How to Manage Disappointment
By Darcy McLean Aguilar
Well, it happened, again. My friends all went out and didn’t invite me. I have this deadline at work and I couldn’t go anyway. I am so sad. I feel like such a loser.
Has this situation or something similar ever happened to you? Have your plans just not worked out the way you thought they might? Have you felt sad, mad or even devastated because of it? If so, you are not alone.
We all make plans and have schedules, some with schedules actually quite structured or rigid. When we have such a tight schedule, or if we sometimes make plans and they do not go just as we have planned, for many these are the times when life in general might feel upside down, we feel challenged by these changes, and perhaps even paralyzed by them. Why is this? Why do we feel like a loser, or that we can’t keep control over our own schedule?
What do we really have control over?
I would submit this saying: Life is what happens when we are busy making plans. Read that sentence again, but this time out loud. Now, take just a moment and consider what that statement means to you, about you, and how it fits in your life.
We live in a world that is very time oriented. We have to be at work by a certain time. We have to take lunch from this time to that time. We have deadlines or goals to accomplish in our work setting. We have children to get to school. We have animals to care for. We have to make time for the children, for our partner, for our extended family, and for friends. We have to…. We have to…. We have to….
But what about YOU?
What kind of time do you make for YOU? Is it the quality time that gives you the regeneration time you need? Or is your time put on the back burner while you tend to everyone and everything else in your life? When is the last time you remember taking a time out for yourself? Do you stop to smell the flowers, take a relaxing stroll by yourself or with a loved one, have a nice candlelight dinner? Are you taking care of yourself, getting enough exercise, nutrition, and just some “me” time?
Often times, when we are so busy being a human doer, we forget about being a human being. It is in those quality times of just “being” that we allow some peace in our hearts and in our minds. It is then that we have the opportunity to pause and reflect, evaluate our actions, take stock of the positive aspects in our life, and gain or maintain a positive attitude about ourselves as individuals, including noting the value of people, situations and things in our life. When we are able to better able to manage, or modulate, our emotions, and reactions to changes and situation, and roll with it – so to say, it seems that we are embracing a state of “being” and much better able to navigate life’s changes, including what might otherwise be called disappointment.
A conundrum we are faced with is that life is about change, but it is generally against human nature to embrace change. We can, however, learn to embrace who we are. We can give ourselves the necessary tools we need to go with the flow of life, instead of treading water or feeling like we are drowning. I offer one very simplistic way to try to embrace change and go with the flow.
Instead of going into reaction mode regarding a change or challenge, pause, take a step back, fix yourself a cup of tea, and take a breath. For some, it might help to write things out, others may just need to ponder the particular situation for a while. Just let your notes or thoughts flow and “be” in that moment. You might try keeping a journal about these experiences and notice your changes. Notice if you are a human being or human doer. Does it really matter whether or not you have control over a particular situation? Perhaps the more important question is: Are you are able to modulate your reaction to change? If you are, then do you really feel disappointed? Next, note if there are changes that you can easily implement in your life to help YOU embrace YOU and find a way to relax into YOUR life?
Life will continue to change. Are you ready?