If you are going thru a challenging time, then take the time to go thru these steps and if things are going well in your life right now, then tuck this one away for later when you find yourself upset about how things are turning out.

So let’s get started, think about a recent event that didn’t go the way you had hoped and grab your journal and get ready to do some deeper work on this stuff!

When things don’t work out as planned… Here are  5 Steps to Unveil the “Real” Plans:


1. Take note of what feelings come up when things don’t work out the way you had hoped.

When you first become aware that things didn’t turn out how you expected them to, take a moment and notice how you feel. Are you angry, upset, disappointed, frustrated? Don’t be hard on yourself for having these feelings. It’s normal, you’re human!

Your feelings are messages that tell you about how your body, mind, and spirit are aligned with what’s happening. Not being aligned and having feelings that don’t necessarily feel good is great information! We need to know when things aren’t right just as we need to know when things feel good and are aligned. Being able to have feelings as a reference guides us to grow and change and evolve.

So figure out all of the different feelings that come up and write them down.

2. Surrender to the feeling and let it be…

Acknowledging that we feel disappointed or angry about things not turning out as we had hoped kinda takes the edge off the feeling. It’s much more productive to our healing and progression to the next step if we just allow the feeling to be what it is instead of trying to pretend it didn’t impact us or that it’s not there.

Don’t compare your feelings to what you think you are supposed to feel. Sometimes we don’t fully honor our feeling because we feel like it’s not appropriate. The other day I had a patient in my office with large cystic acne that was covered in thick makeup. She was crying and trying to blot her face so it didn’t ruin her makeup, but the tears kept coming. She kept apologizing that she came in with so much makeup on but she was so self conscious about her acne that she just didn’t feel comfortable with anyone seeing her without her makeup on. Then she went on to tell me that she feels like it’s so inappropriate to be so upset about her acne and her appearance when a friend’s daughter just got diagnosed with cancer. But the reality is that acne or imperfections in the skin impact us on a very deep level and no, it’s not a terminal cancer in this case, but yes it can be deeply upsetting and it’s not fair to yourself to just pretend it doesn’t bother you.

You have to honor your feelings and allow them to be and use them to help you. It doesn’t serve you or anyone else to unfairly compare them to another situation. In this situation, her acne was deeply upsetting, it is what it is. In the situation where she thinks about her friend and her friend’s daughter with cancer, that too is deeply upsetting. But they are not the same thing.

Being true and authentic to your own feelings can empower you to move forward with the next step.

Write down next to your feelings why you feel that way, acknowledge the hurt, the pain, why you feel the betrayal, injustice and then let it be.

3. Take a step back, get a new viewpoint of the situation.

So now that you acknowledge where you stand in this and you can see why you are feeling upset, you have developed a foundation to move forward with another layer of healing. The next step is to start seeing this all from a different perspective.

Sometimes we are so caught up in our own perspective of things that we don’t see the conditions or factors in the periphery that may have influenced how things came to be or how someone else might view this.

This is a big step and will take some courage to see things in a different way and you may need some time before you are able to fully embrace this step.

Here are a few tips to help you start to see things differently. Pick one that resonates with you and write down the answer in your journal.

  • Take a moment and imagine a very wise woman/man standing in the room as the situation unfolded, write down how they may view the situation.
  • Imagine someone was filming the event, how would they film the event to see all angles of how things unfolded? Write down what the camera would capture at the different angles.
  • Step into the mind and body of the other person involved in this situation, can you objectively see how they experienced the situation? If you are very emotionally upset about things, this strategy may be hard to do without placing judgement or criticism on how they handled things or yourself for that matter, so try to be as objective and non-judgmental as you can. Write down their perception of the situation.

4. Realize it was for the best, it’s all unfolding perfectly.

No matter how uncomfortable or disappointing the current status of the situation is, know that when you look back on it later you will see how it was all the way it was meant to be.

Ya, I know, easier said than done sometimes on this one. This is very hard to do when we are so close to the situation, so it may be easier to start with looking at another event in your life.

Take a moment and think about an important successful moment in your life. Then reflect back…write down what needed to happen to bring you to that moment of success. How many pieces had to fall into place, big pieces, little pieces, connections, detours, etc.? Think of all the people that had to do just the right thing at the right time. Were there times when it didn’t look like it was the right path, but it turned out to be? Write down your path.

You could also do this with a moment where things seemed to have failed, but you later realized that you wouldn’t be where you are today without it.

Now realize that all of our moments are like this. Every moment we have has been led up to by all the moments before it. It didn’t matter that we viewed that moment as a success or a failure, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the unique sequence of events that unfolded.

After you have done this with things that have already unfolded, take a closer look at the current event that is upsetting you and not turning out the way you hoped it would be. Can you see a glimpse of how maybe this is part of a bigger plan, another moment along the journey? Could it be another step that’s leading you to the next thing which in turn leads you to grow more, learn more and come to a new level of understanding?

Take a moment and imagine yourself months or years down the road and envision everything actually turning out in your favor in the end. Stay in that place of peace for a few moments and pay attention to all the details you see, then write down everything you remember from that place of peace and understanding. Keep this vision. Reference back to it when you get upset or disheartened by the current situation again. Practice feeling the place of peace and understanding when you wake up in the morning and before you go to sleep.

5. This is the big one…the step where everything circles back around…

This step is when a situation unfolds in a way we think is upsetting or not had we had hoped and we may get upset….but not as much as we used to.

We accept that things changed and we acknowledge our feelings and the change. We see the new direction as a new opportunity and trust that we are still on our path.

We know on a deeper level, for some reason, to be revealed later, that we were supposed to go this way instead of that way.

We seem to realize almost immediately that whatever is happening is only happening because there is another lesson to be learned, another challenge to embrace, another path to embark upon or a detour that will turn out to be a shortcut.

It’s when we get this sense that all is good no matter what….that’s when we see the real truth behind it. We see that everything that is perceived as good or bad is all unfolding perfectly for our own growth and evolution to become more positive, more whole…more connected. And that’s the “Real Plan”…whatever is happening, it’s all good!

Writing down how I progressed thru these steps was eye-opening and I don’t always get to step 5. But I accept where I’m at and finding more peace in that.

I hope these 5 Steps to Unveil the Real Plans helps give you insights and a practical way to approach set-backs in your life…big and small.