The world is filled with things that can result in disappointment be it people or events (natural and artificial), plans change and things come up. Part of being human is being able to navigate our way through issues of disappointment and the pain they bring. Essentially, part of life is dealing with disappointment so we might as well learn how to behave, react or conduct ourselves in the face of disappointment and that’s what this week’s blog post is going to help us do. Let’s gooo!
My Recent Disappointment Story...
I’ve contemplated whether to talk about this or not because on one hand it’s not a big deal and on the other hand it annoyed me. Ultimately, what happened to me here is where the inspiration for this blog post came from so it will be an utmost disservice to both you and me if I don’t tell you.
I’ve been talking to a girl for a while (since December 2018), things seem to be going well but she was in another city for the Christmas break so we couldn’t link up even if we wanted to. We called and texted each other regularly and being who I am, I became a little more invested in talking to this girl because it became a regular activity. We talked about linking up when she gets back and she said she was down.
She came back last week but since then the regularity of our conversations has come down, this is due in part that she says she didn’t have mobile data subscription. Has she been online? I don’t know because I haven’t been checking and I just assumed she’ll hit me up if she’s online. So we were only limited to only phone calls which was cool because being too over familiar too quickly hasn’t gotten me anywhere with the ladies but we live and we learn.
I called her to make some arrangements so we could link up, I gave her time and place that was convenient for us. The day came and I was excited because I’m excited to have a reason to dress up and live my house and to take some pictures because as my Instagram bio says, I’m a photo enthusiast! I sent her a reminder text 2 hours to the time only to get hit with the ringtone which disturbed the Facebook ad for a podcast that I was listening to.
I let out a sigh because I knew what that quick phone call meant but I waited to finish listening to the ad before calling back. I knew we weren’t gonna link up that day anymore. Essentially, she forgot and she was home (instead of school that she said she would be on our previous phone call) and wanted to move the time up but still wanted to meet. I couldn’t agree to the abrupt changes in plan because I was a bit busy and I wasn’t even half ready like no shower or anything and she said she had to cook at the time we were initially supposed to meet so it would have been like 45 minutes to an hour and that wasn’t nearly enough time.
I was a bit annoyed and I had to decline an impromptu link up even though I told her it’s fine. Ultimately, I was disappointed because it seemed like I was the only excited one because she forgot and I was feeling some typa way but I remembered two things. The first was the bible verse from Jeremiah 17:5a “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans…” and the second was this video by Mel Robbins on Instagram even though I wasn't necessarily “rejected” because we rescheduled (see How to Handle Rejection) I felt a bit sucky but knew I had to get over it quickly because life goes on and I've been down this road several times.
How to Handle Disappointment
As I've said before disappointment is part of life and there's nothing you can do to completely remove it from your life because humans will always be unreliable in one way or the other and not everyone or everything will be on the same page as you. What matters isn't the situation per se but how you react and deal with it.
1. Find a Distraction
Disappointment can be painful, it feels like the ride in the amusement park that takes you up for a bit and suddenly drops down and your intestines come out of your mouth lol. It's basically flying high and suddenly going down and in some case crashing depending on how extreme the situation or delicate the person in question is.
This reminds me of a quote by Sigmund Freud the famous German psychologist:
"Life, as we find it, is too hard for us; it brings us too many pains, disappointments and impossible tasks. In order to bear we cannot dispense with palliative remedies...There are perhaps three such measures: powerful deflections, which cause us to make light of our misery; substitutive satisfactions which diminish it; and intoxicating substances (drugs, alcohol, etc.), which make us insensible to it."
If we don't have distractions we can drown in overwhelming thoughts, this is why people "drink away their sorrows" but sadly that worsens the situation in the long term because they can become alcoholics. Distractions are also necessary because whatever we focus on or give attention to continuously can have power over us and if we focus on the negative thoughts we have (see How to Combat Your Negative Thoughts) due to our disappointment things can become worse like peeling off healing wounds.
In my case, my distraction came after getting off the phone and rescheduling because my mum came home soon after and I had to cook for her, we talked about politics and the upcoming Nigerian elections. She left and I went back to binge watching anime because that's my ultimate cure! I won't lie it didn't get off my mind completely but with me I just let my mind think it out and I find other things to do like watch more anime lol.
2. Manage Your Emotions
Disappointment will occur once in a while on the road of life like a speed bump and it can upset us. When this happens, it is important to feel especially when it's unexpected, maybe you were expecting an award a promotion or something else but you didn't get it. When you feel instead of bottling it up, there will be no cause for later day eruptions because you would've let off the steam. It doesn't necessarily meaning going crazy and breaking stuff even though that may be cathartic for some people.
Avoid making any important decisions that you may regret because emotional decisions tend to go down that road more often than not. Feel the emotions but try letting them out in a healthy and legal way like if your disappointment becomes anger or frustration you can take your revenge on a punching bag no one's gonna be angry with that. When you're in a better state of mind, this will be a better time to re-evaluate the situation, make proper decisions and take action.
