Lifestyle Change

psychotherapy, connections, healing, emotional recovery

The Power of Falling: How Embracing Setbacks Fuel Emotional Healing and Connections

By Psychotherapist Beata Pezacka

Have you ever wondered what keeps making us feel stuck and unable to connect to others authentically?

How embracing setbacks fuel emotional healing and connection

Committing to your emotional healing or recovery is key to forming honest, genuine relationships with oneself and others. However, the recovery process can be challenging with internal barriers such as self-criticism, fear of judgment, and people-pleasing behaviors. The journey to recovery from emotional struggles is complex. You might find that it feels beautiful sometimes, or you might find that it feels unpleasant, happy, sad, challenging, easy, intimate, or vulnerable in others. All of these feelings apply at different times on our journey.  Recovery is a process that doesn’t have a finish line. We keep growing and learning, one day at a time, but do that knowing it will have a ripple effect on our connections with others.

Embracing Vulnerability

Authentic, honest connections with ourselves and others are essential, yet they’re often disrupted by the very mechanisms we use to protect ourselves. Behaviors like people-pleasing and self-criticism, driven by a fear of judgment, are common defensive strategies that create barriers to the very growth-supporting actions we need, such as seeking support from family and friends or pursuing professional therapy in times of intense emotional struggle. Instead of fostering genuine connections, these protective measures often lead us to isolation and loneliness, distancing us further from the possibility of healthy and authentic relationships.

It does take a lot of courage to admit that we need help and feel lonely. Sometimes, we might feel afraid of sharing our fears, dreams, and struggles with others. We are often afraid of being rejected, not liked, or perceived as weak and judged- but that vulnerability is the beginning of healing.

Self-Discovery and Recovery

We live in an intense, competitive society where our worth is based on our achievements. We learn early in life that we must be perfect, “better than’ others, and that being human and making mistakes is wrong.  Some of us might have received messages from childhood that we are not good enough. Messages that trigger self-doubt and questions like “Who am I?” “What do I really want?” or “What do I need?” Without that certainty or clarity, we can easily become lost as we continue to depend on external acceptance and validation.

mood tracker for therapy, counseling

As a result, we might perhaps find ourselves in unhealthy relationships that are conditional and far from being vulnerable or authentic. We might find ourselves engaging in unhealthy, compulsive behaviors, including substance use, binging on food, overspending, etc., to fill the emptiness we feel inside and escape the negative thoughts we have of ourselves. The first step in changing that is looking inside ourselves.

In order to have an authentic relationship with others, we must start by having an authentic relationship with ourselves.

An Approach to Authentic Connections: A Two-Way Street

I want to offer one approach to connection and healing- engaging the body. In my regular yoga practice, I do a lot of balancing poses. At the beginning of my practice, I often felt self-critical and judged myself harshly. I was incredibly worried about what others would think, and I was afraid of being rejected and disliked. I would get wrapped in the bondage of self where my ego takes control.  The crazy thing is, the more I worried, the more I would fall and be off my balance.

Falling was difficult for me because I thought I had to be perfect.

As I’ve grown in my practice, I’ve started accepting the falls with an open heart and mind. Something interesting that also happened is that the more I allowed myself to fall, the more authentic my connection became with others around me. Since we all make mistakes and are not perfect, my class members connected with my imperfection and my vulnerability.  

I realized that it’s ok to fall.

Genuine relationships with others start with being true to oneself.

The Value of Falling

As we walk on the path to recovery, we are allowed to make mistakes, trip, and fall on the way. Through my yoga practice, I realized that falling is not a setback. It is an opportunity to expand your body, check in with yourself to what it needs, where you are too hard on yourself, and allow vulnerability and imperfection.  Listening to what the body tells you requires skill and engaging in emotional healing. Both in yoga and life, when we fall, we have a great opportunity to listen to ourselves, our needs, and what is going on inside. As you do that work to understand yourself better and heal, it will be reflected in external connections.

Emotional takes courage and involves progress, not perfection. We need courage, compassion, and vulnerability, which leads to an authentic connection to self and others, ultimately reaffirming your path to recovery, love, and belonging.

