Disappointment – one of life’s predictabilities. At some point, everyone faces it, that feeling of deep sadness when something or someone doesn’t turn out as we expected. Disappointment is inevitable.
Oftentimes, the most important people in our lives simply don’t come through for us when it really counts. We are often only enlightened by this incapability of our friends and family when the going gets tough. That feeling of abandonment in our time of need can leave us feeling so hurt and disappointed that it becomes unbearable.
Even in our professional lives. You can be that hard-working, dedicated, and knowledgeable person with years of experience but still be overlooked for recognition and promotions time and again. This alone can leave a person feeling so demotivated, undervalued, and unworthy.
There are too many acts of disappointments in life that can leave us feeling discouraged, hurt, and hopeless. It can come from our parents and teachers, our anchors and first protectors in life. Our friends can inexplicably turn on us. A partner can betray us in the most devastating way. Or maybe you’ve reached a point where you realize that life simply doesn’t live up to your plans and expectations.
Throughout our lives, we are encouraged to reach for the stars and strive towards our dreams. We are taught to connect with people and to believe the very best in them. In doing this, it means that facing disappointment is inevitable because sometimes our expectations and goals are set too high. Or, because we are encouraged to see the best in others, we expect the people in our lives — family, friends, colleagues, our bosses — to behave according to our terms and ideals.
Alexander Pope said, “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” I expect that it could not be as basic as this — to expect nothing and avoid that crushing feeling of disappointment. As human beings, as people who think, hope, and feel, there is no life to be lived in the absence of expectations; it’s not that simple.
It’s pretty tough to navigate through disappointment when it is unavoidable. It sometimes feels easier to just give in to the moroseness of it all.
But it is a fact that truly awful events can make us or break us. It is how we react to them that can help enable personal growth and a certain resilience to bad experiences.
It is difficult to suppress and just get over something as emotionally challenging as a disappointment. The associated feelings must be felt and constructively processed to enable us to move forward in a positive frame of mind.
You can’t control another person’s response to your needs. People won’t always respond in the same way that you would and in the way that you expect them to. So, in taking the time to understand this and make peace with it, it will allow you to be more accepting of the people in your life when their behavior falls short of your expectations.
It is beneficial to be open-minded in your response to disappointment. You can choose to see disappointments not as failures but as learning curves.
Process your negative feelings but try not to wallow in them for too long. Step back a little, assess the experience, and think objectively about what really happened. Be honest with yourself about the reasons why you are so disappointed. This should assist you to establish a plan on how to bounce back, set realistic goals (in work, relationships, or in life in general), and achieve them.
Ultimately, everyone wants to be appreciated, loved, supported, and fulfilled. When we offer these things to the world and the people around us, we expect them to be reciprocated. Most often they are not, resulting in the painful experiences of disappointment, which can impact us deeply and negatively.
However, you have the power to alter your relationship with disappointment. You can transform those negative feelings into positive actions and move forward in a constructive way.