Do you feel let down or disappointed lately? Maybe you feel let down by your spouse because they don’t keep their promise or are changing more slowly than you anticipated. You may feel disappointed with your children, who don’t perform well in their studies. Your boss let you down when they didn’t follow through with what they said. Your colleagues don’t support you as you thought they would. Your friends don’t care about you, especially when you need them the most. Perhaps you feel let down and disappointed with yourself. Feeling let down or disappointed can bring about heartache.
Everyone has experienced some disappointment, and often you cannot avoid it. The core issue of disappointment is unmet expectations, spoken or unspoken.
HOW DISAPPOINTMENT IMPACTS YOUR LIFE
1. Positive impacts
Disappointment can benefit you by causing you to make some changes to improve yourself or your situation. Rather than wallowing in your disappointment, you can self-reflect on what and how things disappoint you, and make a conscious decision to change it and better yourself and what you do. Your disappointment, therefore, becomes positive learning leverage for you.
2. Negative impacts
However, disappointments can also slowly cripple your life if you don’t deal with them as soon as possible. You may become dissatisfied, unhappy, impatient, irritated, upset, jealous, frustrated, angry, resentful, or even bitter, etc. Dwelling on these feelings can make you stuck.
Therefore, it is crucial to deal with your disappointments as early as possible.
HERE ARE SOME PRACTICAL STEPS TO DEALING WITH DISAPPOINTMENT
There are some practical steps that you can do to minimize or deal with your disappointment completely.
1. Acknowledge that you are disappointed
Denying or suppressing your feelings of disappointment will lead you to develop other negative emotions, as mentioned above. These negative emotions can often result in reactions to others that perhaps have nothing to do with what you were disappointed with in the first place, which is called “projection.”
2. Name it
Naming what the disappointment is for you can break its power over you. Naming it can be in the form of telling someone you trust or writing it down on a piece of paper if you choose not to let others know about it. By doing so, you get the disappointment out of your system!
3. Evaluate your disappointment
Please give yourself time to reflect on your disappointment. Ask yourself: is it that bad? How important is the matter that I am disappointed in? Do I feel disappointed because I have failed myself or because someone has failed me? Have I expressed my expectations clearly? Do others understand my expectations fully? Is it worth wallowing in? Or is it better for me to let it go?
4. Forgive yourself
Sometimes you may feel let down and disappointed with yourself. Some may experience guilt or shame and struggle to shake it off. In this instance, you need to be able to forgive yourself and accept that you can make mistakes. To love yourself means to forgive yourself.
5. Lower your expectations
Often we put high expectations on ourselves or others. Lowering your expectation DOES NOT mean you are lowering your values. Many of my clients refuse to lower their expectations because they think it means they have to settle with the values that they disagree with, e.g. reducing your load (lower expectation) versus being ok to be lazy (negative value). Lowering your expectations will help you feel a sense of achievement within yourself, feel happier and increase your self-confidence.
6. Put things in the proper perspective
There are many things that you can be thankful for. So put your disappointment in the proper perspective too. Counting what you have achieved rather than what you have lost will help you to be grateful for your life. This action will require you not to compare yourself, your children, or your work with others who perhaps have more than you or appear to be more successful than you.
7. Make a decision
It is up to you whether you want to be in control of your life by learning from your disappointment to better yourself and what you do or to give power to your disappointment to ruin your life and make you feel miserable with yourself. Remember, everyone experiences some disappointments!
Yes, disappointment is quite a tricky feeling, and sometimes it may involve a significant loss. Still, it is worthwhile to step back and exercise these practical steps above to help you cope better with your disappointments and hopefully, you will feel better.