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Last week, I wrote about Dealing with What ifs. But sometimes our what ifs do come true–honestly if they didn’t come true from time to time we wouldn’t have them. Disappointments happen all the time. We don’t get the promotion, we didn’t get the job, our review went poorly, we didn’t get into the school program we wanted. And those are just the ‘career-esque’ disappointments. We have the disappointments in relationships, parenting and overall life all the time.
Bottom line and it might sound cliche, but disappointments are truly a sign that you are engaging in your life. When we are disappointed that usually means we actually took a risk, made a tough decision, became vulnerable or share a part of ourselves. True, disappointments could happen even if you never left your house, health issues could occur, or your house could catch on fire. The probability for disappointments to occur goes up exponentially the more risks, you take.
So what to do with disappointments, how do we brace ourselves for them? How do we recover from them? Honestly, there is no easy way to recover from a disappointment. The first step is one we often skip in our society–mostly because it involves feelings. We need to allow for the grief, allow for the sadness, allow for the temper tantrum that you want to throw because we are so heartbroken and just out and out bummed. Too often we are told ‘suck it up’, ‘get over it’, ‘think positive’, ‘it could be worse ‘(my personal favorite). All which are true statements. The truth about grief is if we don’t express it, don’t feel it, don’t share it, then it will come out in other ways and at other times. The sadness and frustration that comes from disappointment is understandable and human. It is natural. It is expected. It needs to be expressed.
That time of grieving allows us to heal, prepare the battle scars for the next risk, for the next challenge. Similarly to a broken bone, if we don’t give it time to heal, feel the soreness, and rest the area it won’t heal correctly. If we don’t give ourselves time to circle the wagons, feel the sadness and heal we won’t be able to realistically develop the next steps. That is the second most important aspect… making next steps. After we are healed it is important to risk again, put ourselves out there and try again. There comes a time when we have to try to walk on a broken ankle,maybe it is baby steps, maybe it is with assistance but there comes a time to use that bone again. So too with disappointments, there comes a time to put ourselves out there again and take a risk. Honestly, the more comfortable and experience we get with the process the more resilient we can become. We will always feel loss and sadness over a disappointment but we will also know the possibility and power of re-engaging.
How have you dealt with the disappointments in your life?