Dealing with Disappointment

Disappointment is a natural part of living. It’s part of the many emotions and feelings we experience as humans.  If you haven’t experienced much disappointment, you’re probably not putting yourself out there and taking risks.

Disappointment is a result of wanting something….and then not getting exactly what we wanted.  We can feel this in relationships when a relationship ends (or doesn’t start).  We can feel this when we’re applying for jobs.  We can also feel disappointment in ourselves ("I could have done better!”).

I experienced a lot of disappointment last year when I was deeply involved at a meditation center and they didn’t want me to teach or work there.   I thought I’d be a real asset to the center and bring a lot of creativity and new ideas.  I never found out the exact reason it didn’t pan out, but It really stirred things for me for quite some time…even now when I think about it I’m still a little agitated by the whole thing.  

When we are able to see disappointment clearly we don’t get lost in it and we’re able to move through life in a wise and authentic way.

Life didn’t deliver in the way we wanted it to. What now?

  1. Allow yourself to feel what you feel.  You may even find it useful to name the feelings that are moving through.  Are you feeling frustration? Grief? Anguish?  See if you can feel this feeling in the body.  You may even notice what you feel move and shift.

  2. Make the disappointment as specific to this situation as possible.  We tend to make broad brushstrokes about what disappointment means about us in the larger sense.  For example, if you went for an interview and didn’t get it, you write down this: When I interviewed for the Communications Specialist Position at Sparks Coffee Shop in 2019, I wasn’t offered a job.  Do you see how this makes it very specific to the year, the job, and the position?

  3. Ask yourself: Is there anything that can be learned from this situation?

  4. Write down 10 ways that not getting what you wanted might be beneficial to you.  This could range from building resilience, developing perseverance, or creating space for other opportunities down the road.  It was difficult (impossible really) for me to see it at the time with the meditation center, but 9 months later I realized that if I would have started working at the center I wouldn’t have grown my spiritual offerings in the way they have grown.  I thought working at the center would be the best thing for me, now I’m happy it didn’t work out.

I think the key when things don’t go the way we wanted them to is to see it as a natural part of life.—in fact on the way to every success or break-through there will always be mistakes made and disappointment. What we need to do is to recognize what happened and learn from it.

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