Someone one said, "Don't let today's disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow's dreams." It can be very difficult, though, to let those disappointments go...especially if they stem from a long-held dream, jog, or relationship that didn't turn out well. Disappointment is defined as "the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations" but happiness expert Tamara Lechner tweaks it a little. She says, " it's the feeling of sadness or displeasure WE choose to feel when ourhopes or expectations are not met." I think she's hit the nail on the head, don't you? We do have a choice when it comes to experiencing the ups and downs of life, even though it sometimes just doesn't feel like we do. We can pick the "half-full" or "half-empty" option...the choice is ours.
I've read that many people, and quite a few frogs, use disappointment to motivate themselves to do something different next time. I'm one of those, but this line of thinking only works when you can actually exert some control over what caused the disappointment. But what about then that "thing" is something that is out of our conrol...like the weather, or someone else's actions? Then what?
Ms. Lechner, in a recent article, gives us some positive ways to overcome disappointment and avoid slipping into that same old funk.
1. To avoid that familiar "fight-or-flight" feeling you may get when you first become disappointed, try breathing in and out several times very slowly. Then observe how you feel, but don't let that feeling overwhelm or control you. Do something else, like take a walk outdoors, listen to happy music, or read an uplifting book...something that will take your mind off feeling low. And for pity sake, don't dwell on the negative.
2. Adopt the perspective of an observer rather than that of a participant. Look at your situation the way someone else might observe it. When you detach a little from the drama and pain, you can often see things with more clarity.
3. Notice if there were things you could have done that might have led to a better outcome. Learn from your mistakes. They're valuable teaching tools. Try not to judge yourself. Treat yourself with a little kindness, the way you would treat a small child.
4. Avoid limiting thoughts (I often have a hard time with this one.) Telling yourself, "Things never work out for me" or "This always happens to me" won't ever make things better. In fact, they will most probably make things worse. Negative thinking begets more negativity. It's the law of nature.
5. Seek out the advice of an expert...or someone who's gone through a similar situation. The goal here, says Ms. Lechner, "isn't to swap sad stories but to help each other recognize common humanity." Everybody goes through unpleasant stuff from time-to-time. It can be helpful to know we're not alone.
6. Create a personal narrative that supports your success. (I love this idea!) When someone tells you "no" then you need to tell yourself something, like, "I'm one 'no' closer to gettin a 'yes." Turn your negative into a positive...there's always a way. Just be a little creative!
7. Celebrate the fact that you know what you want. Many folks (and many frogs) do not. Instead of beating yourself up, use your disappointment to remind yourself of your end goal/dream and continue to push on. One day soon, you'll be very glad that you did!
8. Choose your next action. You could give up...OR...you can choose to take a small step towards success. Didn't get the job you wanted? OK. try editing your resume, take a class that will enhance your job skills. Look for other kinds of work. You get the idea. There's always something that you can do that will propel you forward. Or, you can keep doing the same old things that don't work...I'm just sayin'.
Ms. Lechner, the happiness expert, tells us that the best way to get over a disappointment is to use it to your advantage, rather than see it as a limiting disadvantage. Simply because one thing didn't work out, doesn't mean that the next thing won't be hugely successful for you. You just gotta keep trying!