Disappointment and Anger
I’d rather be angry than disappointed in someone or something.
When I’m angry, personally, I pivot pretty quickly. If it’s because of a situation I need to change, like the presence of someone in my life who’s not healthy for me, the anger gives me the energy to take action. If it’s because of a situation I can’t change, like global warming or a shooting that should never have happened, the anger gives me energy to do my tiny part to help, like recycling or making a donation. Or if it’s something over which I have no control, such as when the big bosses at work decide that it would be productive for me to do something that makes no sense to me — I’ve learned to let that anger go because it’s counterproductive. Whatever the situation, I’ve learned to allow the energy from anger to move me forward.
Disappointment is an entirely different conundrum. There are different types of disappointment. There’s the disappointment of a movie that didn’t live up to the hype, or the disappointment of my Cowboys’ loss to the Packers in the playoffs this year. That disappointment dissipates on its own because it doesn’t really impact my life.
However, some disappointments linger. It’s the kind where your mom says, “I’m not mad at what you did, but I’m disappointed.” I rarely heard those words unless my mom caught me lying to her when I was a kid. Her disappointment was so haunting that I avoided it because it lingered since she always remembered the cause of it. If my mom was mad she got over it after a minor penance on my part and usually forgot about it.
Dealing With Lingering Disappointment
Lingering disappointment can change relationships. The more we love someone, the larger an impact it has on us. When disappointment in someone invades our hearts, we think it happened because of the other person. However, what if the reason disappointment lingers isn’t because of someone else but because of ourselves? Isn’t the root of disappointment that we expected something better from someone else?
When disappointment rains on our parade, it’s our own feelings that we have to deal with. Initially, we focus on what the other person said or did. Can we let it go or forgive them? That’s the easy part. Then we have to adjust our expectations. We have to ask ourselves whether we tried to make someone into a person we needed them to be for us, instead of getting to know who that person actually is. Even people who present themselves as someone different from who they are usually leave clues about their authentic self that we ignore if we only want to see our version of them.
Changing Our Expectations
Disappointment takes so long to work through because it’s mostly about us. It requires us to forgive ourselves, change expectations and move forward.
We are all human, so we will both disappoint and be disappointed. When we let go of our expectations we may discover that someone who disappointed us is wonderful being exactly who they are. Or we may realize that someone needs to play a less significant role in our friends and family circle. However, that frees us up to look for new people to love, as we discussed during Hunt for Happiness Week .
Even when disappointment rains on our parade, a rainbow always follows. Look for it and embrace it.
Now it’s your turn. I’d like to hear about how you’ve learned to deal with disappointment in your life. Share your wisdom in the comments below! And, if you know someone who could benefit from reading this article, please share it with them! Everyone deserves to live a happier more fulfilled life!
If you missed, or want to revisit, last week’s Hunt For Happiness activities, you can do that any time you want to.
This year the focus of our happy hunts was on your life and on activities that might be new to your routine to help spark your smile. If you like one or two of them, it’s our hope they’ll become part of your weekly or monthly routine 🙂
You can check them out right here…
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