“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it” (the words of Eliza Tabor- the novelist).
I know a thing or two about being disappointed- been there, done that, got the T-shirt, as I’m sure you have too. Being disappointed is one of those things that are not unique to a specific person because we’ve all been there, and the funny thing is that no matter how many disappointments you’ve faced, you are never quite ready for the next disappointing event.
If you’ve had your fair share of disappointments, I bet you understand when I say that these unexpected negative twists and turns can almost make you stop being expectant or hopeful. But then, that will be such a sad way to live life, so you dust yourself and get back on with life again. And yes, you know that someone else has it worse than you, or that you are lucky to be alive, or that you shouldn’t have been too expectant etc. but when disappointment hits, it’s all you can think about.
I’ve experienced so many disappointments in my life and it just happens that some of those disappointing moments turned out to be the toughest periods as well. Why? Because they set me back. A few disappointing life events that took me 20 steps backwards just after I celebrated taking 8 steps forward. But during those times, life didn’t stop to give me a pat on the back, so I pulled myself together and decided not to wallow in my disappointments. This is why I want to share 7 tips on how to handle disappointments- to get you ready for the next disappointment because trust me, it will come either sooner or later.
1. Immerse yourself in the emotions you feel. As counterproductive as this sounds, I immerse myself in my disappointing emotions, allowing myself to feel the shock, irritation, pain and anger that comes with being disappointed. Personally, this is the starting point of recovery for me, because I need to feel all the emotions before I let them go. It takes days and if the pain cuts deep, it could take weeks, and then sporadic moments of anger, but the most important thing is to have that period of feeling all your feels. Take some time out. Even if it is a day to clear your head, do it. Get some sleep, watch your favourite show, sulk it out, let your face leak-cry, scream and wail all you want, have a brief moment of withdrawal to clear your head. And then come back ready to face the world and get over the disappointment an hour at a time.
2. I am a spiritual person and talking to God certainly helps me pull through disappointing moments in life. It has to be one of the best ways I deal with disappointment. When you feel sad, frustrated, upset and have no clue how to express how you feel, talk to Him like you would your best friend.
3. Who you talk to when you encounter disappointment matters. Speak to someone who will unearth the other side of the disappointing event for you to make you realise that it is not all gloom and doom. Sometimes, we magnify the disappointment more than is necessary, but an objective and empathetic person helps put things in perspective.
4. Don’t obsess about the disappointment. In other words, don’t lock yourself in, do something that will make you warm on the inside. Know that whatever life has dealt you with, you will come up not falling short. This is a necessary mindset to have when you are neck-deep in the throes of negative emotions. Believe that it’s going to be okay.
5. Play some good uplifting music. This is hands down one of the best ways to deal with a negative outcome. Play some upbeat music. If you don’t have a Pick Me Up playlist, now is the time to compile one.
6. Readjust your focus. It’s easy to lose yourself in the pessimism and negativity certain disappointing events bring, but once you are done crying and moaning, readjust your focus and re-strategise on what you need to do. What is the bigger picture? That event is now in the past and although you still have to deal with the aftermath of it, the truth is life will keep moving. You don’t have to stay stuck on a certain stepping stone that turned over and made you fall. Get yourself up and keep moving. Disappointments are detours sometimes and they serve as a blessing in disguise. Sometimes, you feel you are the only one life has singled out for such negative experiences but don’t take things personally. Funny thing is that my most disappointing events turned out to be life-defining moments for me.
7. Know that it is not the end of the world. I always tell myself, this too shall pass. “Life goes on, aluta continua” has to be one of my favourite mantras. And honestly, life does go on. You get better with time. Time heals the wound and pain and hurt. Nothing abnormal is happening to you, you were disappointed today, someone else was yesterday and someone will be tomorrow. That’s part of life. The threshold and ability of each individual to deal with disappointment vary, so if you feel that your disappointment has hit you so hard and you can’t deal with it on your own, reach for professional help.
There’s always light at the end of the tunnel, don’t let your disappointments drown you. Wishing you all the best.