Dealing with Disappointment

Uncategorized Aug 01, 2019

 If you’re human, you will have experienced disappointment at some point, and there are so many reasons why: you could have been hoping to get a specific job, you could have been fired from an old one; you could be hoping for a new relationship to take off, or be dealing with bumps in the road in an existing one; you or someone you love could have a health diagnosis. Or it could be as simple as a new pair of shoes you were obsessing about were not available in your size.  This is all a part of life. 

Why do we feel this way? Simply our expectation was not met. We had a picture of something and it didn’t happen that way. Life happens. Here are two ways many people dealing with disappointment:

  • Blaming others: they betrayed me, they lied, they’re undependable, they’re weak, they’re______________ You can fill in the blank.
  • Blaming yourself: I failed, I can’t do anything right, I’m a terrible person and nothing ever works out for me, I’m too trusting, too caring, too ______________ You can fill in the blank.

Both of these will keep us spinning in a loop of sadness, anger, bitterness, and if we stay there too long, despair.  

So what to do? Here are 5 ways of dealing with disappointment:

 

  1. Realize that disappointment is perfectly normal, it’s human, no one escapes this feeling.
  2. Be with the feeling and let it out – instead of ignoring how you feel, talk with a friend, take out a journal and write your heart out. Then write some more from the perspective of a neutral person just seeing it all play out. You might come up with a new perspective. 
  3. Reframe your story. Remember it’s not what happens to us that is the determining factor; it’s how we interpret it. Viktor Frankl, from a concentration camp wrote: "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."

We can choose to stay upset with a situation, a person or life itself and wallow in self-pity or anger, OR we can ask one important question. With this incident, what can I learn and how is this ultimately going to make me stronger.  Being fired from a job might just lead you to a better one more in alignment with your passions and values.  If you get ghosted while dating, you know that person was a waste of your time. Consider the expression: Life happens not to you but FOR you. What if every disappointment was in your life to move you forward? One of my mentors, Brendon Burchard says it well. "What did I learn about myself, other people, the world and what can I do now?"

  1. FLEXIBILITY = FREEDOM Can I approach life with more flexibility, and less attachment to the “way it should be?” If we hold perfectionism as a standard, remember life is messy. If we hold a negative perspective, we can train our brains through gratitude for our blessings which comfort us and our challenges which make us stronger.  “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.”― Confucius
  2. Take action: For right now, make a plan. Get into action; even small things count. Call a friend, move the energy in your body, do something small where you feel a sense of accomplishment.  Then take the long view. Ask yourself, Will this matter in 5 years from now? How do I want to live my life, being imprisoned by this feeling or free to move into where I’m being guided?  

Remember, there’s a gift hidden in each disappointment. You will get it eventually. Allow yourself to dream. If not this, then something better. Honor your feelings, but don’t get stuck in them. Do what you can to raise your energy. Allow yourself to dream, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” You are not the victim of circumstances. Disappointments are just a signal that you are in transition to something more aligned with your core values.  Keep the big picture and take your next step. 

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