Recovering from Disappointment

Life surely has its ups and downs. Whether you lose a friend, a promotion, a significant other, or you just fail at achieving a goal, the anguish of disappointment can be devastating. Whether the disappointment is in us or in someone else, the overall feelings of disappointment are akin to the grieving process. Personally, I believe we can work better at grieving the disappointment with others versus the disappointment with ourselves. For me, being disappointed in myself leaves me feeling out of sorts, lost, and, dare I say, vulnerable. It’s often a reminder of how fragile life and the human experience is as it pertains to the loss of confidence. Disappointment can kick you squarely in the teeth leaving you dazed and confused. It is never a good feeling, but, with the right direction, you can recover from the feeling. The feeling of disappointed is also a part of life. Do we need disappointment? Well, maybe. I think we all need a modest level of disappointment to achieve a greater sense of self discovery. I believe a feeling of disappointment in ourselves can lead us eventually to a path of greatness. Paulo Coehlo once wrote, “When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.” We all make decisions in our lives which may turn out exactly the way we planned or go up in flames. Those decisions often lead to feelings of success or feelings of disappointment. As Coehlo suggests, the ability to recover from a mistake may turn out, in the end, to be exactly what we need. Have you ever been presented with a challenge knowing all the results would not be desirable? Have you ever had to make a decision which you knew had the potential to create disappointment in others and in yourself? Sure you have. We all have had those moments. We have all had those moments of shear dread of making an impactful decision which could lead to disastrous results or tremendous disappointment. But, as Joel Olsteen said, “You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It won’t happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” Recovering from disappointment is not an easy or desired task. It takes internal power to rise up and move ahead. The power has to come from deep inside. Deep inside the place you reserve for the most daunting of tasks. It is within that place you live and thrive. You must face the truth of being embarrassed and ashamed of yourself and know these feelings will hopefully pass. Develop a sense of humility and be honest with yourself and others. Even if the ultimate honesty is painful, put it out there and be exposed. Be vulnerable. Be human. The worst thing that happens is you make the wrong decision and you lose what you had. The best thing that happens is you make the right decision and gain something valuable. Either way, it is much better to face the possible disappointment head on. Once the decision is made and everything has been exposed, the results of the decision will happen and you deal with the consequences whether they are good or bad. Life is measured by both the disappointments and the successes. Take the risk of losing something to gain something. Take the risk of disappointment to feel joy, happiness, and freedom. Being burdened by disappointment only allows you to wallow within sorrow. Be free to express yourself and move on. If a person is disappointed in you, apologize and move on. You will make mistakes in life. Sometimes huge mistakes, but acknowledge the mistake. Apologize for the disappointment and move on. We are not perfect beings. We can’t be perfect. Remember, life is a journey. During this journey, we will stumble and fall at times. We will not only make mistakes, but we will create disappointment. Take a moment and acknowledge the journey. It may be helpful to listen to the words of Thomas Jefferson, “If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off.”