How To Handle Life’s Setbacks

For the longest time I thought that if I did everything right, I would eventually reach a point in my life where things went smoothly. When I stopped experiencing setbacks, my life would somehow fall into place.

I’ve learned that this isn’t how life works. Like, not at all. Setbacks, mistakes, challenges; whatever you want to call them- they all happen for a reason. They could be gentle reminders that we’re straying from our path (or, the not so gentle ones). They can be opportunities for growth, for building your character or for guiding you to a new perspective.

The problem is that when they happen, we hardly ever look at them this way. Most of the time we call them as we see them- mistakes, or failures. Here’s what I’ve learned from my toughest setbacks in life that I hope you can remember in yours.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

I’ve gotten this piece of advice from so many people in my life, that it would only be fair of me to share it with you, too. You are going to want to blame yourself. It’s all my fault, I should have known better, I’m a bad person, a failure, and so on. Sound familiar? Holding back those thoughts is much easier said than done, though.

If you find yourself doing this, give yourself a moment to wallow in self blame. But only a moment. Then, whenever these thoughts pass, don’t let them linger. Think of anything else, remind yourself that you’re human, and that this will pass. Distract yourself to take your mind off of this cycle of thoughts.

girl farm photography

Your Mistakes Don’t Define You

After making mistakes in life that you felt guilty or ashamed of, you might consider yourself to be damaged goods. This is the furthest thing from who you are. No one is perfect. If you can forgive others for making mistakes in their lives, you deserve the same courtesy. If you’re making mistakes or facing challenges in life, it means you’re working towards something- and that’s what really counts.

“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” – J.K. Rowling

Failure is Growth

I’ve never truly understood this statement until recently. I used to be terrified of writing and sending my work out for fear of being rejected, so I wouldn’t dare to try. Eventually, I built up the courage to send off my work. I was faced with more rejections and silences than responses. But, every rejection made a response back that much more meaningful. The fear of rejection was much worse than actually experiencing it!

If you never experience failure, how will you know what success feels like?

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

setbacks farm girl

Don’t Give Up

The hardest part about setbacks is picking yourself back up and trying again. It really is all about how you handle your most challenging moments. You are your toughest critic. You should also be your strongest supporter. Don’t let fear or the reminiscences of failure keep you from following your passion.

You will regret giving up, or not even daring to try much more than anything else. So do it. Dive head first into what you believe in. Take your mistakes and failures with you as lessons and carry on, with your head held high.

What has your experience with setbacks been? How have you dealt with your setbacks?


  1. September 13, 2017 / 3:46 pm

    Back when my anxiety was at it’s worst, I really struggled with setbacks and I just didn’t have the strength to handle them. But I guess over time I have learnt to deal with setbacks more easily and like you say about not giving up, that’s something I’ve also learnt to do. Lovely post Diana, I definitely agree with the things you have said! 🙂 x

    Kayleigh |

    • Diana Maria
      September 17, 2017 / 4:00 pm

      It sounds like you went through something similar to what I did as well, anxiety definitely makes it harder to handle setbacks. Thank you for reading Kayleigh!

  2. September 13, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    I’ve been thinking about failure a lot recently and I couldn’t agree more, it’s a great learning experience and can show/teach us so many things we wouldn’t of known otherwise! xx

    • Diana Maria
      September 17, 2017 / 3:59 pm

      I think so too Natalie 🙂

    • Diana Maria
      September 17, 2017 / 3:59 pm

      Thank you for stopping by Paula xx

  3. September 14, 2017 / 7:36 pm

    This post is so lovely! It’s so uplifting and refreshing. I loved reading it x

    Lauren –

    • Diana Maria
      September 17, 2017 / 3:55 pm

      Thank you Lauren! xx

  4. September 15, 2017 / 10:28 am

    This is such a great post and I absolutely agree with you!!
    Setbacks are challenges, growing opportunities! Sometimes we need to go back so we can move forward and I truly believe that nobody learns without making mistakes.
    Thanks for the inspiration <3
    Wish you a lovely day

    • Diana Maria
      September 17, 2017 / 3:59 pm

      Thank you Patricia, have a wonderful day!

  5. September 15, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    Wow this was just the uplifting post that I needed. Such a wonderful, inspiring read. For all my life, I have been terrified of failure but it takes a load off my shoulder to know that failure can lead to growth (which is so true!)

    Simply Lovebirds

    • Diana Maria
      September 17, 2017 / 3:59 pm

      Thank you Kim! It definitely sounds like you had a very similar experience with failure too 🙂

  6. Nicôle
    September 16, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog!

    I loved reading this post! I started a university course then realised it just wasn’t for me so I dropped out. I have never felt like such a failiure in my life! This was so lovely to read. & I love that you added a J.K. Rowling quote! Makes me feel 10x better haha!

    • Diana Maria
      September 17, 2017 / 3:58 pm

      Of course Nicole, your blog is lovely! I’m glad you were able to feel better about the experience, J.K. Rowling has always made me feel better about past mistakes haha. She’s a very inspiring woman xx

  7. Susan Tran
    September 16, 2017 / 11:26 pm

    We’ve definitely realized throughout the past year that our lives together are going to be FULL of setbacks, and we just have to work through them, embrace them, and see them as a way to grow. And it’s so nice to have someone who also reminds you of these things when you’re going through them and can’t see past it. Now that we have the ability to reflect on our lives, we see how SO many of the difficult experiences we went through eventually helped us!

