Disappointment is just the action of your brain readjusting itself to reality after discovering things are not the way you thought they were.” -Brad Warner
And it is common. Take, for example, when someone doesn’t behave in a way you expected and lets you down. Or when a long time plan doesn’t come to fruition.
Yet, why is it so hard to accept and work through disappointment, when it can occur on a regular basis. Of course much depends on the extent to which you are impacted or how deeply you feel about the person or project.
The bottom line it’s a loss.
It’s a loss of what you thought would happen. It’s a loss of what you believed about a relationship. And like any loss, you have to work through your emotions from denial and anger through to acceptance.
When you don’t, you can remain stuck. Stuck in what isn’t going to change. Stuck in the outcome that you are not facing. Stuck in what could have been.
And when you are stuck you can’t move on.
When a friend lets you down or behaves in a way that is contrary to your values, then perhaps it is time to look at that relationship and determine how much it is worth to you. If this was a one-off and the person has never done something like this before, maybe you can forgive and forget.
But if this is a consistent way of behaving, or the behaviour escalates it may be time to distance yourself because that negative energy is draining. And if it’s your partner, then you may have some serious thinking to do and need outside help to reconcile your differences.
Back to friendships — it’s hard when they end, especially if in the past you have enjoyed time together and respect one another. However, people change, their situations and interests change and you may find that you no longer have much in common.
Then there’s the BIG plan that falls through. Perhaps a long time dream that suddenly evaporates and no longer seems possible. This form of disappointment can be equally devastating, especially when you can visualize it, see it happening and have been working hard to make sure it does.
It can be depressing when your plans don’t reach fruition and hard to snap out of the downward spiral that you are on. You may even be asking yourself why bother?
While it is important to acknowledge and pay attention to your emotions, what you don’t want to do is spend months wallowing in negativity or hosting a pity party.
One of the biggest lessons from our book One Red Lipstick in which women entrepreneurs share their challenges, is that regardless of their situations, they dusted themselves off and got on with it. They would reflect on what had happened, grasp the lessons and pragmatically come up with a plan B and move on.
And if your long term dream has not been realized, it may be helpful to ask yourself why and what lessons you could learn from this experience. What could you do differently next time?
There’s an expression “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,” meaning that perhaps there’s a part of your proposed project that can be salvaged. Maybe if you start part of it or a smaller version, you can still reach your goal but just through a longer, more scenic route.
All of us face disappointment at some time in our lives but like everything else that is often beyond our control, it’s what we do with it that can change the outcome.
While it may not feel it right now, this could be the best thing that has happened to you and the universe is telling you something, so pay attention to the doors that may be opening for you.