Dealing with disappointment: When things don’t turn out as you hoped.

Sometimes things just don’t end up the way we want them to.

When expectations are not met, disappointment rears its ugly head. When our hopes and dreams are out of line with reality, we are forced to admit we didn’t get something we wanted.

So many of us are experiencing disappointment at the moment.

🌱Disappointment that church isn’t what it used to be.

🌱Disappointment that we still have to social distance or shield after so many months.

🌱Disappointment at postponed weddings, cancelled holidays, attendance at loved ones’ funerals, or unfair employer decisions.

🌱Disappointment about deteriorating health.

I took time this week to write down some key moments of disappointment I’ve experienced:

🌱When our first church ministry experience together ended in mistreatment and great hurt.

🌱When the precious life of our first baby ended in ectopic pregnancy and emergency surgery.

🌱When we watched family members suffer awful illness and die prematurely.

🌱When a friendship I treasured ended due to events outside my control.

I’m sure you could easily make your own list of events where you felt let down or angry that things turned out the way they did.

But did you ever consider that if you respond to disappointment in the right way, it might actually be one of the keystones of growth? That it could change the way you live now, and kickstart a bright future based on reality rather than wishful thinking?

Here’s how we can turn disappointment into a productive, and even powerful, catalyst for change.

1. Feel what needs to be felt

Have you ever noticed how when children are upset, they will tantrum, cry or scream until the emotion passes and they are really ready to move on?

If you’re disappointed, you’re disappointed, and that’s just it. Denial will not make it go away.

Label the emotions you feel- worried, resentful, hurt, sad, let down etc. Think of the emotions as waves that wash over you but don’t engulf you. Disappointment is not a permanent condition. You don’t need to wallow in it. When you label it clearly, it loses its power over you and becomes a receding tide of emotion that gets further and further away.

2. Let go what needs to be let go

When you feel let down, it can be hard to let go.

But when we hold on to disappointment too long, it can quickly turn into discouragement, resentment, or even depression.

That’s why it’s so important we turn disappointment into determination to grow.

A wise friend once told me, release is a voluntary action. To find freedom from what it is you are holding, you have to choose to loosen your grip on it.

Next time you’re at the seashore, why not pick up a pebble, and consciously acknowledge the weight of it in your hand as you think about the weight of what you are carrying. Then let it slip from your fingers into the waves and watch as the water carries it away.

There’s power in release today.

3. Learn what needs to be learned

Don’t punish yourself for feeling cross or frustrated! Instead, commit to learning from every hurdle and challenge.

🌱Learn gratitude- train yourself to think of three things you can be thankful for each day.

🌱Learn discernment – learn to distinguish between the facts and feelings of a situation. You may feel strongly about it, but are things really as bad as they seem?

🌱Learn positivity- learn to see the positive side of the worst situations. Positive people attract positivity!

4. Build what needs to be built

Some people decide it’s best not to have high expectations about anything, so they are never disappointed. They avoid taking risks or going deep in relationships as a form of self preservation. But this leads to an unfulfilled and mediocre life.

Others set the bar so high that no one- not even themselves – will ever reach it. But this leads to anxiety and self deprecation- not to mention unnecessary annoyance at others.

We need to build expectations for ourselves and others that are realistic– not idealistic, pessimistic or perfectionistic.

Recognise who you are, choose who you want be, and take steps to build on that. If you want to be an open-hearted and gracious person, when unmet expectations tempt you to withdraw or run away, knowing your values will enable you to resist the urge.

1. Feel what needs to be felt

2. Let go what needs to be let go

3. Learn what needs to be learned

4. Build what needs to be built

… and kickstart a brighter future 🌟

H xx

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”

Martin Luther King

Published by Hilary

Mum of two girls 👩‍👧‍👧 positive inspiration 💡 parenting 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 health 🏃‍♀️ life 💓 faith 📖

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