Because we’re human we’re inevitably going to experience disappointment…a lot. Sometimes the disappointment is just an annoying feeling and other times it’s all consuming and just so, so, so bitter. What can you do to relieve some of this weight? How can you feel better NOW?
Let me help you out…I want to offer 5 things to try on when you’re feeling disappointed.
Before we dive into all that I think it’s important that we’re all on the same page when it comes to talking about disappointment. What does disappointment look like to you? What does that term mean in your life?
Most people would say it means something like this: The someone did something negative that made them feel sad or disappointed, right?
If Jordan said she was going to meet me at 12:00 for lunch and she doesn’t show up because she forgot, I’m going to feel disappointed. Then I’m probably going to tell myself something like this: SHE said she’d be here! How could she?! We agreed on this time. I’m here waiting and SHE forgot and left me hanging. I’m disappointed because of HER actions. After all, I’m here. I’m waiting. I showed up when and where we agreed. I didn’t do anything wrong. SHE is the one that needs to change….right???
What is disappointment anyway?
Here’s what good ol’ Google has to say about it:
Disappointment- the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.
I love this definition because it clearly states where the issue lies…with ourselves…which
is GREAT news – I know, it doesn’t sound like good news- I mean, you didn’t do anything wrong – THEY
did. THEY need to change…You shouldn’t have to! But the problem with this thinking is
that if that were the case then we’d have to WAIT for THEM to change before we could
feel better…which could be never. So the good news is that you have the capacity and power to change how you feel NOW.
Okay, so now that you know the bitter-sweet truth of it let’s get to those helps to navigate your way through those
times when disappointment rears it’s ugly head…because it always does
and it’s never fun when it comes around.
5 Things to do:
Step 1: Take responsibility for YOUR thinking in all this. Remember, NO ONE CAN
MAKE YOU FEEL ANYTHING. That’s your job. You create how you feel because
of the thoughts you’re having. I’m not telling yourself to make yourself feel better at this
point, like you shouldn’t feel disappointed. If you want to feel disappointed and wallow
for a bit – rock on with that, my friend. Just OWN it. Take control of your power – you’re
not feeling this way because someone else MADE you – you’re choosing to feel this way
and it’s OKAY. Already you’ll start to feel a little better because you know that when
you’re ready to stop wallowing and ready to feel better you CAN because you’re in
charge of that.
Step 2: Thought check…SO WHAT? We’re feeling disappointment because of thoughts in our heads.
Remember the definition: The feeling of sadness caused by the nonfulfillment of ONE’S
HOPES??? Let’s figure out WHY this is a problem for you in the first place. Brooke
Castillo urges us to ask this: SO WHAT? Which I realize sounds kind of harsh but
really figure out why it’s an issue:
Jordan didn’t show up for our lunch. SO WHAT?
Well, she must not value my time. If she did she wouldn’t have forgotten. We must not be
as good of friends as I thought because it was so easy for her to write off our lunch date.
We tend to make things mean all kinds of things. Do we really know that Jordon doesn’t
value her time? No. Where does it say that to be a good friend you have to show up? No
We have these ideas of the way others SHOULD behave. We create these “rules” in our
heads of what others need to do in order for us to feel a certain way but the truth of the
matter is, people can do whatever they want…and it doesn’t have to mean ANYTHING
Maybe Jordon forgot because that’s her personality. She has so much on her plate that it’s
a scheduling/organizational issue. It’s not that she doesn’t like her. She just isn’t very good
at managing her time yet. We don’t know and we don’t have to. We get into trouble
however when we create meanings for other’s behaviors and how we interpret them.
Step 3: How do you WANT to feel? If you know your thoughts are creating this disappointment – this nonfulfillment
of your expectations – do you still want to feel that way? You get to decide. How do you want to
feel? What kind of a person do you want to be? How does disappointment feel for you?
Do you WANT to keep it? Sometimes we do. Totally okay. Disappointment is part of the
human experience. We’re supposed to feel it sometimes so that in times of Joy we can
appreciate it all the more because we know what disappointment feels like.
Step 4: Don’t resist it – Be willing to feel the emotion. Whatever you choose to feel – don’t resist it. If you’re needing to feel disappointed it’s okay. Don’t resist it and try to go to Happyland. It’ll feel inauthentic and you’ll create
even more pain and discomfort in the process. Just let it stay until it’s ready to go. When
you know your thoughts control it, you also know that you’re not going stay feeling
this way forever. It won’t be a long season.
Recently someone offered our family something truly amazing. Like, really, really, really amazing.
I SO WANTED to accept it. I really wanted to run with it and say yes…but we couldn’t. No matter how many ways my brain tried offering me solutions to our roadblocks – It just wasn’t right for our current family situation and what our needs are at this time so through tears I wrote a sad letter declining this unheard of, amazing offer. It was really hard for me.
The person that gave us the generous offer was sorely disappointed. I could imagine that in this person’s mind
they basically had offered us GOLD. Like giving someone a Mercedes for FREE. No one in their
right mind is going to turn that down…but we had to. I didn’t want to. I really wanted
that sweet car – but in the end for many reasons I couldn’t share. I had to decline. This person responded
very eloquently and admitted that it absolutely was a bitter disappointment. I’m sure they didn’t
understand. After all, how could anyone turn away a Mercedes for FREE??? It’s
unheard of and crazy. Who does that?!
I know in this person’s mind they were disappointed because of the “nonfulfillment of
their expectations”. I would be too! I mean, who turns down an opportunity like a FREE Mercedes?! No one! Sometimes it’s just confusing why people do what they do and it’s hard to understand them. It’s hard to make peace with the disappointment because we WANT to know WHY. We want to have all the pieces so we can know and not let our brains fill in the gaps and inevitably try to make it mean something about us.
So step 5: Be Generous in your thoughts towards others. Give other people the benefit of the doubt not for them but for you – so YOU can feel better. It hurts when we make it mean something negative about us. It hurts when
we think that we’re somehow not enough or what we have to give they don’t want. Don’t
make it mean that. You are amazing just the way you are. Sometimes people do things
for reasons that only THEY know. Maybe they can’t share them at this time. Maybe there
is other things going on in their lives that we just aren’t privy to. So for your sake – think
from the generous side.
Remember only you get to feel what your thoughts create. Disappointment stinks. It
doesn’t feel good. It’s painful. It’s uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s just overwhelming and
HURTS. Take the drama out of it. What THEY do is about THEM and it has
NOTHING to do with you. Truly, it doesn’t. Don’t make it about you. It’ll only
add to the negativity.
Recap: 5 steps to feeling better after being disappointed.
1.) Own it – take responsibility
2.) So What?
3.) How do you WANT to feel?
4.) Don’t resist what you’re feeling
5.) Be Generous in your thinking towards others (not for THEM but for YOU so you can feel better NOW)
These steps work – no matter the disappointment – no matter the caliber of the disappointment. Remember, disappointment is merely the nonfulfillment of one’s expectations – it is a thought that creates that feeling. It’s not as scary when it’s put into perspective. You are in control. You can choose to feel it and experience it and then when you’re ready you can also choose to change it. You have the power. You’re not a victim to your circumstances. You decide how to interpret the situation. You can change your expectations. It’s all thought work and you can do thought work! This is GREAT news because it leaves YOU in the drivers seat. Navigate carefully!
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The Life Coach School – Brooke Castillo