Summary: That Sucked. Now What? By Dr. Neeta Bhushan
Summary: That Sucked. Now What? By Dr. Neeta Bhushan

Summary: That Sucked. Now What? By Dr. Neeta Bhushan

Being Human 101

Emotions might have a purpose, but they’re still messy. They’re still chaotic. They’re still overwhelming and have the power to all but knock us off our feet. But take a moment to be grateful for that power. For that sensitive, attuned system within you that lets you experience your life, not just watch it pass by.

Your physical body has limits. It can’t push through every hardship. It can’t always give you 100 percent even when you really, really need it to. But there’s so much to be grateful for there as well. The systems and signals within you are pretty dang incredible, and they’re worth taking care of (and giving a break now and again!).

The circumstances you’re in are the result of everything that’s befallen you in life so far—good and bad. The past has happened, and mistakes have been made. Embrace that truth. Yes, your story is imperfect. But you, more than anyone else, have the power to make choices to change it going forward. Your life has more of that magic in store for you, in good moments and bad. Each new screwup and stumble is a chance to brush yourself off and say, “Well, that sucked. So, now what?”

So if you’ve handled sucky moments by whining (or wine-ing), show yourself some kindness. That’s classic, grade-A human behavior. It’s human to react to tough moments and setbacks by telling yourself the “I suck and I’m screwed” story. It’s human to feel your heart pounding and head aching and jaw clenching with stress. It’s human to get so swept up in anger, sadness, despair, or confusion that you can’t think, let alone act.

But it’s just as human to bounce back too. And it starts with self-regulation. Self-regulation is feeling the feels and then transmuting their energy into gentle, positive action. It’s allowing yourself to experience the subtle waves of emotion encompassing you like the tide in the ocean, and then gradually taking action once you’ve drifted to shallower, calmer waters. It’s being fully within your emotional, physical, and mental systems so that you can take action that’s aligned with what’s in your long-term best interest.

That’s a massive part of what makes audacious resilience so, well, audacious. You’re daring to step outside your reflexes for a second. You’re daring to be both an emotional, flesh-and-blood human with a lifetime of experience behind you and more than merely the sum of your parts. You’re daring to embrace that balance, that paradox. And that’s the first step to flying forward.


The Victim Mentality

Every moment is a powerful choice. You can choose to get upset at your toddler when she spills her glass of juice on the sofa or you can choose to make a mental note to shift perspective, celebrate her mistake (so she has your permission to know mistakes are okay), and yes, maybe even give her a sippy cup next time.

You can choose to think that you’ll never find love when the person you’re casually dating ghosts on you or you can choose to be grateful that you don’t have to waste any more time on someone who’s not interested.

You can choose to shut down your laptop, delete your online dating profile, and retreat under the blankets or you can choose to reflect on your new self-knowledge about what you actually need and want in a partner.

Victims are defined by their lack of choices. But it’s only a perceived lack of choices. You always have a choice. You always have a choice. Even choosing not to choose is a choice! And once you realize that you always have a choice, you free yourself from stuckness. You let your Fall be the catalyst in a chain reaction to flying forward, not the final nail in the coffin that seals your fate.

You shift from asking “Why me?” to “Why not me?” You shift from “Why’d he ruin my night by ghosting me?!” to “Why not make tonight the night I chat up that cute stranger?” You shift from “Why did the class I just taught have to be such a disaster?” to “Why don’t I use this screwup as an example in my next class?” You shift from defeat to possibility. And you shift into gear to fly forward.

Understanding that you’re not a victim and learning you have a choice in how to react are two vital first steps toward your own expansion. Your best self. Your growth journey. Your becoming. Your next chapter.


The Entitlement Trap

Our entitlement wants us to move quickly so that we never have to engage with any of those fears of our internal lack within ourselves. We don’t want to fail, quit, miss our chance, or be ignored—we don’t even want to acknowledge we have those fears at all! That’s part of the reason it might feel strange to realize that entitlement is so linked to our lack mentality: our ego can act like a smokescreen, hiding the true causes to protect its own sense of integrity.

We’re afraid of failure. We’re afraid of being misjudged. We’re afraid we are not good enough. We’re afraid that no matter what we do, we won’t belong. We’re afraid there isn’t enough to go around, so we hoard, protect, and betray others to get to the top.

Even though it looks like confidence, entitlement is nothing more than a mask for these fears. It’s a mindset of justification and selective truths. It cuts us off from empathy because it’s so rooted in a fundamental sense of lack.

It’s also, at least partially, correct. There isn’t always enough for everyone. You aren’t as special as you think you are. Only one person can come in first. The answer is to embrace the whole truth and all the facts, even as they’re contradictory. To make peace with the paradox. Because that’s the heart of audacious resilience.

Your challenges are unique to you, but universally understandable as human experiences. You are incredibly special, but you don’t need to be special to be deserving of happiness. You won’t always come in first, but sometimes it’s still worth giving it your all anyway.

Embracing that paradox is what takes you from feeling entitled to being worthy. When we feel worthy, we see our unique gifts for what they are: not commodities to be hoarded, traded, and used up, but true gifts, things that exist to be given away, to be shared, to create joy and connection and positive impact on others. That kind of generosity goes against the ego, goes against our cultural myths, goes against what we think we need to survive.

In other words, it’s audacious. It’s resilient. It’s magical. And it’s totally beautiful.


The Chip on Your Shoulder

We’ve all got a chip on our shoulder about something. Those triggers that open up a wound still raw and fresh. Petty stuff from decades ago we can’t forget. Mean-girl moments that stuck in our craw. Even genuine anger at being mistreated, lied to, or emotionally scammed. When other people let you down, it’s natural—it’s human—to hold some kind of grudge.

At the same time, we know this stuff is in the past. We’ve survived it, and we’re eager to take action . . . to a point.

Acknowledging the wounds, the scars, the hurts and harms of our past, the unmet needs we felt as children and onward, might feel scarier and more vulnerable than lashing out with resentment. But unpacking that stuff, looking that inner child in the eye, doesn’t make us weaker. It doesn’t make us less resilient. In fact, giving our past selves empathy is the only way to find out what we value, what we need, and what we want.

When you know what you want, you are working in your power and not giving that away to someone else. When you know what you want, and make that the reason you’re pursuing something—whether that’s starting a business, looking for The One, mastering a new skill, or saving for a home—you’re so much more likely to be successful.

And when you know what you want because of your past, and not in spite of it, you are taking back ownership over your life—your whole life. You acknowledge all that’s happened fully and feel gratitude and a new, exciting sense of purpose. You take responsibility for your actions (and inactions too) instead of blaming others. You no longer default to believing that anything outside of your control, whether that’s other people or the past or just the situation at hand, has to be the driving force in defining what you do next.