Disappointment is an unfortunate fact of life. And when it happens, it’s usually not a trickle. Normally disappointment pours out with one problem after another, and it comes in many different forms ranging from a bad health diagnosis to even the simplest matters of life.
No matter how much we plan or try to avoid disappointment, we can’t. It’s impossible. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing you can do to stop disappointment from making an appearance in your life.
Recently I planned a trip to take our RV to sunny Florida. My wife and daughter were both thrilled! And I was excited too. I had everything covered at work. I was ready for some R&R and quality time with my family. In fact, all that my daughter had talked about for weeks was the beach!
We left for our destination on a Friday afternoon in our RV. About three hours into the trip, the air conditioning stopped working. Now as some of you may know, an RV is nothing but a glorified sardine can when the air conditioning isn’t working. If it’s 95 degrees outside, it won’t be long before it’s 95 degrees inside — and getting hotter. This was us.
The temperature quickly rose to 97 degrees. Mind you, we also travel with four dogs, so the heat can be extremely dangerous for them.
The sad realization that we couldn’t survive the rest of the trip sunk in. It was 10:00pm, and we were sitting in the parking lot of a truck stop—hot, tired, frustrated, and extremely disappointed.
Has this type of disappointment ever happened to you? Maybe worse: a broken relationship, a lost job, or a scary health diagnosis.
I might not know your disappointment, but you do. So when disappointment happens to you, and it will, you have two choices: let it rule you or you rule it!
The natural, human reaction when disappointment sets in is to lose your temper! Or blame anyone and everyone we can. Then it ruins our day, week or even month. But is there a better way?
Let’s look at four steps you can take to handle disappointment when it creeps up in your life.
- Acknowledge that you are disappointed. Most people don’t deal with emotions well, so admitting that we are disappointed, hurt, or sad is often difficult to do. The downside to not acknowledging our emotions is that we bottle up our frustrations, causing unnecessary issues in other parts of our lives. For example, have you ever fought with your spouse over a cabinet door slamming? I have. And 100% of the time, the argument has nothing to do with the cabinet door.
- Discuss your disappointment with those affected. It’s amazing how discussing things helps you feel better. Cry about it, laugh about it… just don’t let your emotions control you. Why pile bad feelings upon a bad situation? Communicate and make the best of it.
- Discover the silver lining in your problem—especially if you are a pessimist! Being an optimist, I can find the silver lining in everything. What are you being taught? Patience? Contentment? You will never know what disappointment can teach you if all of your focus on is the disappointment itself.
- Overcome the situation. Develop a and execute it. Don’t continue to make the same mistakes time and time again and expect a different result. If you want a different result you must change the way you are doing things.
So whether your disappointment is big or small, implement these four steps so you can manage your emotions and garner the best outcome for you and those around you.
Make a conscious decision (before disappointment happens) that you are going to rule it and use it to make yourself stronger!