So allow yourself to fall once in a while.

Beata, is one of the many exceptional therapists on the Kensho Psychotherapy Team and this is a great piece on emotional healing. If you need to book a therapy, please leave your details here.

woman dealing with disappointment

How Does Disappointment Impact You Emotionally? 

At its core, disappointment is a testament to our standards and dreams. These are the silent architects of our hopes, the scaffolding on which we construct the outlines of our lives. But as life unfolds its chapters, these hopes sometimes materialize differently than expected. What do you do when things don’t go as expected? Disappointment often becomes a breeding ground for anxiety and overthinking, where we replay scenarios, question our choices, and lose our motivation.  

Join us as we explore how disappointment impacts us emotionally and how to tackle disappointment head-on with Industry Scholar Intern Valerie Vallejo.  

The Roots of Disappointment 

Imagine getting a bad grade for a test you studied all week for, a friend betraying your secrets, or even your family failing to make an effort to spend time together- these are all examples of unfulfilled expectations. Expectations are a set of standards people have for themselves and those around them. When they aren’t met, it can trigger a wave of emotions like disappointment or negative thoughts, leaving you overthinking what went wrong. This can make us anxious and stuck on the things that didn’t work out, making it harder to feel better. When disappointment keeps happening, it can impact how we see ourselves and others. 

What Disappointment Can Look Like

Disappointment can instill negative judgments about your abilities or about those around you. Let’s say, for example, you didn’t do well on a recent test, and it then triggers thoughts that make you start to judge if you will ever do well. It might sound like I know I will fail no matter what I do. In your head, you may begin to believe you can’t avoid bad things happening to you, practically accepting failure before giving yourself the chance to try another solution.

Disappointment can also look like getting stuck on what has gone wrong and feeling disheartened. It could also show up as changes in your mood, energy, or motivation, making you less excited to take action. Something we don’t always make connections to is the experience of disappointment at an early age. If you’ve experienced disappointment at an early age, it can show up later in life when as an adult. Adults sometimes reflect these negative judgments or experiences as expectations to fail in relationships or in their own negative beliefs about their skills and abilities. 

Disappointment hits different for Minorities

I spent time researching community issues that may also influence self-belief. According to EducationWeek, research has shown that black students are less likely to be placed in gifted education and twice as likely to receive exclusionary discipline like suspension and detention when they have white teachers. This data reflects a potential pattern of practices that hold lower expectations for black students, nurturing a belief that their school performances are not dependent on their intelligence but more on the teacher’s perception of their racial status. Such early experiences of academic disparities and disappointment in treatment compared to peers can indelibly shape adult beliefs about capability and potential.

Why Therapy Is Important

It is hard to be emotionally self-aware when your judgment is just clouded by negativity and self-sabotaging thoughts. In other words, your mind is like a messed-up ball of yarn. Therapy is important because psychotherapists detangle the mess by picking out every strand and winding it into strands of clarity. Therapy helps you figure out your beliefs and how it impacts your actions. If you can’t get to a therapist, we have some tips to help with disappointment and support challenging unhelpful beliefs. 

How to Tackle Disappointment Head On

  1. Become less pessimistic as you approach new opportunities. Change the way you look at the causes of events in your life. Instead of saying, “I’m never good at this” or “I screw up everything,” ask yourself what this new event in my life is trying to teach you. For instance, “I made a mistake once, but now I know how to avoid this in the future.”
  2. Get in the habit of responding optimistically to reframe negative situations. For example, ask yourself how you came to have these thoughts that upset you. Did your strong emotions lead to certain behaviors and actions? Was the way you responded helpful? Is there another way to look at the thoughts? or respond to these thoughts? 
  3. Set SMART goals to navigate disappointment and keep yourself on track despite how others or even your thoughts may make you feel. Ensure your goals are Specific – clearly define your objectives. Make sure it is achievable, you have a way to track progress, that it is relevant to you, there’s a deadline, etc. Goals may keep you out of your feelings (like disappointment) and keep you on track with clear actions so you don’t get derailed by your expectations.  

