Disappointment hurts and depending on the circumstances, it can hurt a lot. It can pull you down into a negative spiral for days or even weeks.
Right now there isn’t anyone on this planet who hasn’t experienced some form of disappointment, whether that’s a cancelled holiday, party, live event, graduation, or personal/professional project.
But I wanted to share here some ways in which we can deal with the usual disappointments of life in a more healthier and helpful way.
You can’t change the way you feel, but you can change the way you think and behave about it, which can then allow the experience to be a lot less painful and even increase your learning for future personal growth.
This has been my experience over the past several years. Learning how to handle disappointment has reduced the stress I used to feel when things were not going in the direction that I was expecting or anticipating. Here are some of the strategies that have helped me:
1 Accept how you feel.
It’s ok not to feel ok about something. Allow yourself to feel that disappointment even hurt for a while.
If I sit with those feelings for a while, they tend to go away much quicker, than if I try and push them to the back of my mind. If I do that they usually keep popping back unexpectedly which tends to prolong the disappointment and make me feel more upset about it.
2 You are not the disappointment.
Because you have had a setback, or have been disappointed avoid thinking that you are the disappointment or failure, unless you choose to put that label on yourself.
The situation maybe something totally out of your control and if so, you have to let it go. Even if it was something in your control, it is now in the past and so out of your control.
3 Learn from it.
Instead of getting caught up in the pain and negative emotions that come from disappointment, even if the situation was of your making, put your big pants on, acknowledge and learn from it. Remember there is no such this as failure, only learning. I love this acronym for Fail – First Attempt In Learning.
- What can I learn from this?
- What could I do differently next time?
Perhaps you need to give yourself a better work/life balance, or improve your communication skills. Maybe even spending less time or perhaps no time at all with someone who has disappointed you too many times.
4 Disappointment is more likely to happen when…..
You try something new or change things around and step out of your comfort zone. If we want to change things in our lives, we have to change the way we think about things and how we do them.
Stepping out of our comfort zone can create setbacks and disappointment, but that is a natural part of growing, living a full life and wanting to improve your situation.
5 Talk it over with a trusted someone.
If you are finding it hard to let go of the disappointment, then getting a healthier perspective on what happened is a really helpful way of dealing with disappointment in a much more positive way.
6 Are your expectations too high?
Do you demand or expect perfection from yourself and/or from others? If you do you will very often be disappointed.
Adjust your expectations. I always say that all I can ask of someone is their ‘best’. Now it may well be that their ‘best’ is not my ‘best’, so I need to lower my expectations. Obviously it depends on the situation and people involved. You can’t just change your family members like you can the car mechanic or window cleaner!!
Something that I do ask myself is, ‘will this matter in 5 weeks’ time, or even 5 day’s? If not, then I let it go.
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