How to Rise Up After Life Knocks You Down

UPDATED: October 22, 2020
PUBLISHED: January 5, 2018
How to Rise Up After Life Knocks You Down

“It doesn’t matter how far you might rise. At some point, you’re bound to stumble.”

Oprah Winfrey spoke these words while giving a commencement speech at Harvard University, and I continue to find more truth in this statement the longer I live.

Each one of us experiences a few “stumbles” in our life. Some of us have the mental scars to show for it, too. Maybe you just got fired from your job and don’t know how to start over. Or maybe you’re trying with all your might to find a new one without any luck.

Sometimes we work hard for the things we truly believe in, only for life to not go according to our plans. In these moments, you might feel like throwing in the towel. Or that it’s just not worth the heartache to go after your dreams.

These feelings of pain and doubt are normal, but they shouldn’t stop you. In fact, when you realize you’ve hit rock bottom, there’s only one way to go, and that’s up. The process may be a difficult one and may even take away all your energy, but with a strategy and will, it can surely be done.

Related: 7 Ways to Persist When Everything in You Wants to Give Up

Here are some of the best steps you can take to achieve your definition of success after life knocks you down:

1. Take time to feel your pain.

When you’ve hit the ground on all fours, you may feel the need to deny your situation or take it for granted. Don’t. Instead, allow yourself to be vulnerable to the way you feel. If you feel angry for being fired, inadequate for a failed business or depressed that your spouse left you, accept what you feel.

Taking time to feel your emotions and grieving your situation is a good start to refocusing yourself for what’s to come. You can’t rise from a fall by avoiding the fact that you fell and actually got hurt. If you do so, the pain will pile up and weigh you down at a later time. So grieve, cry if you feel the tears and scream at the top of your lungs if it helps you feel better. And it will.

2. Accept what you can’t change.

This is like grieving, but more about understanding that what’s happened can’t be undone. If your business failed and you’re deep in debt, you can’t change that fact. Not in a day, at least, and definitely not by numbing or ignoring the situation you’re in.

If your spouse walked away from you and your kids and it hurts, it might hurt for a long time. But you can’t change any of it. So try to accept it and start thinking of what comes next. This comes after you’ve stopped screaming.

This is just part of the healing process, and the sooner you’re able to accept and understand what you can’t change, the better.

3. Be kind, and forgive yourself.

When life knocks you down, it’s normal to feel guilty, blame yourself and even add self-hate to that pile. However, at the end of the day, you must learn to forgive yourself and find a door within the darkness.

Think about all the people that have been in your situation and successfully lived through it. What did they do to recover? Do your research and read about it.

The truth is, in the midst of all your troubles and depression, someone else has been in your shoes. Someone else has felt what you’re feeling now.

4. Evaluate your options, and redefine your goals.

Once you’ve forgiven yourself and are ready for the next move, it’s time to evaluate your options. Ask yourself what can be done differently by assessing what went wrong.

If you made mistakes, write each one of them down to learn from your behavior. If it was something you didn’t do, think about how you’ll change things up next time around. And if you didn’t make a mistake and yet you still failed, focus on the future. There’s probably an aspect from your experience you can learn from.

As you evaluate, also think about your larger vision. What is it that you want to achieve and when do you want to achieve it? Remember that one of the daily habits of successful people is goal setting. You, too, should write down your long-term goals and break them down into smaller daily goals.

5. Map out a plan for your goals.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

This quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a great reminder that just having a goal is not enough. You can write it down, break it down into as many small daily goals as you want, but if you don’t have an action plan to execute it, all will be in vain.

So make plans around your goal. If your goal is to heal from a breakup and one of your smaller goals is to read inspirational books, make plans to buy the book. Even this plan could include smaller tasks, like identifying the right book by searching online or asking for referrals.


But most importantly, remember to not give up. You haven’t failed until you quit, so keep at it.


Make similar plans depending on your unique problem. If your goal is to get investors for your startup idea, make plans to attend events and approach potential investors. Then make sure you actually follow through on the things you write down.

Over time, it gets easier to rise up and follow through. You won’t have to exert as much will because you’ll have formed a set of habits day in and day out. You’ll have a purpose. Your plans and goals are that purpose. They give you a reason to wake up every morning.

If at one point you feel like you want to pull back into depression, go back to No. 3, where you learn to forgive yourself. Listening to music, sharing your experiences with people and reading books can help to avoid setbacks.

But most importantly, remember to not give up. You haven’t failed until you quit, so keep at it.

Related: 15 Inspiring Quotes About Never Giving Up

Alex Jasin

Alex Jasin is the CEO of Metapress, a fast-growing publication to learn new skills, gain inspiration and discover more about what interests you. Alex is also the founder and CEO of X3 Digital, a Google Certified digital marketing and design agency. Alex serves as a consultant for Ai Media Group, a prominent digital marketing agency in New York, working with Fortune 500 clients such as Intel, Allstate and Wells Fargo. Alex has previously been featured on Business Journal, Fox, Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. Connect with Alex Jasin on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.