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Dealing with disappointment

Truly ‘enlightened beings’ will never suffer from disappointment, because they live in a state of acceptance of  ‘what is’  and without hopes/expectations for the future.

While this is a worthy aspiration the chances are you have not yet got there ! It is part of the human condition to feel pain from failures, defeats, etc so it serves us well to develop a way for dealing with negative outcomes. In fact if we extract the learning from disappointments we will be able to look back on them as experiences which made us strong and laid the groundwork for personal growth and a better future.

So, some pointers (see them as steps) for dealing with disappointment :

1. Feel the feeling – if you do not acknowledge and express your emotions around the event, moving on will be difficult and protracted.

2. Decide that you will behave with dignity – yes, it is a decision you make ! Take ‘time out’ to regain your composure, if necessary, as you will regret knee jerk reactions. Behaving with dignity will enhance your own self image, keep you in control and gain you the respect of others.

3. Acceptance – it may not seem ‘fair’ but there is nothing to be gained from denying the reality of the situation. Internalise the reality, don’t become stuck in anger or hurt (blaming others or God !)

4. Look for the learning – believe that this is an opportunity to make you a better, stronger and wiser person. What have you learned ? What might you do differently the next time? How can you turn what happened to your advantage ? Do you need to be less attached to something you desire? Do you need to develop a wider range of interests ? Is there a message about your talents or career direction ? etc

Looking for learning is not to be taken as an opportunity for self criticism. Be dispassionate and detached as you work through this step.

5. Stand back from the situation to see the wider perspective – the disappointment is not the ‘end of the world’ and other things are more important. Count your blessings and consider how fortunate you are compared to others. In the broader scheme of things what happened may not be that important.



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