Cheer up buttercup! Congratulations, you are among the land of the living. Yes, I know you’re experiencing the complex emotion known as a disappointment.
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We all have had the experience of being disenchanted, disillusioned, frustrated, and unfulfilled when something crushes our hopes, ruins our day, or otherwise results in disappointing expectations. It’s one thing when someone disappoints us but disappointment is even more painful when we find ourselves on the other end being even more frustrated.
Who hasn’t had the experience of being let down or the feeling we get when something we thought we deserved didn’t happen. May I suggest to you that we ‘need’ this complex emotion to both survive and grow!
But did you know that despite all that you’re feeling, that there are benefits, albeit surprising, of going thru this life experience?
Before detailing these benefits, let’s first address what disappointment really is.
Per Psychology Today, in their June 15, 2018 article entitled, “8 Ways to Bounce Back After a Disappointment, disappointment is what we feel when our expectations for a desired outcome are dashed.
There are two easily identifiable reasons for disappointment. The most common is known as “arrival fallacy”.
Arrival fallacy is defined as disappointment which occurs when we’re so focused on attaining our goals, that we forgo the process. We find ourselves over-extending ourselves, living each day less than fulfilled. We secretly tell ourselves, that ‘when we arrive’, then by reaching our goal it makes our struggle worthwhile.
What ends up happening is once we ‘arrived’, our achievement ends up being unfulfilling and disappointment sets in. This is caused by our internal misalignment of expectations.
Another cause of disappointment comes from expectations we place upon ourselves based on external factors.
And when our expectations are initially set unrealistically, then due to circumstance, we find ourselves not wanting to accept what happened. Taken further, if you’re known to be a ‘high achiever’, with even higher expectations, then intense disappointment can set in.
Furthermore, this type of disappointing experience can quickly turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy unless you learn how to deal with disappointment in a positive manner. You must learn how to embrace and navigate your way through these feelings if you wish to maintain your overall happiness and well-being.
The short answer? Yes. But do know that in the moment of feeling our disappointment, it feels far from being positive. However, that said, the actions you ‘do take’ after you experience disappointment can truly transform the eventual outcome and help you make better decisions for the future.
If we take a more logical approach in examining our feelings of disappointment, we would quickly realize that disappointment is less useful as an emotion but instead can be far more useful as a point of reference.
In other words, experiencing disappointment may be telling us instead that something is ‘off’ or ‘out of balance’. This in turn becomes more a result of the circumstance, the process of, or our expectations.
The following illustration is known as the “Valley of Disappointment’ taken from visionary, James Clear of ‘’Atomic Habits’:
Per James Clear, it’s time to look for a different way. And the best place to do that is the place known as “The Valley of Disappointment.” James Clear insists that If you persist with your actions in this valley, you can reach a breakthrough.
Here’s how it works:
Just give it enough time, and you’ll see — disappointment may be the most important thing we need in reaching our goals. Read and reflect on these three surprising benefits that disappointment provides.
Feel good about yourself that you were courageous and brave enough to take on a goal or live your dream. When you have a feeling of disappointment along the way then use this as mental fortitude to forge forward and push onward to your breakthrough.
Make no mistake that you can definitely ‘grow’ through disappointments, as long as you pick yourself back up, move forward, and continue. As a result, you can use your experience to re-evaluate strategies and reset more realistic expectations.
Disappointment can also make you stronger and more resilient by overcoming adversity.
All three of these are powerful benefits that disappointment provides to us if we are willing to ‘open our eyes’ and employ this sage advice.
Okay, do you feel a little bit better now that you have discovered these three powerful benefits of experiencing disappointment? Let’s move forward and now focus on effective steps to successfully deal with this disillusionment or disenchantment.
Per Melanie Greenberg Ph.D. in her article she wrote for Psychology Today entitled, “8 Ways to Bounce Back After a Disappointment”, she summarizes these 8 steps:
It’s not only important, but it is vital that you learn how to process your feelings, reflect on your experiences and develop new goals that will help you move forward and as they say ‘bounce back’.
By doing so, you shall achieve both balance and well-being in your life.
Disappointment is a complex emotion and is often described as a ‘form of sadness’ or as an emotional feeling of loss and/or being defeated, i.e., things didn’t turn out as you expected. Unfortunately, many of us set ourselves up for disappointment when we tell ourselves and believe that there’s something we have to have or achieve in order to be fulfilled and happy.
Being disappointed often includes feelings of being angry with ourselves. Disappointment increases our risk of physical and emotional difficulties such as headaches, stomach problems, and over-perspiration. It can often lead to chronic stress if we’re very disappointed for long periods of time.
The first thing we need to do is self-acceptance of the situation, then re-evaluate any life lessons this disappointment has told us. But the best thing you can do is practice self-care. You’re only human. Put it behind you. Remember, tomorrow is always a new opportunity to move beyond what took place in the past.
* Being rejected, let down, or betrayed can easily trigger feelings of sadness, anxiety, or even anger. It is healthy to allow yourself to feel these feelings. No need to apologize. Just feel it and then move on.
* Be forgiving, but communicate to them your disappointment.
* Setting boundaries will help minimize the future extent of potential disappointment.
* Examine your expectations for them. Were they unrealistic or unattainable? Recognize if it is something beyond your or their control.
Once you have acknowledged and accepted how frustrated you may be, its time to remind yourself of these 3 benefits:
* It means you’re passionate about what you’re doing.
* Recognize that it becomes a new opportunity to do better.
* It makes you stronger and more resilient when facing adversity.
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