Blog researched and written by Industry Scholar Intern from the NYC Public Schools, Valerie Vallejo. Valerie had some great points. We do agree it is helpful to explore early connections to disappointment and your current experiences with achievement, success, relationships, and self-worth. You would be surprised how patterns continue to follow us in different aspects of our life. Therapy is a powerful tool that can help if you live in NY. Mindset Coaching for Black Women in Business is also available if you need to disrupt your relationship with disappointment. 

permission for self care, to unplug and redefine mental health

Redefining Mental Health

When people think of healthcare, the first things that come to mind are surgeons, doctors, injured patients in hospital beds, or even needles and bandaids. But healthcare doesn’t just stop there. Our well-being stems from within us, and it’s time to redefine mental health and its value to our well-being. 

Living life is a lot of work with unpredictable stressors, decisions to make, relationships, and traumatic experiences constantly changing the landscape of who we are. Effective emotional management requires an understanding of and control over one’s emotions. People who are emotionally well are better able to handle stress, form meaningful relationships, maintain a good attitude and avoid burnout. This means they have a more robust capacity to make decisions, tolerate distress, adjust to change, feel good about who they are, operate confidently, and experience greater self-assurance. 

If you are not doing any of that well, this blog is for you.

Lets redefine mental health to protect us from stress and burnout, here is how.

Good emotional, psychological, and social development is vital through all stages of life, from childhood to adulthood. This is known as mental health. The beauty of our emotional experience is it can be supported and protected with skills, the proper support, and changes to our environment.

Redefining Mental Health and What It Means

We often only speak of mental health on the challenging side of the spectrum, such as psychosis, where there is a disconnect from reality, or through the lens of stigma equating mental health to being “crazy” or “weak.” Still, mental health and wellness exist on a spectrum. Mental health impacts how humans think, feel, interact, behave, and handle stress. It’s a complex continuum of Mental health and wellness to mental health disorders that varies from person to person. Meaning everyone has unique vulnerabilities and life experiences that shape their mental health condition. 

In this beautifully chaotic world, mental health is a shared human experience, and redefining it from a negative into a perfectly normal human experience is absolutely okay. 

The Connection Between Mental Health and Our Silence

There are varying degrees of contributing factors to our mental well-being, such as stress, substance use, brain chemistry, family history of mental health problems, gender, trauma, and abuse, and even a willingness to seek help with the average person waiting over ten years to seek professional help at the onset of a mental health issue. 

things that impact your mental health and what to do about it at Redefining mental health so we want to protect it.

Some Additional Stats:

Women are more prone to having a mental health disorder than men are, specifically 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely. 

More than 80% of Black Americans are very concerned about the stigma associated with mental illness, which discourages them from seeking treatment (1)

Around 1 in 6 people (14.7%) experience mental health problems in the workplace, meaning work is negatively impacting their mental health [2]

Only 13% of employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health in the workplace. [2]

Mental Health Applies to Us All

Mental illnesses exist everywhere, from home to work and in between, and can range from mild to severe such as feeling like everybody in the room is staring and judging you, also known as paranoia, to hallucinating like people with schizophrenic may experience when they see or hear things that other’s don’t. Even with anxiety, there can be mild worries to where one experiences obsessive concerns about a perceived flaw, or it manifests in forms like body dysmorphia. In some cases, anxiety is professionally disguised as procrastination or perfection. 

While it can be scary to think about experiencing challenges with our emotional health, it’s no different than experiencing physical concerns and seeking help from a doctor or engaging in preventative measures to protect your well-being. It is always important to engage in activities or good habits that will change your mental health for the better, and what we know is positive mental well-being is influenced by supportive networks, getting connected socially, doing more of what you love, getting active, and prioritizing self-care.

How Are you Prioritizing Your Mental Health this Summer?

