Dealing with Disappointment

Dissapointment can feel like a visceral hurt. Yet, some people gulp and move on. Meanwhile others are hobbled in their efforts to surmount it. At the heart of one’s ability, or lack thereof to simply move on is expectation, the crux of it all. Disappointment frustrates, hurts, or hobbles in direct ratio to how much our expectations were violated. High expectations being dashed hurts much more than medium or minimal ones being crushed. Interestingly, even successful people can feel disappointed if deep down there was a sense that success was not deserved. Disappointment is so uncomfortable we all seek to avoid it. This can lead to tweaking our individual bar up or down, in an effort to not have too aim high, or conversely be so perfect we avoid ever falling short. Neither method is truly useful. We may also blame others, or decide that we cannot succeed because we are innately lacking. Again, these are poor solutions. The best solution is to access what our expectations were when we fail and be reasonable with ourselves regarding whether our expectations made sense. And having done so, move on with a better skill-set for next time.

Reflect on these key points:

  • 1Disappointment can even beleaguer the successful, as some individuals are wracked by a feeling that their success is unearned.
  • 2One way to avoid disappointment is to set the bar for one’s expectations so low it is impossible not to meet it, or avoid leading a pitifully lackluster life.
  • 3Another unrealistic, dysfunctional tack is to set one’s bar unrealistically high, so as to avoid ever failing, which in itself is doomed to failure.

“Someone once said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” The quote recognizes that when we experience disappointment, our hopes and expectations are out of line with reality. We all feel this way from time to time. Some of these disappointments will not make much of a difference, but there are also disappointments that can change the course of our lives.”

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