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The Unexpected Benefits of Disappointment You Can Use to Your Advantage

Learn to look for and see the surprising benefits of disappointment, so you can turn them to your advantage and manage the emotional fallout better.Disappointment is a difficult emotion to deal with because it’s painful and generally comes from a loss of some kind. And, for most of us, it triggers harsh, critical, judgmental self-talk. Is that your default setting, too? But the good news is we can turn it on its head and use it to our advantage. Yes, there are benefits of disappointment!

The benefits of disappointment you may not have considered…

1. Feel your feelings and get to know yourself better.

Feelings are a natural and important aspect of the human experience. They alert us to threats and protect us from danger. They allow us to establish and communicate our boundaries around what we hold dear. Ultimately feelings help us navigate the world around us, connect with others, and enjoy life to the full.

Some common feelings associated with disappointment are:

  • Betrayal
  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Loss of interest, enthusiasm, motivation
  • Negative self-talk 
  • Self-doubt
  • Withdrawal from social situations or activities
  • Dissatisfaction when our expectations aren’t met.

Can you work with these emotions to your advantage? Yes! Ask yourself why you feel as you do. Was a personal boundary overstepped because it wasn’t communicated clearly? Perhaps you didn’t even know this kind of situation would bother you. Now you can dig deeper and see why. Here are some benefits of disappointment to explore further:

A. Motivate change. When something doesn’t work as expected, it gives you a chance to engage your curiosity and reassess your goal. If it’s still important to you, plot a new way to get there. 

The benefit: you become more focused and determined.

B. Increase your resilience: The disappointment didn’t kill you, nor did it break you. You are stronger than you thought, and you’ve got this. Yes, you can bounce back!

The benefit: you develop a stronger sense of self and a greater capacity for overcoming challenges.

C. Identify learning nuggets: You’ve discovered and eliminated one path to your goal, which leaves you hundreds of other ways to explore! Ask yourself, “What can I do differently next time?”

The benefit: you become more effective and grow personally and professionally.

D. Appreciate what you have: Give yourself credit for all of your achievements and the hard work that has gone into them. Plus we see, and quit taking for granted,  our full range of resources and connections who help us pick up the pieces.

The benefit: you become more aware and more grateful for the imperfect YOU making you more comfortable in your own skin. 

E. Empathize and connect: When we experience disappointment, we can use it to become more sensitive to the disappointments of others and more willing to reach out and offer support. 

The benefit: You strengthen and deepen your relationships and feel more connected to those around you.

2. Refine your sense of self.

Once you’ve validated your feelings, neither minimizing nor ignoring them, but fully experiencing them, you can move on to the next part of the process of benefiting from disappointment — refining your sense of self. 

Your worth is never determined by external circumstances or your successes or failures. By reflecting on your experience, you can turn disappointment into a powerful tool for personal development.

Disappointment is just one part of the complex range of emotions, qualities, and experiences that make us who we are. So ask yourself, “How has this disappointment changed me? What strengths or weaknesses has it revealed?” Now you get to mold yourself into a better version of yourself. Do you need to become a better communicator? Take more time for self-care, getting enough rest so you make good decisions versus simply reacting to situations? Spend more time with loved ones?

3. Achieve true success — inner peace.

Disappointment stirs uncomfortable feelings, especially if our main focus is feeling safe, instead of making room for discomfort.  It’s time to stop trying to feel secure and learn to tolerate insecurity.  It’s okay to feel less confident, insecure, and awkward — that’s part of being human. Embrace it!  It takes too much energy trying not to feel them. Instead, learn to navigate discomfort and pain. Then the really surprising thing happens — your comfort zone that has kept you small will expand until it makes room for your biggest dreams.

With everything in life, tiny acts of courage get us further than trying to feel more confident and in control. Franklin D  Roosevelt said, “Courage is moving forward towards something more important than the fear.”  Any courageous step is doable if you chunk it down into the smallest, achievable bite.

When you know what you need and want, then you can go after it as if your life depended on it, because it does! Use this information on the benefits of disappointment to take action, rest when emotions get too overwhelming, rest instead of quitting, connect with the right people, and declutter outdated ought-tos.

If this has sparked within you a desire to Step Forward courageously, yet you’re not sure of your next, best move, please contact me and request a free 30-minute consultation so we can discuss how I can support you.

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I invite you to learn more about me and my coaching and counseling services. Please contact me to schedule an “It starts with you!” 30-minute complimentary consultation with me, in-person, by phone or via video consultation, so we can explore our partnership.


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