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How To Manage Disappointment


Everyone experiences disappointment from time to time. The key is to learn how to take it in stride, learn from it and grow into a better person. If we learn how to manage all of the disappointments we encounter, they can strengthen us. Ultimately, helping our seeds of greatness to become trees of outstanding achievement.

Instead, they used disappointments as signposts on the path to gaining greater insight, wisdom and achievement. There is the seeds of greatness inside of you and me as well. All of the great historical figures had their share of disappointments. However, what sets those men and women apart is they did not let their disappointments destroy them.

A Potentially Devastating Emotional Impact

Disappointment can sometimes have a devastating emotional impact on you and me. The first step in learning to better manage disappointment is to accept how you feel. Being disappointment hurts. And it’s important to acknowledge that, accept how you feel and endure the hurt and pain for a moment. Being honest about how disappointment hurts you emotionally and not trying to hold it inside and hide behind a smile makes the process of moving past it a lot less painful in the long run. It happened, it hurt and now you should take a little time to process it and see what lesson it contains that can help you to grow.

Don’t Internalize It

It is important to understand that there is a distinction between acknowledging you are disappointed and believing you are a disappointment. Being disappointed in the result of an action simply means you have to make improvements to get the result you want. But if you internalize the belief that you are a disappointment, it can make you bitter and pessimistic and sap your motivation to improve. Thomas Edison was disappointed in the results of over 9,000 experiments before he was able to create a light bulb that was as
practical, long-lasting and inexpensive as he wanted. He is widely known as the ‘Genius of Menlo Park‘ and not a disappointment.

Meaningful Self-Reflection And Reevaluation

Overcoming a major disappointment requires meaningful self-reflection and reevaluation. While disappointment can hurt a lot sometimes, it’s important you don’t allow it to put you in a negative funk for weeks. Instead, learn to manage disappointment in a more helpful and healthier way by analyzing why you were disappointed. This can be a very effective springboard that can turn what was a painful experience into a very valuable teachable moment and a learning experience that further enhances your personal growth. Taking the time to reflect on and reevaluate your disappointment can transform the pain into an opportunity for growth.

Disappointment Is Inevitable

As long as you are trying to improve your lot in life, disappointment is inevitable. It is only people who never try to do anything at all who are never disappointed. The real challenge is to be able to manage each disappointment in a constructive and positive way and not become discouraged. The choice is yours whether you will allow disappointment to make you discouraged or use it to help you to learn and grow. If you are honest with yourself about the reason you are disappointed, you can use the incident as inspiration to make changes in your life, you can better manage and process disappointment and have it lead to effective personal development.

Learn to Manage Disappointment

Rather than wallowing in the pain, negative emotions and a feeling of powerlessness for days or weeks when you experience disappointment, choose to learn from it instead. Many valuable lessons can be learned from disappointment if you ask yourself a few probing questions including:

What adjustments can I make to avoid being disappointed like this in the future? Or, what things can I do in a different way next time? And, what can I learn from this experience?

You can choose to look at disappointment from a different perspective and learn several valuable things from it. You can improve your communication skills and be better able to choose the right partner with whom you can get the results you want.

Develop An Attitude Of Gratitude

Sometimes when you experience disappointment and it has left you feeling down, one of the best ways to quickly bounce back is to focus on and be thankful for the good things you have in your life. When you focus on the good people, positive passions and great things you have in your life and remember to count your blessings, it can brighten your mood instantly. Often people take things like a nice home, a loving family and the good friends they have for granted. When disappointments come and things are looking bleak, just taking time to take note of and make time to be grateful for what you have, can help to erase the pain.

Talk With A Loved One

Talking with loved ones with whom you are close helps you to get a better and healthier perspective on the disappointment you are experiencing. Talking to a trusted and caring friend about the pain you are experiencing and why, is a powerful and effective way to manage and overcome disappointment. Often just having the opportunity to vent to someone who will listen and not judge you can help you to release the pressure you feel inside can make you feel better about yourself and your world. As expected, that person doesn’t have to be specially trained or able to offer sage advice. Just talking with a friend can bring a molehill back down to size.

Adjust Your Expectations

Perfection is an unattainable goal. You may be disappointed because you expect, want or demand perfection from yourself and anyone with whom you work. That is a recipe for frustration and disappointment. Often, if you adjust you expectations a little bit you
may find you won’t feel disappointed nearly as much. Ask yourself if a small mistake you or someone else made will matter 5 weeks or 5 years from now. However, just making a small adjustment in your expectations can take away a lot of the stress, frustration and the inner pain you feel when your unrealistic expectation of perfection is not met.

Take A Break

Sometimes when you experience disappointment, it helps to take a break to rest, relax and smell the roses. I sometimes spend so much time and energy focusing on and working towards my goals that I become stressed and upset if I am disappointed with the outcome of my projects. Taking a break to rest, recharge and have some fun enables me to accept and better deal with my disappointment, get a new perspective on my goals and dreams, process what went wrong and learn from it. I can actually feel the stress and tension flow out of my body and my mind relax and I am better able to handle setbacks and be more successful.

Spend Time Helping Someone

If endlessly mulling over your disappointment throws you into a downward spiral, take the focus off your problems. Spend some time helping others. It can be something as simple as helping a friend move or rearrange their garage. Even helping a spouse plan
a party, helping your daughter sell girl scout cookies or taking the time to listen to your children discuss their potential college majors, let them benefit from your vast knowledge and experience and explain why one is a better choice than another. The goal
is to get out of your own head.

Do Some Exercise

Lifting weights, hiking, biking, playing basketball, or doing any type of exercise can help you to manage the stress associated with disappointment. Exercise helps me turn my focus outward and renew my energy. Sometimes I simply hop on my bike and peddle my stress away for a few hours. Exercise helps me get past all types of disappointments, clear my head, sharpen my focus, get a good night’s sleep and wake up ready to get back
to work.

Breathe Deep And Go Deeper

Meditation can be an effective tool for navigating and managing the uncertainties that are associated with disappointment. Creating a meditation practice is free and simple. What worked for me was sitting quietly for 10 minutes each morning, clearing my mind and doing deep breathing exercises. It helped me to let go of stress and negative emotions. I’ve also built a tolerance of unexpected outcomes and create a sense of openness to new possibilities. It left me feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work.

Understanding How to Manage Disappointment

Disappointment is a feeling of loss and a form of sadness. As a result of a painful or uncomfortable gap between expectations and reality. It is the result of personal and professional relationships that don’t work out. But you and I have the power to choose to take steps to use disappointment to fuel personal development. Here are some healthy habits that will change your life.

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