Whatever path we are on in our life, along the way, we are bound to encounter disappointment. An old proverb says, “Every path has its puddle.” In life, disappointments are bound to happen. It’s natural to have expectations of ourselves, and the people and situations in our lives. Unfortunately, when we rely too heavily on the expectations, and they become especially meaningful, the resulting disappointment can overwhelm us.
We become so focused on our desired outcome that we lose our footing and get caught feeling ill-equipped when it doesn’t happen.
Disappointment makes us feel that we failed somehow, and we are left disillusioned. In disappointment, we feel at a loss of an idea of ourselves and what would be. We were expecting to arrive at an intended destination and when that doesn’t happen we begin to question ourselves, our abilities, and our worth. As a result, we need to regain our balance.
How do we ease our disappointment? How do we sustain ourselves through let-down?
No, it’s not who did or didn’t do something, nor is it really about what happened. It’s the resulting thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we get stuck in a thought loop–rethinking the same negative thoughts about ourselves or the situation, which may not even be based on the truth.
Disappointment leaves us with the unpleasant task of editing, deleting, resetting and then refocusing on our resolve. It is possible. You can refocus your thoughts on new directions, and different ideas. You may find yourself working towards the same end result, but taking a different path to get you there.
Setting goals and striving is what keeps life interesting. But while so doing, remember to magnify your strengths instead of your doubts. The people who have accomplished some of the finest feats have also experienced some of the greatest disappointments. Albert Einstein failed his college entrance exam. Walt Disney was fired from his first media job. These situations could set a person back. However, it was the persistence in pursuing their individual callings that led them to overcome their disappointments.
There is a favorite quote of mine from Sir William Osler, a Canadian physician. He said, “Be calm and strong and patient. Meet failure and disappointment with courage. Rise above the trials of life, and never give in to hopelessness or despair. In danger, in adversity, cling to your principles and ideals.”
When you are thrown off balance by disappointment, take time to gain equilibrium. Ask yourself what is important. Grow strong and hearty roots. We can do this with gentleness, attention, and respect for our natural gifts and abilities.
Persevere in the pursuit of who you are and what you want, and make adjustments when necessary. Of course, there are never any guarantees. However, you will find it to your advantage to take the time to reflect and assess your motivations, thoughts, and feelings along the way. You may just find yourself jumping over the puddles or going around them instead of stepping in them.