Disappointment is part and parcel of everyday life when our expectations don’t align with reality. This could be anything from a meal that you’ve been anticipating all day not tasting so good; birthday celebrations that had to be cancelled because of Covid; or someone’s action or inaction.
You can’t remove disappointment from life completely, but you can learn to deal with it better and even come back stronger for it.
In an article in Health & Wellbeing Magazine we are told that disappointment is an internal emotion powered by shame related to expectations and sometimes regret. It can feel like loss associated with lack of achievement or a missed opportunity; something we feel we want but can’t have and thwarted goals.
The article’s experts said that disappointment can have some benefits. It can help us focus on those aspects of our lives that help us learn and grow by highlighting what is meaningful to us. It can reveal your passion for something, provide opportunities for personal development and make you stronger in the long run.
Getting bad news is a hard pill to swallow, particularly when it knocks our confidence. Feeling sorry for ourselves is a perfectly normal response. If we embrace that feeling it can make getting over it easier. Take time to feel the hurt, upset or shock. Blocking it out isn’t good for our mental or physical health and it can invalidate our true feelings, having a negative impact on self-worth. We shouldn’t be worried about having difficult feelings as they can teach us a lot. We need time to process things and understand what caused us to feel this way.
Being there for other people going through disappointment takes strength of character. It can be too easy to fall into the trap of over empathising with the other person which can leaving us feeling drained. We may need to listen to our own needs and protect ourselves in order to be in the best place to help others. We may need to set boundaries by asking what the other person needs and then consider if we are the right person to give it to them.
Trying to avoid disappointment all the time detracts from what we really want. Learning to cope with difficult feelings is through experiencing them and surviving them. Once you’ve had a disappointing experience it can give us opportunities to find different ways to work towards resolving it. Reflect on what we feel disappointed about and how we show that disappointment to ourselves and others. Do we need to adjust our expectations, or negotiate? Putting things in perspective goes a long way to find hope in times of trouble. Will is still matter this time next year? In ten years?
The article suggested that we learn from the experience, consider what went wrong, why and how this could be prevented from happening again. Life doesn’t always follow the path we’d like it to, so let go of the reins a bit and live in the now.