January 12, 2016

Dealing With Disappointment In Life: Why And How

Regret and disappointment are two different things. When you are regretful, you focus on your bad decisions and things you have done wrong, but when you are disappointed, you are upset with things that are out of your control. For instance, you may regret not getting together with a family member, or you may be disappointed that they did not get together with you. Knowing that disappointment in life stems from things that are out of your control, it’s important to learn how to deal with the unexpected and unwanted situations.

3 Reasons Disappointment In Life Is Good

Most people try to avoid admitting that they are disappointed. They get angry or go numb, but they don’t actually face the disappointment head on.

In fact, Mary Lamia Ph.D., says that in her practice, she has found that people avoid disappointment much more than they do any other emotional experience. Perhaps this is because being disappointed sends the signal that what was wanted will never be achieved, and that can be hard to deal with. So, instead, being angry keeps what could have been alive and helps us to avoid reality.

But acknowledging disappointment can actually be a good thing for your life. Instead of viewing disappointment as – well, disappointing, take some time to discover what your disappointment can do for you. If you take a step back from your emotions and work through why you are having them, you will be surprised at what you can learn about yourself. Following are a few reasons disappointment is good for your life.

1. It Teaches You More About Your Passions

We don’t get disappointed about things unless we have some sort of passion towards them. For example, I wouldn’t feel disappointed if a football game I was going to was canceled. In fact, I would probably feel relieved that I could do something else that I wanted to do. But, if I were going to watch a lecture on self-improvement, I would feel pretty disappointed.

If you care about something, you will feel disappointed when it doesn’t work out. Therefore, disappointment is a great way to figure out where your interests and passion lay, and what you may want to focus on in your life. Sometimes you will be surprised at the things you are disappointed over. You may feel like you could care less if you get to go out and meet someone or do something, but when it is cancelled, you realize just how much meaning it had to you.

2. It Teaches You How To Be Flexible

Flexibility is important to happiness and success in life. When the weather gets rough, flexibility ensures that you are going to be able to bend and move with the wind rather than break under the pressure. When you encounter disappointment, you are forced to change your plans, change your wants, and change your mind, which are all characteristics of being flexible. The more you practice being flexible, the easier it will be to stay flexible.

3. It Opens New Doors For You

Sometimes you may not get what you want, but instead, get something better. Therefore, whenever you are in a situation where disappointment could be felt, remind yourself that things may just work out for the better, and then take action to see if that’s the case.

You hear about this kind of thing all the time. Someone gets rejected and it turns out for the best because they may not have gotten the job of their dreams or met the love of their life. When one door gets closed, another one always opens, so look for it!

How To Face Disappointment

In order to realize the benefits of disappointment for yourself, you have to be able to face it first. This means that any coping strategies you have used up until this point have to be eliminated. Following are the two coping strategies that are often used.

1. Numbing Yourself

There are plenty of people who will try to numb their feelings with drugs, alcohol, or just doing something else that allows them to take their focus off of the disappointment. Even sleeping your days away can help you avoid dealing with the emotion of being disappointed. But, by numbing yourself, you are only prolonging the agony. You still feel upset in the back of your mind, and in moments of lucidity, you will feel the pain of not getting what you want.

Also, constant disappointment and depression go hand in hand. If you let the disappointment fester in your soul, and don’t do anything to acknowledge or overcome it, then you are setting yourself up for constant sadness or depression.

Instead of numbing yourself, allow yourself to feel the disappointment. Stay in the emotion and ask yourself some questions:

– Why do I feel so disappointed?
– How can I work through this feeling?
– Are there other things/people that can help me get what I want?
– What doors has this disappointment opened up for me?

Once you start to ask yourself questions about your disappointment, it will become clearer that there are some benefits of not getting what you want. Those benefits, no matter how small they seem right now, will keep you from retreating from reality and going numb.

2. Requiring Less Of Yourself

When you are faced with a disappointment, you may decide that you should require less of yourself. For instance, if your relationship ends, you may decide that you are not worthy of a relationship and you are never going to get into one again. Or you may lower your standards and decide that you will accept anyone in your life just so that you don’t have to feel so disappointed anymore. Putting up conditions, walls, and limitations are a common (and negative) way to deal with being disappointed.

Instead of putting up walls, remind yourself that disappointment is a part of life and it doesn’t determine what you can or cannot do in life. Everyone who has major success in life has faced disappointments. The most attractive person in the world has faced disappointments in their love life. The richest person in the world has faced disappointments when their money couldn’t get them what they wanted.