    Susie |

    • Diana Maria
      September 17, 2017 / 3:57 pm

      You’re definitely right about them being a doorway to growth! I really appreciate your insight Susie thank you xx

  8. September 17, 2017 / 10:54 am

    This is such an important thing to talk about! Mistakes/failures are something that I find embarrassing to talk about, but if you don’t then people might think they’re alone in doing it

    Steph –

    • Diana Maria
      September 17, 2017 / 3:57 pm

      I couldn’t agree more Stephanie!

    • Diana Maria
      September 17, 2017 / 3:56 pm

      I think so too, Danielle! Thank you 🙂

  9. September 17, 2017 / 6:58 pm

    This is a really lovely and positive way of looking at something we all experience. I especially like the idea of forgiving yourself for mistakes as you would forgive others – it really puts things into perspective ☺️ Your photography is so lovely as well! It really complements the post ☺️

    Blushing Lately

    • Diana Maria
      September 18, 2017 / 12:58 pm

      Thank you for stopping by Millie I’m happy you enjoyed the read 🙂

  10. Stephanie Eiler
    September 18, 2017 / 3:40 am

    This is a wonderful post, Diana. I’m definitely one to wallow in self blame for way too long instead of appreciating the choices that I have made as lessons and opportunities to learn and grow. Eventually I get there…but I am definitely working on getting there a little quicker. I love that quote, “Failure is delay, not defeat.” It’s so true, especially if we choose to persevere and pick ourselves up to try again. You’re right, setbacks will continue to happen no matter how old we get or how many experiences we learn from. Your reminders are ones that I will keep in my back pocket to always remember. I definitely never want to feel that regret of giving up. Great post, girl!

    • Diana Maria
      September 18, 2017 / 12:58 pm

      I’m so glad you were able to relate to the post so deeply Stephanie, thank you! xx

    • Diana Maria
      September 18, 2017 / 12:57 pm

      Thank you Molly 🙂

  11. September 18, 2017 / 10:36 am

    Lovely post – just what I need to read when I want a pick me up 🙂

    Lizzie | Takeoffs & Landings

    • Diana Maria
      September 18, 2017 / 12:57 pm

      Thank you Lizzie xx

  12. Kay (shoesandglitter)
    September 18, 2017 / 11:10 am

    This is such a beautifully written, heartfelt post! I am definitely guilty of always beating myself up over the smallest things… It’s something that I really need to work on! I like what you said about mistakes not defining us. I think it’s very true and important, and something that a lot of people (including myself) sometimes forget about. Thanks for sharing, lovely. <3 xoxo


    • Diana Maria
      September 18, 2017 / 12:56 pm

      Thank you Kay! It’s consoling to know so many of us have felt the same way 🙂

    • Diana Maria
      September 18, 2017 / 12:56 pm

      Thank you dear 🙂

  13. September 18, 2017 / 11:52 am

    This is exactly what I needed to hear, I’ll definitely bookmark this post so that I can go back to it whenever I feel like I failed at something. I’m a perfectionist and not very good at dealing with failure but I’m trying to work on it- like you said, the key is to see failure as an opportunity to growth and to be your strongest supporter. You’re right, the fear of rejection is worse than actually experiencing it and it’s important to remember that failure is inevitable and that it’s okay to make mistakes. xx

    • Diana Maria
      September 18, 2017 / 12:56 pm

      Aw thank you Mira, you are so kind! I’m so happy you enjoyed the read and could relate. It’s definitely something we build up in our heads, as failure is not as awful as we make it out to be xx

  14. September 18, 2017 / 4:09 pm

    Such a inspiring post! My mom always says that “Life throws bad things at your way as much as your shoulders can carry”, and it keeps me going. It makes me feel so strong because always when I have a setback, I know that I get up stronger. Thank you for writing this xx

    Heidi ✨ | Heidi’s Planner | Instagram

    • Diana Maria
      September 20, 2017 / 8:11 pm

      Thank you Heidi! Your mother’s advice is so true, thank you for sharing that xx

  15. Violette
    September 18, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    I loved this post! It’s so encouraging! Thank you for sharing!

    • Diana Maria
      September 20, 2017 / 8:10 pm

      Thank you so much Violette I really appreciate that! xx

  16. September 19, 2017 / 2:07 am

    Inspiring, motivating and so TRUE girl! I’ve found myself in these moments at times, taking failures and mistakes to heart. You’re so right- we need to carry on and keep our heads held high. I love your vibe and posts so much ♡♡

    • Diana Maria
      September 20, 2017 / 8:10 pm

      Thank you Peta! Your blog is lovely as well, I’m so glad we connected! 🙂

  17. October 2, 2017 / 9:21 am

    This is such a lovely post! I think everyone shouldn’t be afraid of failure. If anything it’s a time when you start learning and growing! No one ever grows or learns anything from wining or achieving something.

    This Damsel Loves Blog

    • Diana Maria
      October 8, 2017 / 2:25 pm

      Thank you Lisa, I think you’re absolutely right about it being a time of learning and growth 🙂