Industry Scholar and College Freshman Valerie Vallejo shares, “This summer, I will be practicing good habits like staying physically active, socially connecting myself with supportive people, and quieting my mind. I enjoy being physically active by going to the gym and playing soccer with my family and friends. By doing so, I am devoting my time to care for my health and look my best because when you look good, you feel good.” 

Scholar and recent graduate Keria Emptage reminds us to be social and to check in with family and friends. Valeri adds the benefits of that are you “make new memories, learn about different cultures,” and it’s an opportunity to express yourself “freely, and laugh uncontrollably”. All of the above is excellent medicine for well-being. 

As a Psychotherapist and Self Care Facilitator, I always get asked how I care for myself, especially after hearing many client stories. Well, this summer, I plan to be intentional about reconnecting to things I love to do even if it means scheduling it weekly. I am my most present self when I spend time alone (at the beach), get outside to beautiful places like State Parks, and spend time with family doing activities that encourage connection and communication. 

give yourself permission to take care of your mental health without guilt. Self care, summer fun, protect your mental health, NYC Therapist, Black Therapist

Key to improving your mental health is giving yourself permission to actually pause, unplug, and regroup and without guilt.

How long can you keep putting off taking care of yourself? Your mental health depends on it. 

Kensho Psychotherapy Services

We can’t wait to hear what you will do to protect and nurture your emotional selves for the summer. We’ll be sure to share some more protective tips in future posts, but in the meantime, wishing you a happy and emotionally healthy summer! 

Related Reads

Steps to Overcome Fear and Anxiety

Making Safe Spaces a Reality for Black Women in the Workplace

How to Manage Stress At Work

Article was put together with support from Industry Scholars Keria and Valerie, who are interning with Kensho Psychotherapy Services of the Summer. We love having them and are grateful for their input on this piece and all they are learning about Mental Health! If you need support in Redefining your Mental Health or need someone to come out and talk to your organization about protecting your Mental Health please reach out to us at


[1] Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Fact Sheet

compiled by Danielle Leblanc, MSW, Diversity Outreach Resource Specialist, Laurel House, Inc. &

[2] The Impact Poor Mental Health Has on People at Spill the Tea

“University Health Service.” Ten Things You Can Do for Your Mental Health | University Health Service, Accessed 12 July 2023.“What Is Mental Health?” SAMHSA, Accessed 12 July 2023.

anxious, communication

What You Need to Know About Mental Health and How to Protect It

Mental health is a topic that is now being recognized as a serious issue today. In this blog, Industry Scholar Intern, Efia Blair, explores the definition of mental health and the surprising things she learned exploring the topic. Efia believes the Coronavirus lockdown shed light on why mental health is so important. The lockdown brought a lot of awareness to mental health because people were stuck in their houses for such a long time that it was inevitable for them to begin to experience mental health issues and illness as they grappled with change, uncertainty, loneliness, and new stressors. 

"Be dedicated to change the way in which people see mental illness at all levels of society. If not for yourself, advocate for those who are struggling in silence.” — Germany Kent

So, What Is Mental Health?

Well, it is your overall emotional well-being, and it is critical for us because it controls our actions and reactions. Various things can impact your mental health. Still, your main concern should be taking precautions to improve or sustain your mental health.

One thing that was surprising to me, that widened my knowledge on mental health, is that not only can mental health affect your state of mind but also your physical health. Your body can stop functioning how it used to because of psychological effects, increasing your possibility of developing an illness. Did you know that? I had no idea the mental and physical health connection was that strong. I also learned that our mental health can affect our ability to make decisions if our mental health is compromised. One more thing, did you know mental health problems can be passed down through genes? I thought your mental health was only affected by one’s environment or if you’ve experienced some sort of trauma. 

How Can You Protect Your Mental Health?

Mental health struggles are sometimes inevitable, but many practices can help support good mental health. First, you can connect with a therapist to talk to someone and get the help you need. Sometimes it’s helpful to speak about your feelings out loud. You can also start new hobbies, join a new club, or connect to the people around you. Those two essential acts- asking for help and doing things you enjoy can help protect your mental health in more ways than you realize. 

