Disappointments are a part and parcel of life. They can come in many forms, such as losing out on your job, breaking up a relationship, or not achieving a goal you had set for yourself.
When up against disappointment, it is easy to feel stuck, discouraged, and even resentful towards the people or circumstances that caused it.
Trust me, I have seen such phases from very close quarters. I was lost, broken, and bitten by the curse of darkness. There was no way I could move forward.
I would spend days alone. Won’t talk to anybody. It was as if I was punishing myself for everything going on in my life. Maybe, because there weren’t any other choices.
Don’t we vent our anger on the weak? So, when I was down and out, it was me who was feeble. I found it easier to take the brunt.
As days passed, I realized the need to stand again. Please don’t confuse “days” with a static number. It took me a long, long time to heal.
Therefore, it is essential to learn the art of accepting disappointment, so that you can move on and grow.
I am not saying I have a magic wand to cure your mental heap of negative thoughts. It is just that the following ways helped me and they could assist you too.
Acknowledge Your Emotions
Failure is like a poisonous gas that our immune system finds challenging to deal with. It can make us go mad, switch off our power to think and make us believe that we cannot come out of it.
We are lost in disappointment but our immune system is consistently trying to fight the intrusion. In the process, we go through all sorts of emotional disturbances.
From irritation and anger to sadness and rage, there is no limit. But once the immune system finds a way to tackle the gas, we recover quite quickly.
The only catch in the above analogy is that our immune system, while dealing with failure, relies on us not the other way around.
Unless we acknowledge the emotions, we won’t be able to blow the gas away.
Allow yourself the time to process the behemoth of feelings going through your head. Don’t resent your behavior. Instead, try to facilitate it. Let the anger blow, sadness set it, and irritation pile up.
But, don’t dwell on them for too long. Allow yourself to feel them and process them in a healthy way.
Reframe Your Perspective
Try to look at the situation from a different perspective. I am an extreme overthinker. People always told me it was a bane. However, when I was at the weakest point in my life, it was overthinking that showed me the way out.
I introspected, put myself in the shoes of the people around me, and then saw myself from their perspective. Gradually, it gave me the will to grow.
It allowed me to convert my setback into an opportunity.
Okay, so this is something I can tell you vividly from experience. Nobody but you can help you out of any kind of a mess.
Never beat yourself up for disappointment. Remember that everybody experiences setbacks, and it’s not a reflection of your worth as a person.
You are way better than at your worst. Feed yourself with positivity. It might sound cliché but it does work. We always know everything. Still, sometimes, we simply want someone to say those things to us.
There is nothing in the book “The One Thing” by Garry Keller and Jay Papasan that my parents or teachers didn’t teach me.
But when I experienced the biggest failure of my life, a simple reading of the book gave me a purpose. I felt enlightened, and positive, after a long time.
Such small acts can infuse self-compassion in you. Just give yourself the time to soak in.
Focus On What You Can Control
Change has to occur at your end first. You cannot alter the perspective of others unless you start with yourself. If you are a writer and your book fails; all you can do is make the next one better.
In these times of global layoffs, it is devastating to be losing your job. And I see many disappointed faces around me at times facing such a situation.
I always say one thing to them: it wasn’t your fault. Chin up and look for another vacancy. Or start something of your own.
It is important that you realize your worth not just in the context of self-improvement but also for the bigger picture. Disappointments lead to self-doubt, which is where we have to hit as we search for a ray of light.
Therefore, focus on what you can control and start with controlling your focus. Don’t be led by disappointment.
We cannot reach the end of the staircase in one go is a popular idiom. But we still try doing that, forgetting the inherent power of small steps to success.
Moreover, life is about having a sense of control over what we do. A plan of action does the same. If I have planned three blogs per week for my website, I am more or less aiming to give two days to a particular topic.
Now, imagine I take four days to publish one blog. It would trigger a domino effect and I would be forced to tinker with my schedule. And when you are forced, you have lost the required control.
While facing the after-effects of disappointment, we become stagnant. Our long-term goals go for a tossing. That’s when we need to begin with a small step to help regain momentum.
Perhaps, letting go is the toughest thing to do. I am very bad at it. Maybe, it is in my genes to stick to a particular thing forever. But does the world stop for you?
The fast-paced modern lifestyle doesn’t wait for you to get over a roadblock. Letting go is not about losing out on something.
It lets you move on, as simple as that. Sticking with failure will only result in more disappointment and sadness.
If you’ve done everything you can and still haven’t achieved your goal, it may be time to move on and focus your energy elsewhere.
Think of a new goal, a new hobby, or just a simple walk on a different track. The last one might stimulate you, giving you an objective.
Remember that letting go and accepting disappointment is a process. It takes time and practice, but it’s a valuable skill to have in life. By acknowledging your emotions, reframing your perspective, practicing self-compassion, focusing on what you can control, taking action, and letting go, you can move forward with grace, resilience, and confidence.