Dealing with Disappointment — How to Renew Hope When Expectations Are Crushed
We are the only living organisms on this planet who build our lives around our hopes and expectations. It’s what makes us human. Without hope or expectation, we would be existing, not living. However, with these highs come the lows of disappointment, because we don’t always realize our expectations. And that makes us sad, angry or even despondent. So how are you dealing with disappointment? Could you use some tips on how to handle it a little bit better?
Whether professionally or personally, when we’re in the realm of hope and expectation, we’re dealing with things far beyond our control. We can work hard and set ourselves up for success the best we’re able, but success isn’t guaranteed. We can’t control how others will react or how situations go awry.
But the perceived reward is worth taking the chance. It’s what adds spice to life. Personally, I love how it challenges me. Cate Blanchett expresses my feelings so perfectly,
“If I had my way, if I was lucky enough, if I could be on the brink my entire life – that great sense of expectation and excitement without the disappointment – that would be the perfect state.”
After all, if we know how everything is going to turn out, wouldn’t that become dull and boring? Of course, loss hurts. And that’s what disappointment is…a loss of something we’ve invested ourselves in. Therefore, we should fully experience the emotions surrounding that loss. By doing so, we can explore our true selves in-depth and learn what is vital to our happiness.
The good news is that we can control our thoughts and emotions so that we can pick ourselves up and keep going. When dealing with disappointment, you can renew your hope with these 7 strategies:
1. Feel your feelings. You have those feelings for a reason. But what are you feeling? How would you describe them? Are you sad, angry, resentful, or self-pitying? It’s important to understand what you’re feeling, so you can honestly explore the thoughts fueling them.
2. Reality check: life is not fair. Because of others’ dishonesty or cunning, unfair things happen. Or it may be that from your viewpoint, it’s not fair, but to others it is. Life is complex and you don’t always know all the factors that work against you. Can you discern what really happened? It could simply be bad timing or a matter of personal preference. Whatever happened is not a judgment of your personal worth…always remember that!
3. Gain perspective through gratitude. Think about the big picture…will this matter 10 or 20 years from now? In comparison to all the great things you’ve got going for you, how big of a loss is it? Engaging your sense of gratitude will help lessen the blow.
4. Look for the lesson. Were you really ready for that promotion or relationship? Did you have the skills needed to make it a long-term success? Was it truly in harmony with your authentic self? Is it leading you towards your life vision? Did it show a weakness that you can work on?
Look for ways to reframe what happened in terms that keep you positive and moving forward.
5. Reassess and refine. How has this loss changed your life? How is it the same? What is your ultimate goal in life? And what will keep you inspired to attain that goal? For today, take just one baby step toward something that inspires. Tomorrow, take one more. It will get better.
6. Use the setback as a springboard. Everyone experiences setbacks, so never allow yourself to give up. Be patient with yourself as you heal from the loss, then find another way to create something even better in your life.
7. Keep your heart, mind and eyes open. Keep hope alive, by fighting the tendency to withdraw and shut down, closing yourself off from the world. Opportunities will come, and if you choose to dwell on the positive, you’ll be more likely to see and be ready to accept them.
I hope these suggestions will help you in dealing with disappointment. If you’re at the crossroads of life and would like someone to listen and help you find the way you’re meant to travel, please contact me and schedule a 30-minute complimentary consultation by phone or via Zoom, to see if we’re a good fit for each other.