We all experience disappointment at some point in our lives, I’ve experienced it countless times in respect of myself, as well as of other people or circumstance. It feels highly frustrating at the time and it can also knock our confidence in ourselves or others and end up holding us back in life as we live in fear or apprehension of being let down or letting ourselves down again.
But disappointment can be easily avoided, because experiencing disappointment is actually far less complicated than we think.
Disappointment is simply a result of our expectations not being met.
Let me say that again.
Disappointment is a result of our expectations not being met.
And when you think of it like that, then dealing with it is actually very simple because there are only 2 ways to respond to it when it happens or to avoid it in the future. And those 2 responses are either:
Change the result
Change your expectation
Ok, these things always sound easier to do than when you put them into practice, and of course we human beings not only have a negativity bias but we also like to complicate things for ourselves as we feel that gives things more meaning… but I won’t go into that now, perhaps one for another post.
Ok, so let’s break it down into 5 easy steps.
I’m a bit of a control freak myself so I’ve had my run-ins with this one, but life get’s so much easier when you accept what is inside and outside of your control.
Step number 1 – Acceptance.
You may feel a sense of duty or responsibility, but there are things outside of your control that no amount of wishing or trying is ever going to change. You have to be able to recognise what those things are and accept them.
Personally, the main source of my frustration in the past is the belief that I can change what already is. I cannot. You cannot either. It can be a tough pill to swallow but the sooner you swallow it then the sooner you can give up stress and disappointment and live a much easier life focusing and managing the things within your control.
You may be able to change what is about to come, but when it’s already here, it’s done. You must to let it go.
This brings me to step number 2 – Take the lesson!
So if something has already happened and you could have changed it then learn from it – learn quickly and move on.
You are human and you’re not going to get everything right 100 percent of the time.. think how boring life would be if you did!
So, look for the lesson (there is always a lesson within everything in life) as building your assessment skills of situations or circumstances to extract the knowledge and wisdom is a great skill to master!
It might be that you can repeat the experience and change the outcome, in which case don’t let fear hold you back of trying again, take confidence in the knowledge that you have gained and try again. But maybe the knowledge you have gained is that whatever it was actually isn’t meant for you, or meant to be.
This is where you get to decide how to proceed and feel empowered about it not disempowered.
This takes me to step number 3 – Take responsibility.
When you do not take responsibility and fall into the blame game – whether that’s with other people or events and circumstances – you give your power away of changing the outcome or making the decision to walk away.
Do not fall into a victim mindset as it does not serve you at all. And it certainly doesn’t serve anyone else either.
Although it may sting a little at first, taking responsibility feels good in the long run and it gives you power over your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
By taking responsibility for yourself and any situation you find yourself in, you are automatically signaling to yourself that you are capable and can find the solution.
I always say to myself “If I got myself into this mess, then I can get myself out”
sometimes I won’t know what that looks like, and sometimes it won’t be immediate either, but taking the responsibility and owning it gets my brain working on a subconscious level to reframe the event and find a solution or more favourable outcome. This can sometimes be simply taking the lesson and having the confidence and empowerment to let it go.
Now step 4 and 5 go hand in hand.
and these two both run with the theme of prevention is better than cure!
So, manage your expectations well and set your OWN expectations to start with – Do not use other people’s.
Stumbling across this last one was a real eye-opener for me! After picking apart all my past perceived failures or disappointments, I realised that most of the times I had been disappointed it wasn’t my expectations of things that weren’t met, it was actually the expectations of other people – Mind. Blown.
When I discovered this I thought “woah! Do I even have any of my own expectations? Or have I been adopting everyone else’s of how things should go for me and what I should get in return to my efforts?”
This was quite an empowering revelation, and upon realising this I was able to set much more realistic expectations for myself which were in line with my values, my capabilities, and my wants and needs.
So, I encourage you to think on that last one. Think of a time you were disappointed in the past and really pick the whole situation apart. Think of the lead-up, the people involved, your thoughts and feelings going into it as well as coming out of it, and see what clues you can find as to whether it was yours or someone else’s expectations that weren’t met. If it was someone else’s then why did it impact you in such a negative way?
I’ll be back soon for more shares in the self-image, confidence and lifestyle department.
In the meantime why not check out my YouTube channel?