Disappointment is a natural part of life, and it doesn’t make you less of a person who deserves less than others. In fact, it gives insight into yourself and this world, and it makes you more capable of getting the life you want. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”.

What To Do When You Are Disappointed Over And Over Again?

One woman I talked to has tried to spend quality time with her father since she was young, only to experience disappointment every time he said ‘no’ to her request to get together. The problem was that she fully expected her father to say ‘yes’ at each request. She was excited about getting together with him, and each time she was let down, she would feel a little more horrible about the situation and spend the day (and sometimes days) crying about the lack of connection she had with her father. Eventually, she had to stop crying and accept that her father just didn’t want to form that kind of relationship with her.

It seems sad to let go of wanting something so important, but she has no control over what her father will or will not do, and he has proven to her time and time again that she is only going to be let down, so deciding not to put forward effort has been the best option for her. She no longer cries about not getting together with him. She accepts that their relationship is what it is and she focuses on nurturing other relationships.

You can apply this to all situations in life. Change your goal. Stop wanting what you know you cannot have. You will feel much better about life if you do.

I want to add that there are some things you shouldn’t give up on. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Just because one door shuts permanently in your life doesn’t mean you should start shutting other doors that don’t need to be shut.

For instance, the woman whose father won’t spend quality time with her recognizes that her mother, friends, and other family members are more than willing to nurture their relationships with her, and she hasn’t stopped trying to keep those doors open and have loving, close relationships.

When Disappointment And Regret Are Combined

As said, disappointment stems from being let down by someone or something, whereas regret comes from being the cause of being let down. You can feel regretful and disappointed at the same time.

For instance, if your relationship ends suddenly, then you will feel disappointed that it ended. If you reflect on the relationship, and acknowledge your part in its demise, you will feel regretful. Other examples include:

– Being rejected from a job and knowing that you didn’t do what you could to prepare for it.
– Not meeting a goal and knowing that you didn’t put in the effort to reach the goal.
– Unable to form a beneficial relationship knowing that you did not treat the person in a respectful way.

When you are disappointed and realize that you contributed to the disappointment, then you can easily start to beat yourself up, but that’s the worst thing you can do. There is nothing you can do to take back what happened, so a better choice it to forgive yourself and then work on fixing the regret.

For example, if you are disappointed and regretful over a failed relationship, recognize that you can’t go back and fix things and that you can only work on fixing the issue with yourself that contributed to the breakup. Once you start taking action on fixing yourself, you will feel automatically better. Action on improving yourself and your life gives you the confidence, self-respect, and motivation to keep going.

But, it is important to forgive yourself first for your psychological well-being. When you can’t forgive yourself, you won’t take positive action and, instead, you can get caught in negative actions that help you beat yourself up, such as addiction and even suicide attempts. [Source: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_healthy_way_to_forgive_yourself].

Examine Your Thoughts And Beliefs To Lessen Disappointment In The Future

People who are negative, pessimistic, depressed, or lack hope, are going to be disappointed more often than people are positive, optimistic, hopeful, happy, and hopeful! It’s inevitable. Therefore, if you want to lessen the amount of disappointment you feel the future, it’s time to examine who your thoughts and beliefs are setting you up to be disappointed.

Are you going through your days feeling predominantly good or bad? Your feelings are a direct result of your thoughts, so if you are feeling good, then your thoughts are good, and if you are feeling bad, then your thoughts are bad. This is the easiest way to determine if you need to change your thoughts to avoid future disappointment.

I know a man who is always down. I can’t read his thoughts, but he always sighs and complains and has a frown on his face. I can’t count the number of times he has been disappointed in the past year. The weather disappoints him. Unexpected obstacles disappoint him. People disappoint him. He is constantly being disappointed, despite his excitement for things, and he can’t figure out why!

As an outsider, I can clearly see that his outlook on life is causing the disappointment.

– The weather doesn’t stop him from doing what he wants, but because he sees it as bad, so he cancels outings.

– The obstacles don’t stop him from getting what he wants, but because he doesn’t get them at the exact time he wants them or how he wants them, the whole things becomes disappointing.

– The people don’t stop him from getting what he wants, but because his view of people is so negative, he always sees the worst in them which causes him to feel let down by them.

If he could adopt a more optimistic outlook on life, I guarantee that he wouldn’t be so disappointed all the time. He would enjoy things, despite the unexpected weather, unplanned obstacles, or unpredictable people.

If you see yourself a little in this man, then it is essential to look for ways to become more optimistic and positive in life. Only, that is, if you want to experience less disappointment!

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