As We Move Forward: Managing Disappointment

Disappointed

Think of a time when you experienced real disappointment. This is more than simply feeling sad about something that did or did not happen. Disappointment regarding something significant that we expected to happen that did not. It can also involve one or more people who promised us something that did not come to pass. Disappointment does not necessarily involve something of major significance. It just needs to seem that way at the time. Not being chosen for a particular team as a child may seem like a major issue at the time. It becomes a disappointment if it becomes part of a pattern of experiences that has a major effect on our lives.

Some people look back at having to move as a child and losing things like friends, a school they liked, a house and neighborhood that had significance for them as a disappointment. Our response to an experience like this is highly subjective. One person might view this move as a tragedy affecting their whole life. Another person might view a move like this as an exciting adventure that opened doors of opportunity and exciting growth.

This suggests that a big part of experiencing things as either disappointment or opportunities for growth is found in our attitude toward these times of change. It can be helpful to examine the causes of our disappointment.

If a person seems to be the cause, what is it about our relationship with that person or group of persons that allowed events to reach the level of a disappointment? Are there other, similar events in your life that did not result in a real disappointment? What was different those times?

Thinking

It is also helpful to look at our reaction to disappointment. There are people who simply give up. After a while and a number of disappointments, these people show no willingness or ability to rise above disappointments. There are some people who lash out at every situation that might lead to a disappointment. These people tend to find someone or some event to blame. Their anger serves as their escape from ever having to deal with a disappointment head on. Their anger becomes the arena in which. They live their lives.

As we move forward, let’s focus on ways we can do problem solving when confronted with a situation that might become a disappointment. Logical, reasonable responses will often go a long way toward resolving a situation in ways that benefit everyone involved. The increased understanding that can come from problem solving can keep many situations from turning into disappointments.

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