3. Check Your Expectations
Sometimes we get pregnant with high expectations and all that is delivered is disappointment (go back and read it again and let it sink in). Some of us just have standards that only rare if any type of people can fulfill, it reminds me of that Drake and Rihanna song, Too Good where they sang "Last night, I got high as your expectations."
Examining our expectations may give us a clearer picture of the events that unfolded that led up to our disappointment. Sometimes are expectations are so high that it looks like we expect a fish to know how to fly or a driver to become a pilot and when we crash into disappointment we become frustrated. In other words, we may have unrealistic and/or unreasonable expectations.
Are you disappointed your date cancelled on you last minute? Maybe if you check through your conversations and also the tone of it you may discover that you were expecting her to be your long time girlfriend and you haven't even had the first date, that's way too much pressure for some people. If you lowered your bar from impossible to possible then things will be different, it's not necessarily settling for less but doing away with looking for the "perfect" partner, job, situation, etc.
In some cases, our bar maybe too low like a limbo and people can't play your game. This means that you may have a pessimistic belief in life and people so you have no expectations at all and believe everyone and everything will disappoint you. This may be an insecurity (see Beefing Up Your Security: How to Overcome Insecurity) due to past events in your life. The truth is that yes many things will end up disappointing you at one point or the other but you need to find a constructive and healthy way to deal with disappointment and pessimism ain't the solution.
4. Avoid Taking It Personally
If there is one thing I've learnt in life it's not to take things personally, it's like taking the wrong baggage at the airport baggage claim. In life, shit happens and it isn't always because we did or didn't do something. This doesn't mean completely absolving ourselves of blame because we may be the architect of our own disappointment as I have kind of touched on previously.
We shouldn't be too quick to say we deserved the bad things coming our way or we're not good enough because in reality life isn't fair so we don't always have to had done something for bad things to come our way. Sometimes we may have worked hard for something and once it's within our grasp it can get snatched away quickly even if we did everything right.
Taking things personally all the time can drastically narrow our point of view of life like no one likes an overly sensitive person, it's too much stress to deal with them. This will prevent such people from appreciating the fact that life is arbitrary and deeper than just individual experiences. It's not all about us and we don't have to be right all the time. At the end of the day, we can't expect everyone to behave like us or have our opinions or beliefs when we clash with others because of that it shouldn't affect us too much. Instead of people too narrow minded and taking things personally, we should try to be more open to other people's ideas and who knows, we may discover some hidden gems in both ourselves and others.
5. Review Our Behaviour Before and After the Fact
Sometimes, our behaviour may be inviting disappointment, for example, I've been seeing this quote float around social media recently "I've seen men pray to God for daily bread but get off the bed and go play video games." Now, if you're one of these type of people, you're inviting disappointment for dinner.
If disappointment is a guest of honour in our life events on a regular basis, we may need need to go back to the drawing board of our life and re-examine and re-evaluate what's going on. Perhaps the way we behave is the cause of disappointment, how we think and talk can be contributing factors. I think one of the big factors is not speaking out and demanding what we're worth, we just expect people to take "hints." For example, some girls won't shoot their shot and expect their crush to always take hints and ask them out, I know sometimes even shooting our shot is risky business but at the same time giving the guy hints doesn't always go anywhere. Another example, is not advertising your business but expecting people to know about it simply because you're online.
After being disappointed especially if it's continuous, it's important to check ourselves and don't let it become worse like a festering wound, don't let it turn into something as ugly as apathy or depression. If it goes down this road, it's going to be harder to get rid of. When we internalise such negative feelings caused from disappointment it can become part of our beliefs and become an integral part of our lives and identity. Yikes!.
6. Bonus - Try Again or Try Something Else
So you've tried all the above steps and you feel pumped up. It's time to make a decision and that is whether to try again or try something else. In some cases, trying again is the right choice, you know what they say about a wall, if you come across a wall you can try to go over it, under it or through it. But sometimes, you can't get past this wall so instead of frustrating yourself, you can follow another route or go somewhere else.
Trying something else may be a better decision, for example, you may have a crush on a girl but she's friend-zoned you or worse brother-zoned and after trying severally she's not budging like an impregnable wall, you can just go for another girl and hopefully things will work out for you then.
QOTD: “If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”– Henry David Thoreau
WELL THAT'S IT FROM ME GUYS! NOW...
How do you deal with disappointment and will you be trying any of these methods? Comment below. Like and Share this blog post on social media to help them out and to spread the good word! SUBSCRIBE to my blog for weekly updates and free e-books. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. See ya next Monday.
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My name is Ofai and I'm passionate about blogging and it gives me fulfillment that I can help you out so sit back, relax and enjoy your weekly carats of #SelfImprovementGems with me!