How do you deal with disappointment? How do you react when your expectations are not met?
Disappointment happens. It’s natural to feel that you have been let down.
If you dwell on the disappointing experience, it can lead to anxiety, anger and other negative related emotions. You may give up trying. It will affect your physical and mental health.
But if you make an effort to learn from the experience, it can change the way you perceive things. It helps you improve your emotional intelligence and lead to personal growth.
Here are 8 ways to deal with disappointment.
1. Put Your Thoughts on Paper
Take your journal out or a few pieces of paper. Start pouring out your thoughts
What happened? Is it the first time this thing happened or has it happened before?
Who do you blame?
Besides feeling let down, what are the accompanying emotions? Are you also feeling angry and regretful? Do you fear that something worse will happen as a result of the incident?
A few things will happen after you put your thoughts on paper.
You will get a clearer picture. It will be easier to come to terms with the situation and it helps reduce the impact of the incident.
2. Learn to Communicate Better
The majority of people cannot read minds. On top of that, they don’t listen well and they misinterpret what you say.
The way to solve this problem is to communicate better. Whenever you expect something from someone, get the person to listen and understand what you are saying.
Make your rules and boundaries clear. Tell the person what you can and cannot tolerate.
Bear in mind though that you should be assertive but not aggressive. People don’t like you to dictate things to them.
3. Be Reasonable
You can avoid disappointment by thinking through things before making a decision. Don’t demand something that a person cannot deliver.
If you still want the person to do what you want, give clear instructions and provide guidance as well as assistance.
4. Understand Value Differences
Everyone has his or her own values.
When you feel disappointed with someone, find out if it was caused by a value conflict. If it was, acknowledge and accept that the person’s reaction was based on what mattered to him. Don’t expect people to abide by your values and rules.
Remember, you cannot change people.
If both of you cannot compromise your values, then stop putting your hopes on him.
5. Talk it Over
If your spouse or a close friend has let you down, talk it over. Get it off your chest. Don’t use this opportunity to place blame and find faults.
Be willing to listen to the other person’s side of the story. Listen with empathy.
It will help both of you to understand each other and be understood.
Most of the times, people don’t plan to disappoint you. They could be unaware of their actions.
So, don’t take it personally. Stop sulking. Let go of the anger or the need to take revenge. Forgive. You will feel better and will be able to move on.
7. Learn from It
Learn from what has happened. Ask yourself questions such as,
- Should I be more realistic and lower my expectation?
- If I don’t want to lower it, what skills can I learn to help me meet my expectation?
- Do I need to change the way I have been thinking and perceiving things and people?
- Have I been over-reacting? How do I want to respond the next time when my hopes are dashed?
- Have I been self-centered? What can I do to become more altruistic?
Decide your next plan of action. Focus on doing things that are within your control.
8. Look for Things to be Thankful for
When you think and talk about negative things, your mind will direct you to see more of them. The antidote is to refocus your attention.
Look for what’s positive and what’s working in your life. Make a list of 10 things that you are grateful for in your life right now.
One person had let you down and made you feel awful. But there are probably 2 or more people who have made you feel appreciated and gave you joy. One thing may not have happened the way you wanted to. But recall the numerous things that worked out well.
It is normal to feel disappointed.
But, don’t allow the fear of getting disappointed stop you from trusting people and trying things. Don’t give up hope.
Maintain positive expectancy. But equip yourself with several ways to deal with disappointment assertively.