When you decide to do something, do you do it with confidence and conviction? When you are tossed out of your comfort zone, how do you react? A comfort zone may be a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. Hey, I’m uncomfortable even if I’m in my comfort zone.

Life is challenging for two reasons: because you’re leaving your comfort zone, or because you’re staying in it. It’s been said: A pearl is worthless as long as it’s in its shell.

If you look back, you will most likely find that the experiences you appreciate most in your life were the most challenging or even demanding. Remember to always key on what’s ahead, not what is behind you. Don’t you hate when people can’t let go of the past? Debt collectors are the worst. But seriously, getting stuck in the past is like walking forward with your back facing front. You’ll always miss out on what is right in front of you.

We’ve all suffered disappointments, even defeat. The question is: How do you perceive those problems and puzzles? Are they a challenge you believe you can overcome? Be careful judging other people’s choices because you do not know their challenges. And no, your job is not the karma delivery person. Above all, please find meaning in your mishaps and misfortunes. You will make it through this chapter. Remember the courage it took to get through that last problem and pitfall.

Find something small that you need to set right, no matter how inconsequential it may seem. Break it down into bite-size pieces and put the finishing touches on it, one by one. Now take a few minutes to appreciate your proficiency. You did it.

Do not allow failure to be an option. Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever could. Your dreams don’t come with an expiration date, sweet friends. Try and try again. Make your comeback stronger than your setback. Go as long as you can, and then take another step.

Whom do you admire most? I’ll bet it’s those who worked awfully hard and overcame their share of difficulties and doubts. So you made plans and somehow they got disrupted, muddled, and mussed up. Things in this precarious life simply do not always go according to our plan. While you may not look forward to a setback, you’d be wise to expect that it will most likely happen along your journey of life. Then again, doesn’t expecting the unexpected make the unexpected expected?

Indeed, some of us face bigger reversals of fortune than others but make no mistake: Everyone faces stumbling blocks in this life. Please do not blame yourself or others when hard luck hits. Blame Mercury retrograde instead. They say teamwork is essential. It allows you to blame someone else. Then again, a computer is almost human. Except that it doesn’t blame its mistakes on another computer. You do know what IBM stands for: I Blame Microsoft.

If you suffered a bit of bad luck or even a double whammy, no need to deny what has happened. Look at it head on and try to deal with it as positively and practically as you can. You will overcome. Seek solutions. If you need help, by all means ask for it.  Share your frustrations or feelings with your trusted friends. It’s okay to need sympathy at times. Loved ones can offer new perceptions and perspectives.

You know what they say: It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.  Do not disengage from your feelings, because you will ultimately not do what needs to be done. Unsolved problems, like laundry, tend to pile up. Me? I love doing laundry, except for putting it in the dryer, taking it out, folding it, and then putting it away. Sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel. But you know what that means. More laundry.

But truly, try to rebound and redirect your emotional energy toward your next triumph and tour de force. Please do not lose perspective of the big picture. Viewing episodes in your life as failures distorts your reality, making it nearly impossible to change direction if need be. At times, the actions required to move ahead may not be the ones that feed all your emotional needs. Be objective. At times, we need “Just the facts, Ma’am.”

Sometimes, Plan B works out better than Plan A ever could. Stay focused, sweet friends, and always ask: What’s next?

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.