choices that uphold our self worth.


Life will continually attempt to motivate us to nurture our own currency of the same type of love that we are seeking through our expectations! Why is this the lesson? Because we when we are desiring to control circumstances we are seeking “patience” from others when we feel it lacking in ourselves, similarly the desire to be perfect is seeking compassion from others when we don’t feel perfect and seeking external validation desires kindness from others when we feel inadequate. However, no matter how much others display those qualities towards us, it is what we believe about ourselves that shapes our responses to life, therefore those attributes constitutes the type of love that we need to show ourselves to gradually expand our skill sets and nurture our unique gifts. The challenges in my past were repeatedly guiding me to detach from perfection and subsequently develop the compassion I needed towards myself when I was overwhelmed by not doing good, such that I could hone my current ability to interpret and make sense of my philosophical awareness. Without tremendous self-compassion, I would not have developed the passion that fuels my new aspirations as a life coach nor gracefully endured the multiple technologically mishaps it took to publish this article after a four months hiatus from WordPress. If your expectation is to feel important (validated) by others then you may be repeatedly encounter life outcomes and situations that make you feel unappreciated. The broader life lesson in your challenges is to nurture unconditional kindness so that you can feel validated from within and detach from the external need for validation. Because embodying a greater magnitude of kindness towards yourself is necessary to gracefully blossom into the talents, which your current need for external validation has compromised. Hence, life will continue nudging you to experience the emotional fallout of not being validated as a reminder that placing our worth in any external facet causes persistent unworthiness and dependecy.

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If your life continues feel chaotic, then it’s time to stop trying to control everything externally and consciously choose patience during every interaction in order to internally “feel in control” amidst chaos. Whatever we are expecting externally is supposed to be nurtured within through an intentional and mindful decision to choose love. We can only feel the love that we show, thus the kindness, compassion, patience, etc., that we are withholding in our interactions is exactly what we need to embody to heal the attachments to our expectations. We are unknowingly operating from a mindset of self-lack when we are attached to perfection, control, validation and certainty and we will continue to attract/manifest that lack instead of what we desire. I want you to consider that every routine episode of discontent is a micro representation of the larger challenges that you will encounter. Therefore, your task is practice responding differently in those moments to foster the self-love that will empower you to gracefully rise above those same unmet expectations on a broader scale and finally experience the self expansion and gift awaiting you on the other side of your difficulties.

Ini Anana is an aspiring Life and Self Development coach in Edmonton, AB. Like Steeping Joy on Facebook  for more self development insights.

2 thoughts on ““What’s The Spiritual Lesson In Your Set-Backs?”

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