Dealing with Disappointment

Dealing with Disappointment

 

It seems that is a common theme these days.

Plans are made, an interruption strikes, and disappointment enters.

 

A relationship doesn’t work out the way we hoped it would, a job doesn’t turn out how we thought, plans we were looking forward to are cancelled.

The day becomes entrenched in it, the weekend overcome by it. 

 

 

 

However, we often give away so much of our power to disappointment.

What would happen if we viewed the impact of the disappointment differently?

Notice I didn’t say “view the disappointment differently”. This is not a post on maintaining only positive thoughts and ignoring sadness. In order to feel happiness, we have to also feel the other emotions, including sadness. We can’t push down one without pushing down them all. 

So yes, it is okay to be sad when something we were hoping for doesn’t work out. It is okay to be disappointed when we were really excited for something to happen.

The key is how do we allow the disappointment to impact us.

Part of casting off the lie of powerlessness is not allowing external factors to control us.

Yes, external factors will impact all of us. However, we get to control our mindset, our hope, and how we respond.

So after feeling the disappointment, where do we go from there? Here are two key questions:

 

Can I flow with the change? – Similar to waves coming onto a beach. If we stand against the wave, it crashes against us. If we go with the wave, it takes us right back to shore. With disappointment, can we flow with the emotions then adjust our mindsets?

Often, when we hold our lives, plans, and ideas with tight fists, any slight adjustment will send us spiraling. The key is to hold our plans and relationships with a dose of both hope and reality. Hope that things will progress a certain way, but also reality in realizing the world we live in and that plans can change.*

 

How do we adjust our mindset? – Let’s say plans are cancelled because you were exposed to covid (again). You now have more free time on your hands than you did before. How do you view that time? Do you allow it to be overcome by the disappointment or do you find ways to still live? This could look like reading a good book, maybe taking a much needed rest, or deep cleaning that space in the house that you’ve been avoiding.

In therapy terms, this is called “reframing”. It is this concept of taking the same picture (ex. the exposure) and putting a new frame around it. It does not negate what has happened or take away the frustration, sadness, or disappointment. However, it does change how we view the picture.

For your disappointment, what is a possible reframe?

 

*Idea of holding hope and reality together came from a book called, People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them The Keys by Mike Bechtle. 

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