Disappointment is a bitch. It can hurt like a poisoned injection heading straight for the heart. It’s one of the most complex emotions and contains a subset of other emotions like anger, sadness and hurt. Having your hopes up for someone or something and finding out that nothing could be less true. It’s not an easy pill to swallow, but you will get confronted with it many times in a lifetime.
For me, the most hurtful disappointment is the one in other people. I simply expect too much from others. It’s my flaw and must honestly say that I still haven’t conquered that lesson in life. I expect people to respond the way that I should in a situation and for that reason I’m facing at least a 90% disappointment rate. Disappointment hurts like hell. A relationship that ends before it even started while you were a 110% sure that this was a true love. Family members that don’t seem to care as much for you as you do for them. The expectations you had for yourself and that you were unable to fulfill.
Disappointment doesn’t just disappear from your system like other emotions can. It lingers in the back of your mind and will kick right back into your heart the minute you feel the slightest bit of disappointment in the same person or situation again. Your hurt makes you change your expectations, your anger will make you take some distance and it might just even change the entire relationship you had. So how can you get past that disappointment without having to take any of these instinctive but drastic measures?
You’ve been hurt. It hurts like hell and all you want to do is to roll yourself in foetus position and cry. And that’s okay. Feel, experience and express your thoughts and feelings. It is okay to feel sad. You have been hurt and you will need time to heal. Cry, scream, shout or ventilate in whatever way feels good for you. It’s good to cry, just don’t hang on too tight to your emotions.
Get some perspective
Ask yourself, will this matter a week, a month, a year from now? The hurt of disappointment can weigh heavily on your shoulders. Try to see yourself a year from now, will this disappointment still feel that heavy? Adjust your mindset and stop throwing yourself pity parties. Try to see the situation from an eagles point of view. Was it really that bad as you are telling yourself it was?
Heartbreak is possibly one of the most hurtful disappointments in life. I once felt a real true love, one that has been lingering around for many years but didn’t find the right moment. When the moment was there it became an amazing exciting roller coaster that ended up in failing. I once again became ‘too much, too soon’ for another person. The hurt felt unbearable and dragged me down with it. But when I came to my senses and took a step back I realised that there were so many exciting things and loving people in my life. I realised how wonderful and amazing my life and my future plans actually were and how happy someone should be to be part of that. At the same moment, I realised that true love doesn’t need a ‘right time’ and that I didn’t need anyone to tell me that I was ‘too much, too soon’. I knew that I was exactly enough at exactly the right time for many people in my life, including myself. So if there’s so much more to your life than just this one person or situation, why let them control it? Take a step back and look at your situation from an eagles’ point of view. Is it worth all the tears you’re shedding?
Get back to your core
The most important lesson in this, is to stay true to yourself and to your values. It’s okay to expect a certain kind of treatment from other people. A treatment that you have defined for yourself as something that you deserve.
Stay in line with your values even if people are unable to live up to them. You can choose to live your life driven by what happens to you, or you can choose to live your life by your principles.
When I get hurt with disappointment my instinctive reaction is to retreat into my shell of hurt and to simply banish that person out of my life. I find a reason to hate or resent that person and I push them away like they’ve never gotten close.
But one of my core values is to stay open hearted and to always see the good in people. By pulling back from that person in my instinctive reaction of hurt, I’m not only pulling back from that person but I’m pulling back from myself as well.
Heal and reflect
Take your time to heal. Disappointment hurts deep and can linger in the heart for a long time. You need time to take a step back from the situation and to be able to truly see it without a pre-judged heart and mind. Did the person really hurt you that badly or did you actually hoped for something that he or she couldn’t realize? Why did that person act like this? Why didn’t this plan work the way you wanted it to? Can you understand why things happened the way they did? Is your resentment in place or are you just acting on emotions?
The heart needs time to get over disappointment, but you shouldn’t ignore the whispers of the mind trying to explain the heart why something happened the way it did. If you tap into that eternal wisdom inside yourself you’ll see that you actually exactly know what went wrong. It’s easy to hold on to the harsh feelings of sadness, resentment or hatred. But ask yourself this; are those feelings really helping to resolve the situation or are you just letting them be there because it’s easier?
Talk about it
No situation has ever been solved by pretending it didn’t happen. You can’t hide the elephant in the room and if someone disappointed you, you have to talk about it. Not straight on, not when you’re emotions are sky-high and you’re ready to kill someone. Talk about it with an open mind and a clear heart. Explain how you felt in the situation and what you actually expected from the person. If it has been you who disappointed yourself you should do the same. Was it fair to expect this much?
I expected my mother to be the mother figure that I wanted her to be. It took me years and still I wasn’t able to let go of that idea, that expectation. Until I talked to her. I explained her how I felt and her answer turned out to be exactly the thing I had needed to hear for all those years. It gave me the possibility to share my thoughts and feelings and it gave her the possibility to explain hers. If it wasn’t for that talk, I would’ve never been able to let go of my expectations of her and establish a new form of relationship.
Accept and let go of your expectations
Enough is enough. You’ve had your pity party, you’ve had the sad movies and the confronting talks. Time to get off your ass, pick up the pieces and move on. There’s no need to linger or to get stuck in the past. No time like the present.
Give another go at it from another direction or accept that this person isn’t who you expected him or her to be. Adjusting your expectations is key in a situation like this. You can’t expect too much from yourself and neither can you expect too much from the people around you. You need to level your expectations to the person or situation and not to what you told yourself it should or could be. Be realistic.
Once you’ve mastered this you’ll notice that the disappointment reoccurs less than usual. You’ll notice that it doesn’t hurt that much and that it’s actually okay for people or situations not to live up to your expectations. You still have yourself and all the other things around you that make life worthwhile.
And if there wasn’t any sadness or disappointment, would you still recognise true happiness?
Look back and smile
So what have you learned from these disappointments? How did it enable you to grow as a person, how did it help you get back in touch with yourself? Did you deserve a standing ovation?
I for one am happy with the 90% disappointment rate life gave me. If I wouldn’t have lost those great loves I would never have met the true one. If I hadn’t been disappointed in my loved ones I would’ve never realised how great I actually am. If I hadn’t been patronized I wouldn’t have found the motivation to kick ass and take over the world to show them how it’s done.
There will always be situations and people that’ll disappoint you. It is up to you how you handle it and what you leave to look back to.
Forgive, forget and kick ass,