Disappointment is something that’s as sure as a shadow on a sunny day. And yet, it’s still there on the gloomiest of days – seemingly even more so. It comes in many forms: from a little blip on our radar of life to a full-blown EF-5 tornado of devastation bringing in winds
of change and total annihilation.
The subject of disappointment has been on my mind lately: having felt both the pain of being let down by others and admittedly and surely letting others down. If this is you too… have faith! I came across this motivational quote and was reminded how, just like pain, disappointments are temporary.
“Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a
shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.”
Isn’t that what we do? We let disappointments delay or destroy our dreams. We let what
others tell us determine our destiny. It’s through the discouragement of disappointment our dreams die – if we surrender to setbacks.
Everyone deals with disappointments. That’s the bummer of it, right? Disappointment breeds negativity and discouragement. It lends to lost hope. It can be a dream-killer – but here’s the caveat: only if we allow it to do so. Disappointment is something that is somewhat controllable, just like our attitudes. To control it, it you have to first accept it. Once accepted, you can begin to contain and reduce it. After a while, you will train yourself in the art of resiliency. It’s about how you react to it that makes all the difference.
Keep in mind, there does exist a scale of sorts when it comes to the level of disappointment you are facing. It contains variable factors contributing to the particular degree of letdown or inconvenience. More or less, always ask yourself where the defeat falls in the range from a “little bothersome” to a “really big deal?” Bothersome is simply a mild irritant. A big deal means it’s time for you to deal.
Here are five ways to deal with disappointment when it rears its ugly head:
- Audit your perspective on the situation. Are you too close to it? Is your perspective reality, or is it just your perceived reality? Often what we think of as a disappointment is actually turns out to be a blessing in disguise. As well, we often do our best Chicken Little – is it just a falling acorn or a piece of the sky falling? Overreactions are common when the disappointment is our disappointment. Look within to see if your perspective is warranted or an overreaction.
- Talk it out/Work it out. Talk out loud and then act! There’s a whole lot to be said for self-talk and problem-solving. Both self-talk, the discipline of positive verbal motivation, and simply finding a way are two exceptionally underused methods of getting to a place or state of where you want or need to be.
- Seek or give forgiveness. In a broken world with broken people, it feels like everyone is throwing rocks and all of our shattered glass is making it hard to walk. Whatever the genesis of disappointment, make it a point to either own the cause of disappointment or exonerate those who have given you the grief. Paul Boese said, “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Enlarge your future by being the best version of yourself.
- Learn from every disappointment as you would each victory. In fact, the greater education is more often found in our defeats than in our victories. C.S. Lewis said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” I believe this. It’s from our falls we learn to get up.
- Focus on the good. When in rains, splash in the puddles! At Southwestern Advantage, we train to look for three positives in every situation no matter how undesirable it is. When you find the positives in a negative situation, everything seems to fall into the perspective that you should have taken inventory of from Step #1.
These five steps will help you cope with your disappointments. Put them into practice, and they become habit. We all have things in our lives that propagate distress and discontent. To that end, here are a few scriptures to give you a lift when down with disappointment:
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
*Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
By Trey Campbell, firstname.lastname@example.org