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Well, that sucked! Have you ever uttered those words to yourself, reflecting on some perceived failure or flub in your life, feeling all sorts of defeated and rundown and ready to toss in your sweat-and-tear soaked towel? No one is immune to a metaphorical gut punch every now and then, but it’s how we move forward after the blow that makes all the difference.
Dr. Neeta Bhushan is a world-renowned emotional health advocate and expert in the areas of grit and resilience. The title of her new book caught my attention and it’s why she’s on the show. It’s called: That Sucked. Now What? How to embrace the joy in chaos and find magic in the mess. Her mission is to help people rebuild after life-altering moments. This isn’t a dose of toxic positivity or emotional perfectionism – this is research-backed advice for getting up and getting on with life when you’ve been bowled over.
Living the Life of Someone Else
Neeta remembers the moment she experienced what she called the greatest awakening of her life. It was December 31st, 2011. “I was looking in the mirror and literally sobbing,” she continued, “I built this amazing life.
Because from the outside, I was a cosmetic dentist. I had done all the things, made the ghost of my parents really proud…I had my really lucrative practice and I wasn’t even 30 yet at the time and yet looking in this mirror, I’m like, why am I not happy?”
It was at that moment she realized what else was true about her life. “For the first time I would admit to myself like, yeah, Neeta, you are in this toxic relationship. A marriage that I was in, I had fallen in love. I did all the things, got this big fat Indian wedding that everyone could dream of, and yet I am crumbling and wanting to figure out who I really was because up until then, I had no idea.”
“I was literally living the life of other people,” she told me. “So at that point, I had to take those brave steps to claim myself for the first time and fully then reinvent myself.”
Fly Forward & Be Bouncy
When you fall – whether that’s a breakup, a medical diagnosis, losing a job, quitting a job, or some other life change that knocks you down – Neeta says you need to fly forward, a concept she teaches in her book. It begins with accepting and leaning into the discomfort of uncertainty. Press play to hear Dr. Bhushan walk through what this framework looks like in practice.
Neeta also teaches the concept of bounce factor. You can increase your ‘bounciness’. Think of those bouncy balls we all loved as kids. They’re firm but smooth and they bounce, not shatter, when they hit the floor. Neeta explained, “That’s really what resiliency is. It’s the toughness, but it’s also the softness. It’s also the agility. It’s also the flow.”
Embracing the Suck
Neeta talks about the differences between victim mentality, survivor mentality, and thriving mentality in her book. During our conversation, she describes a night that she had planned to go on a date with her husband about three months after her daughter was born. They lined up childcare, got ready to leave, and then the sitter never showed. She found herself crying, wondering why it was happening to them, why they were having such a hard time finding support to care for their children.
At that same moment, her son asked Alexa to play the Dinosaur Song…And you’ll have to hit play to hear how her mentality shifted and the mood was diffused, a true demonstration of embracing the suck.
More from Dr. Neeta Bhushan
Dr. Bhushan shares so much more on the topics of grit, resiliency, embracing the suck. To dive even deeper into this work with her, download the 40-page handbook she prepared to accompany her book, That Sucked… Now What? as well as other bonuses.