Battling Disappointment

At some point in time or another we have all experienced disappointment. I am sure we are all well aware of some of the feelings that go along with disappointment: anger, fear, sadness, grief or even apathy. Sometimes, these feelings can be overwhelming. What can we do to make a disappointing situation a little easier to deal with?

Recently I have been the victim of disappointment myself. Although it didn’t put me in a tailspin, it did make me question what kind of steps should be involved with recovering from a disappointing situation. Here is what I came up with.

  1. Realize that you are disappointed and acknowledge your feelings. You wanted one thing, got another and now you feel the disappointment. Did it make you feel angry, fearful, sad, grievous, or are you feeling nothing at all? Do you want to scream, plot your revenge or give up? Scream out loud or in a pillow. Play it out in your mind. Write it down on paper (if you are plotting revenge, make sure you don’t actually follow through with your plans). Ask yourself why you are feeling the way you are, why you are listening to this part of you (anger, fear, sadness, etc.), and how you can be with your pain for the moment, then how you can begin to move away from that pain. What steps will it take? Just make sure you are able to explore how it made you feel.
  2. Talk it out. Once you have expressed your disappointment to yourself, it’s time to talk it over with someone you trust. Sometimes it is just helpful to talk out all the emotions you are feeling to someone who will not judge you or tell you you are crazy.
  3. Get perspective. Perhaps you have misinterpreted the situation altogether. Or maybe you have missed the lesson. A neutral person could help you to determine just what may have happened and point you in a more appropriate direction.
  4. Discover the good. Discovering what good things came from your situation can be quite empowering and lead you to better outcomes in the future. If you are having trouble coming up with good things that could come from your experience, then start a gratitude list. List all the things you are grateful for in your life and read them everyday until you can add the good things that have come from the experience. Not only will you have found the good, your whole frame of mind will have changed with this valuable exercise.
  5. Move past dwelling on the disappointment. It’s time to take action by moving ahead. Take those lessons and all that gratitude and put them into the next experience you have. Having trouble with this? Then just start by writing the next steps you will take. You can also get out and do some fun things that will help you let go. Get together with friends who will help you get out of yourself and have fun. When the time comes to try that experience again you will have a great frame of mind and a whole list of possible avenues to take. “Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.”–Eckhart Tolle

In the end, it is important to remember that life is about living to the fullest. If you spend your time drowning in disappointment, then you are not living. Try the steps above to move beyond the disappointment and begin living the incredible life that is waiting for you.

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