Dealing in Disappointment

No doubt about it, disappointment is a bit**—and can really throw us off our game. Feelings of severe disappointment—either in a situation, in a person, or in ourselves—can, if not handled, drag us down and handicap our “go getter” attitudes. We are dream chasers, optimists, and star-reachers, but ruin our expectations and don’t give us what we want and we get very unhappy and disappointed. This is when the teen cries that her life is ruined and the adult is baffled as to why he is so darn unhappy with his job. It gets worse when we are told that it is fully within our ability to achieve what we want—so then why haven’t we? When our expectations are dashed to pieces we need to know how to handle it, learn from it, come back from it, and move on.

1. Identify the source of your disappointment:

  • What was not met or fulfilled that has left you feeling like nothing works out, that all your dreams are doomed to fail, or that nothing ever works in your favor, that it was a waste of time, or that people always let you down?
  • “This job sucks.” “This isn’t what I signed up for.” “I can’t believe he did that to me.” “I thought I had that in the bag for sure.”—Translation, not what I wanted, not what I expected, and definitely not what I was working towards.

2. Evaluate the reasonableness of your goal or expectation:

  • Make sure your expectations are not set too high—the key to achieving any goal is to have a reasonably attainable goal. Make sure you aren’t demanding too much too soon or expecting the world with minimal effort. Be realistic.

3. Analyze other possible factors that may result in a failure to meet expectations:

  • If your goal or expectation was reasonable, then what caused things to not work out? Other factors like laziness, a lack of information, poor planning, or a lack of resources can all add to the likelihood of not achieving what you wanted.

4. Revaluate your goals or expectations and adjust as necessary:

  • Sometimes we realize that we actually had no clue what we wanted in the first place. Disappointment can arise when we discover that this is definitely not what we want. But rest easy; that’s not a waste of time, it’s a lesson learned.

5. A new plan of action:

  • So, what are you going to do about it? Pout? Cry that nothing ever goes your way? Well, maybe a little. That’s natural. But then you are going to suck it up, redesign your plan, tweak it and try again, or start from scratch and go after something new.

Disappointment is a guiding beacon to teach us what we don’t want and to help us figure out what works when it comes to getting what we do want. Do not let it crush you or lead to depression. Revaluate and redesign your plan of action. Change your game plan and get back in it! You will never win if you don’t even play!

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