Disappointment is a part of life so getting used to it and knowing how to deal with it can help immensely. Dealing with disappointment comes in many forms – there’s minor disappointment when your local shop has run out of your favourite item. There’s more serious disappointment when the person you trusted and committed lets you down and/or deceives you. Yep – disappointment is all around and it’s here to stay.
So how should we approach disappointment? How can we get better at coping with the more serious disappointments in life?
Here are some disappointment tips:
Disappointment happens to everyone, in all its forms. See the experience of disappointment as evidence that you are playing the game of life. Congratulate yourself for facing it head on and remind yourself that from every disappointment, we get that little bit stronger because of it. It’s not a pleasant experience but they do strengthen our characters and teach us a little about the world, others and ourselves.
Learn the lesson
Disappointment offers us a chance to learn something. Were our expectations unreasonable? Were they too reasonable? Was this something we could have avoided if we had paid more attention? Perhaps this disappointment is just one of things sent to challenge us. The most difficult disappointments are often in our personal relationships. When someone is dishonest, uses us, cheats on us and so on, that can be a tough thing to deal with but it can also teach us and promote our self development. The more disappointments, the more we grow as long as we keep the disappointment in perspective and don’t allow them to crush our spirit.
Don’t personalise disappointment
Often, when others let us down, we blame ourselves. If only we’d tried harder, done this or that…Don’t play the blame game and get stuck in the past. Learn the lesson and try to move forward as quickly as possible. When we personalise and blame ourselves and become self critical, we compound disappointment and this can lead us into self sabotaging or self destructive behaviour.
Accept the disappointment without being self critical or apportioning blame on yourself. Be matter of fact about it and try to take the emotion out of it. If anything, emotions obscure what is really going on and keep us stuck in the moment.
Remind yourself of what is good in your life. What are the things that are working for you? This also helps keep disappointment in perspective. Be aware of any black-and-white thinking. When we feel disappointed, we tend to think rigidly – “Life will never get better. This always happens to me…”
That’s not exactly true but we end up talking to ourselves in a way that makes us feel even worse. Instead, remind yourself that there are good things too and that, after a time, the disappointment will diminish and have less of an emotional impact on us.
Try not to allow disappointment to get the better of you. Yes, it can knock us sideways and there can be a phase of sadness but see it as temporary and keep telling yourself that you will get back on track.
Acknowledge the negative feelings but don’t allow yourself to wallow in them.