#204 – Dealing with Disappointment
As the saying goes, “Into each life a little rain must fall.”
Some disappointments are greater than others. As a child, you were probably disappointed when you didn’t get that special Christmas or birthday present you had been wanting and maybe even expecting. In school, you were more than likely disappointed with a grade you got on a paper. You may have thought you did a great job, but the teacher didn’t share your opinion.
Now as adults, we learn that life can be full of disappointments. Some are greater than others. You get passed over for a promotion at work, you missed a sale at your favorite store, you discovered your house has termites or someone betrays your trust.
All of these are disappointments and need to be dealt with…hopefully in an adult manner. In the grand scheme of things, most disappointments are…disappointing. They aren’t the end of the world! You’ll get past them and then it’s time to move on. For most of us, it just depends on the severity of the disappointment.
For example, as I am writing this, I was actually supposed to be at the marina launching my boat. At the last minute the marina staff discovered a small crack in the bottom of the boat that really needed to be addressed before the boat goes in the water. The boating season on Lake Superior is already a very short season. This year it was shortened by nearly a month because of unusually heavy snow fall in April. And not this!
Is it disappointing? Yes! Will I survive? Yes, because it’s not the end of the world. What did I do to get past this disappointment? I walked away and came home to get some writing done. This situation, among several others related to me by friends, prompted me to write this blog.
Some of the disappointments that hurt the worst are when you’re let down by other people. They’ve made a commitment to you, they break that commitment, and they’ve let you down. Sometimes it’s inadvertent. Sometimes it’s intentional.
It usually hurts worse when people let us down intentionally especially if you’re in a relationship. When someone you love and care for does something hurtful it’s extremely painful. Often times this is when a relationship ends.
This is when the grieving process needs to start. There is nothing wrong with grieving the loss of a relationship. This is healthy and necessary. And then, the grieving process needs to end at some time. Grief is different for everyone. Some people move through the process more quickly than others.
Problems arise when you get stuck in your grief. You hang on to your hurt, anger, and loss instead of working through it and moving on.
When disappointment happens, sometimes you just have to step away from the problem and think about something else. Take some time away from whatever you were doing. Take a break, refresh your mind by taking a walk, taking a drive, get away for a few hours…or even a few days if you can. A change of scenery can make a significant change to your attitude and how you deal with your problems.
Get your anger, frustration, disappointment, and hurt out of you by writing it down on paper. Just the physical act of writing, transferring your thoughts from your mind, through your hand, to a piece of paper can be extremely helpful. It can relieve a significant amount of stress.
If it’s written as a letter to someone, sit on the letter for a couple of weeks without sending it and without looking at it. After a couple of weeks have passed, pull the letter out and read it. Are your feelings still the same? Probably not. Your emotions have more than likely calmed down and your level of hurt, anger and disappointment have diminished a bit.
If this is a letter you want to send, take some time to refine it and maybe smooth out some of the rough edges. If you choose not to send it, this is the time to ceremonially let your emotions go. I have done this on a couple of occasions after particularly difficult situations and it has an incredible freeing feeling.
You can be as simple or as complex as you would like to be in this ceremony. In it’s simplest form, you take your letter, pray over it and ask God to take this burden and these negative emotions from your life. Forgive the person that has hurt you. Forgiveness is important in letting go of the negative emotions.
When you are done, complete the ceremony by burning the letter. Watch as the letter turns to smoke and ash and release it to God and the universe. The impact can be cathartic.
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