Disappointment is one of life’s most unpleasant experience that we could have. It is complex as it contains subset of other emotions like anger, hurt, sadness, and probably many others too subtle to identify.

Sometimes, those emotions are easier to deal with by themselves, but disappointment can leave us at a loose end. When we are disappointed, we may not be sure whether we should feel angry, or just impatiently wish that we would hurry up and get over it. Disappointment can hover at the front of our mind and grumble at the back, bringing us a grey perspective on life, even if we are trying to forget about it.

Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams. ~Unknown

Let us learn from what some experts suggest on how to process past disappointment. 

One of the hardest things to do in a world where everything is immediate; when we are all under external pressure and time is a scarce resource, is to just let ourselves experience a feeling of disappointment.

Even at the most difficulties times, such as grieving, on average we only allow ourselves 1 to 2 weeks off for work, and then we mostly expect to get back into normality again.

Human beings are not very good at allowing to experience the emotions in full without trying to speed up the process. It does not mean that we lock ourselves away for weeks at a time whenever we have been disappointed, but to be aware of any sense of obligation to just get over it. 

The wonderful thing about letting it out is, we are giving ourselves time to feel what we need to feel; we allow ourselves the space we needed to experience our feelings of disappointment.

Once we have done that, it becomes much easier to get some perspective; we are able to give the situation or individuals involved more room to breathe.

Perhaps the person involved, doesn’t even realize they have done something to upset us. Giving ourselves space to be as we are, prepares us to allow the same to other people.

Having a broader perspective than our own view on a particular situation is always helpful. The critical point is that, we have to mean it so it will be sincere and lasting.

Disappointment can ripple through to the core of who we are. If we do not know what our core values are, we may not have a framework to support us when we experience negative emotions.

For instance, one of our core values is open-heartedness. We need to keep an open heart and be ready to share love and kindness with others, irrespective of how they might behave, rather than with negativity. We should remember this core value when someone disappoints us and we feel like closing and withdrawing.

Knowing our own heart and our values gives us the freedom of choice. We can choose to be driven by what happens to us, or we can choose to live in line with our principles. The latter will help us overcome disappointments and negative situations in a healthy way. The challenge of disappointment allows us to practice living closer to our values, and stops us from being swallowed up by it.

As human beings, even though we know that some things are bound to happen, we’re not always willing to accept them. We have to practice acceptance.

Every time we are disappointed, we feel overwhelmed by our  emotions. We are inclined to withdraw and blame others. Each time, we have to accept that we will feel these things again.

We have to accept that we will continue to be disappointed, that it is a part of life, part of being human. We also have to accept that we will probably continue to struggle to accept this fact, at various points throughout the rest of our lives.

This is a lifelong challenge and fundamental to dealing with disappointment. We will be disappointed, we will disappoint, you and I will be disappointed, and you and I will disappoint. Life will be disappointing but it will pass.

Let us practice acceptance and we may suffer less as it is happening and notice the good things in life more.

Disappointment is a part of life, but all parts of life can help us grow. We can be present and aware even in the midst of negative emotions and therefore life more fully.

 By Tim Pedrosa

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