What things are you doing to protect your mental health? What about using a journal like this one or taking the time to nurture your well-being with walks, meditation, or yoga? Please share your suggestions in the comments!

Self Care Planner for Black women. a ay to protect your mental health

Researched and Written by High School Student Efia Blair for Kensho Psychotherapy Services, where she is an intern through Industry Scholars. If you or someone you know in the NY area is in need of a therapist or counselor, please click here and submit your details for someone to get back to you. The practice offers individual, family, or couples therapy and accepts several insurances like Aetna, 1199, BCBS, UHC, and Optum.

Women thinking about her negative thoughts and overwhelmed

When Life Gives You Lemons – Reframe Your Thoughts

When bad things happen in life, it’s natural for our minds to go to the negative, but it’s important to remember that we can reframe our thinking and look at things in a way that supports momentum. The ability to reframe our thoughts and find optimism takes work, but it’s possible with a few simple steps.

Just Notice. The first step in reframing a situation that may trigger negative thoughts is noticing it’s happening in the first place.

What is the conversation you are having in your head? Especially to something you are anticipating. Is your self-talk helpful? Once you can capture the thoughts that are not, you can begin to capture those lemons and reframe them into something more practical and productive to you.

When life gives you lemons reframe the possibilities

Look for Unhelpful Thought Styles. We all have default thinking styles that show up occasionally, like seeing the worst in a situation or minimizing your success. When you know those unhelpful thinking patterns, you can notice them faster and challenge them. For example, if we find ourselves engaging in negative self-talk, we can reframe those thoughts and focus on more positive and realistic interpretations of the situation.

For example, in a relationship, if the thought pops up, “If my partner doesn’t agree with me on this, then they must not love me.” This type of thinking ignores the complexities often present in relationships and the things that are going well, quickly triggering frustration, disappointment, and resentment.

What if, instead, we considered the other possibilities and changed that thought to something like, “my partner may not see eye to eye on this with me, but I know they are willing to listen and engage with me, which is a sign of their love and commitment to our relationship.” How does that sound instead? How does it compare to the first thought? 

women journaling
Journaling at a recent Wellness Event hosted by Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R

Keep A Gratitude Journal. One powerful technique is gratitude. When we focus on what we are grateful for, we shift our attention away from negative thoughts and experiences and teach our brains to search for the positive. This can help us feel more optimistic about the future, even under challenging circumstances. 

Take a few moments daily to identify 2-3 things you’re grateful for. It could improve your overall happiness. 

Avoid Worst-Case Scenario Thinking. Everything isn’t going to have a horrible outcome. Instead of imagining what that can be, focus on the present moment and take things one step at a time. This can help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed by negative thoughts and emotions.

Cultivate your people! Surrounding yourself with the right people can make a big difference in staying optimistic and motivated. Having supportive friends and family members willing to listen and offer encouragement can help us feel less alone, seen, understood, and focused. If you can’t find positive people to draw from or feel like negative only follows you- reframe your thoughts! Don’t be afraid to look for the connections you need in your life in the form of mentors, joining associations, or partnering with like-minded groups. You can cultivate your people!

Let me know which approach you need to embrace more often in the comments below.

RSVP for the Renew Connect Restore info session on 5/20/23 at 4:30 PM EST here:

Amanda Fludd, Psychotherapist

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R, is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Mental Health consultant. She works in partnership with organizations and institutions like schools and corporations to assess an organization’s emotional health, designing customized mental health and wellness workshops to help teams navigate stress, burnout, and trauma so they can thrive well.

psychotherapy, connections, healing, emotional recovery

The Power of Falling: How Embracing Setbacks Fuel Emotional Healing and Connections

Explore the journey of emotional healing and authentic connection in this blog. We tackle the challenges of self-criticism …

woman dealing with disappointment

How Does Disappointment Impact You Emotionally? 

Dive into our latest blog where we tackle the real deal – handling disappointment like a pro. Life’s got its twists, …

permission for self care, to unplug and redefine mental health

Redefining Mental Health

Redefining Mental Health is understanding the complexities of mental health, recognizing whats in our control and learning …