Don’t let a major life setback drag you down.

Life isn’t always a bed of roses. Sometimes things happen that we didn’t see coming and couldn’t have prevented. Maybe it’s the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, being rejected by your dream school, or the sting of a business failure. Whatever the situation, it can really do significant damage to your confidence and self-esteem.

A major life setback, however, does not have to be the end of the story. It does not have to define who you are going forward or be a millstone around your neck that continues to weigh you down. And it certainly does not have to keep you from realizing your dreams.

Recovering from a major life setback is definitely possible, but it takes the right mindset to make it happen. Not only can you recover from a bad situation, but if you take the right steps when life throws you a curve ball, it’s possible to bounce back stronger than ever.

1. Accept What You Can’t Change

The first step is to accept the situation. It is what it is. If it really, truly is something that you are powerless to change, then it is important to recognize the reality of the situation so you don’t waste valuable time and effort trying to turn things around. This can quickly deplete your energy, which leads to a host of negative emotions.

In any situation, there comes a point when it’s time to accept it and move on. It’s important not to think of this as an admission of failure. Rather, taking a step back from the situation gives you a different perspective. It allows you to see things differently. Instead of viewing things from the perspective of someone in a storm, you get to consider the situation as something in your recent past.

2. Give Yourself Time to Grieve

Grieving for any kind of loss in life is not a bad thing. In fact, it can actually be very therapeutic. Grief is a natural process that allows you to emotionally recover from an unexpected negative event. It allows you to go from the initial shock you felt when you first received the bad news to acceptance.

It takes time to grieve properly, and you should allow yourself all the time you need to go through the process. The end result is acceptance. This gives you the ability to move on with your life.

3. Forgive

There is occasionally some confusion over what it means to forgive. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you ever forget about what happened. It also doesn’t mean you have to let someone back into your life who caused you harm.

Forgiveness is a choice. It means no longer holding a grudge or having hard feelings. Ultimately, forgiveness is something you do for yourself and not for the other person. It allows you to free your mind from negative thoughts and emotions about the situation.

4. Don’t Let Self-Doubt Control You

Self-doubt involves lingering thoughts about a situation that serves no purpose other than to torment you. They usually involve thoughts about what you might have done or said differently. The only problem is that it’s entirely too late to act on those thoughts.

Second-guessing yourself after the fact does nothing to change the situation. What’s done is done. It’s now in the past. Whenever you find yourself thinking about things you should have or could have done, it’s best to hit the mental delete button and move on.

5. Try to Learn From the Experience

Can any good ever come from a major life setback? It can if you try to learn something from the experience and then apply your new knowledge to future situations.

It’s important to realize that analyzing what went wrong in a situation is not the same as second-guessing yourself. Self-doubt involves getting caught up in the past. Learning from an experience is about the future. Being able to learn from a situation gives you the ability to have better outcomes going forward.

6. Formulate a New Plan

Success doesn’t just happen. It’s usually the result of the creation and execution of a good plan. And there is no better time to come up with a new plan for your life than right after a major life setback.

When formulating your plan, be sure to consider your dreams and life goals. What do you want to achieve in life? What are your needs? What are your wants? They aren’t the same thing. It’s okay to dream big as long as your plans are grounded in reality.

7. Take Action with a Determination to Succeed

The last step is to take action. It’s time to get moving. If the situation still seems a bit overwhelming, just do a few little things at first to get the ball rolling. Think in terms of baby steps instead of major accomplishments. At this point, it’s important to do something to move forward with your life. It doesn’t have to be anything big. In time things will start to fall in place as long as you are following your plan.

A major life setback doesn’t have to be the end of the world. With the right perspective, attitude, and plan, you can have a very bright future.