Dealing with Life’s Disappointments
Disappointment is one of life’s greatest teaching lessons. Not how we would have liked to have had the lesson taught to us but extremely effective in bringing us into reality so we don’t get stuck in the realm of how things should have been. Whenever we do something in life with an expectation of how we’d like it to turn out, we risk experiencing disappointments.
When things don’t go the way we had envisioned, we may feel a range of emotions from slightly let down to depressed or even angry. We might direct our feelings inward toward ourselves, or outward toward other people or the universe in general. Whether we feel disappointed by ourselves, a friend, or life in general, disappointment is always a tough feeling to experience. Still, it is a natural part of life and there are many ways of dealing with it when we find ourselves in its presence.
As with any feeling, disappointment always comes into our life for a reason and the most important part of experiencing disappointments in our life is to acknowledge it and feel it. The more we are able to accept how we are feeling and process it, the sooner we will move into new emotional territory. As we process our feelings of disappointment, there are many ways we can see what the gift was out of not getting what we wanted. Not easy but if we turn within and release the attachment to the outcome we expected, we might find that through the experience we have grown within or even grown up.
As we consider other disappointments in our life and how we have moved past them, we may even see that in some cases what happened was actually better in the long run than what we had wanted to happen. Disappointment often leaves us feeling deflated but the beauty of it is that it provides us a bridge to the other side where the acceptance of reality, wisdom, and the energy to begin again can be found.
4 Ways to Deal with Disappointment
Here are a few guidelines in helping you deal with disappointments and maybe grow from the experience and getting past it.
- Allow yourself to just feel it. One of the hardest things to do in a world where everything is immediate is to just let yourself experience a feeling. Human beings are not very good at allowing the experience of full on emotions without trying to speed up the process. Children will throw tantrums, cry, scream, or laugh until it runs out and they are genuinely ready to move on. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling without any agenda of speeding up the process. Whatever you are feeling is OK. Take some time to just sit with your emotion and experience it without moving to fix or change it.
- Get a kinder perspective. The wonderful thing about letting it out is that you have given yourself that time.
You have treated yourself like a friend and allowed yourself the space you needed to experience your feelings of disappointment. Once you’ve done that, it becomes much easier to get some perspective. After you give yourself space to feel, you’re able to give the situation or individuals involved more room to breathe.
- Disappointments will help you discover your core values. If you don’t know what your core values are, you may not have a framework to support you when you experience negative emotions. For example, if your core values are truth and integrity, your disappointment will be huge when someone lies to you or acts without integrity. If you know what your core values are, you can then know your disappointment around them will be over the top.
- Practice acceptance. As human beings, even though we know that some things are bound to happen, we’re not always willing to accept them. Every time you feel disappointment, if you are overwhelmed by your emotions, withdraw and blame others, you will experience that same reaction again. Accept that disappointments are a part of life, part of being human.
Susan Z’s Verdict
Dealing with disappointments will be a lifelong process. You will be disappointed many times and you will also disappoint others. Life will be disappointing many times over but it will pass. It is a part of life, but all parts of life can help us grow. We can only be accountable for how we deal with disappointment, even in the midst of negative emotions. We will live life more fully and accountable if we can accept that disappointment doesn’t come with a handbook of instructions, only what we choose to read into it.
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