Disappointment is something we have all and will all experience at various points in our lives.
Of course there’s a spectrum of disappointment that can go from not being able to find your favourite snack in the shop to hearing bad news of varying degrees, disappointment from other people, situations and even disappointment in yourself.
It can be that relationship you were hopeful about not working out.
It can be getting a no for something you really wanted.
I don’t need to explain disappointment to you at all. We’ve all been in the trenches.
But I’m still kind of going to anyway!
The dictionary defines disappointment as sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one’s hopes or expectations.
I think we can all feel that one!
One of the things I have noticed throughout my years of learning about why we do the things that we do, why we react the way we react and feel the way we feel, how our brain and nervous system contributes to that and how we can learn to work WITH that information, is how much my ability to handle disappointment has changed.
I’m always talking about how feeling our feelings is so important and how what we’re aiming for when we ‘do the work’ on ourselves isn’t to ‘get rid’ of ‘negative’ emotions. Or to avoid them.
But almost learn to befriend them and see them in a different light.
To see negative emotions as part of the human existence that contributes to the sweet sweet polarity of experiencing all the positive emotions too.
To understand them more so we don’t fear them or judge ourselves for having feelings and emotions that make perfect sense!
Disappointment is one of those inevitable emotions.
Can you imagine a world when you were never disappointed…ever?
You might think it would be nice, maybe it would be, but personally it would take some magic out of life for me.
Let me explain why I think that way.
Sometimes you can think something is right for you, you want it, you don’t get it, it stings.
We’ve all been there.
However, these moments tend to be the ones that lead you to something even better. Or in a totally new direction that’s better for you. Or where you learn an incredibly valuable lesson.
It’s always been the case for me.
The last year for me has been full to the brim of disappointments for me.
AND it’s also been full of incredible experiences, deaths and rebirths of my ego aplenty, lots of twists, turns and redirects and as much as it might suck sometimes i’m totally trusting the direction and 100% know that there’s so much beauty, positivity, happiness, joy and all the other good stuff just on the other side.
When it comes to handling disappointment there’s two things to consider.
The short term. What do we actually do in the moment of disappointment?
And there’s the long term. This is what we can do to totally change and shift the way we see and respond to disappointment.
You’ll be unsurprised that it requires both cognitive and somatic angles.
So the thinking stuff and the working with the body stuff!
You’ll also be unsurprised that it involves self awareness and self reflection.
I won’t spend too much on the long term things that will help all your future disappointments because I bang this drum all the time.
You need to be focusing on the things that work with your nervous system to create more ‘flexibility’
If you’d like a deep dive into this please do listen to my interview with Stefan Chmelik, founder of the Sensate.
The more you work to create balance within your nervous system the less reactive you are and the quicker your recovery is…aka…more resilience!
Focusing on breathing techniques like Heartmath, using devices like the Sensate (there’s a discount code in the show notes)meditation, mindfulness, EFT, diet, exercise, sleep. All the key essentials.
So let’s talk short term, you’re in the thick of the disappointment.
First is to of course allow it to be there without judgement. It makes sense that the disappointment would be there. You get to feel it, often disappointment can come with grief too and it’s important that you allow yourself to feel what’s there. (Skip to the episode on feeling your feelings if you need help with understanding some of the tools that can help)
Whether that’s on your own if you feel you have the capacity, with a friend or loved one or a licensed professional. Surround yourself with good people.
You’ll find when you can do that, you’ll be able to take a step back and see the situation more clearly.
You can analyse how you were feeling about that thing happening or not happening in the first place. Did you have real clarity in your mind
Be kind and have self compassion.
It’s always worth checking your expectations vs reality. Was it a realistic outcome? Were you rigid in your thinking? By that I mean, this or NOTHING else thinking.
The next stage is, what do you want to do about it? What do you want your next step to be? Make sure you don’t stay ruminating on it for any longer than is necessary and you take action to move forwards. Whatever you decide for that to look like.
Can you go as far as allowing yourself to be excited about the redirect? If you have beliefs in any sort of ‘higher power’ getting involved, can you trust it?
What could you learn from it?
Is it the kind of disappointment where it would be incredibly helpful to talk to a professional about it?
Can you get yourself back in the game and be open to disappointment knowing that you’re going to be absolutely fine and any future redirects could lead to something positive?
That’s often the hardest thing with disappointment, how we’ll try and protect ourselves from it happening again.
Can you be brave and stay open?
Sometimes hard things happen, and that’s ok. I always love the phrase ‘it’ll be ok in the end, if it’s not ok, it’s not the end’ Kind of says it all really.
Fran Excell, Success Mindset Mentor at www.franexcell.com – Helping Business Owners & Executives Overcome Stress & Self Sabotage so they can get back their time, get off the emotional rollercoaster and feel more in control.
Check out The Positive Pants Podcast Here
Download your FREE Stressed To Success Meditation Here
Join The Positive Pants Toolkit App Here
Work with me. Book In a Free 20 Minute Discovery Call Here