When Life Sucks – emotionally intelligent ways to deal with disappointment

pexels-photo-262103.jpegOn April 2nd 2015 I went to work to discover the school had closed overnight. My colleagues and I were bewildered and heartbroken.

Three months later I went to the doctor’s expecting “Take these and come back in a couple of weeks.” Instead, she called an ambulance! Months of tests and minor procedures followed.  The upshot was I had a life-threatening autoimmune disease that had affected my heart. And life became very different.

It’s not been easy accept the new shape of my life. I’m not unhappy as such but there was/is a grieving period over the adjustments I’ve made and am making. I’ll do a post on this sometime. But basically, it’s all OK – just not how I’d visualised my life.

Unfortunately it’s inevitable that life is going bring disappointments, no matter how well planned or organised you are.

Some are fairly minor and can be brushed aside fairly easily. Some can be laughed at [afterwards.]

Others are huge and painful. The shock, pain and distress we feel knock us sideways! Denial is a common response, as is anger, along with frustration, anxiety, despair.

It’s ok to wallow around in these feelings for a while. Find a shoulder to cry and moan on.  Choose a word that sums up how you feel – furious, heartbroken, resentful etc – and own the feeling. Vent with a spouse or a close friend. Take pen to paper and journal. Punch the pillow. I have a friend who goes down to the bottom of her garden and shouts and screams. Whatever works.

And then it’s time to deal with the disappointment.

Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven.”

Dealing with Disappointment

Be Kind to Yourself – nurture yourself the same way you would your best friend. Do something fun, buy little treats, snuggle up with a good book, a snuggly blanket and candles, go for a walk along the beach.

Acceptance – we are all going to be disappointed at various times. It is, sadly, a normal part of life. It happens all the time. And if others can get through it, so can you!

Don’t keep rehashing what went wrong, by yourself or with friends – all it does is make it bigger, when you need to keep your perspective positive.

Try not to generalise. For example.”This always happens to me,” “You can’t trust anyone.”

Stop having your own private pity party. Chances are it’ll be gatecrashed by bitterness and resentment and they’ll refuse to leave when the party’s over. You don’t need them in your life. Trust me, I’ve been there and it so doesn’t help!

Find the takeaway – what can you learn from the experience? Chances are, there’s something there. Be honest but don’t beat yourself up – you’re looking for any nuggets that will help in the future. Were your expectations or assumptions too high? Did you trust the wrong person? Were you unrealistic?

Talk it over with a friend – they will have ideas and insights to help you reframe what happened.

Work out  the next step – and take it. Get moving again.  Get your focus back to doing what will most benefit you and your goals. Remember that what you give your attention to will grow. Let go of people or situations if necessary. Believe in your future.

Journal – make time regularly to sit in a quiet, comfy spot with a drink and write everything down in a journal – your plans, your feelings and so forth. Set aside part of the journal to record things that you’re grateful for and why.  Research shows that gratitude journalling has many positive results.

Forgive – it might seem impossible or ridiculous but it’s the best gift you can give yourself.  And it stops you feeling like a victim. Forgiveness is an act not a feeling and sometimes you have to work at it – it took me a long time to fully forgive my ex-husband and I had to persevere with the process.

Pray -for the people involved, the situation and yourself and ask for wisdom, strength and help with forgiveness for others and for yourself.

Disappointment hurts, no denying it. When we’re dumped, or gossiped about or we don’t get the job or promotion we knew was ours, it can feel like our world is crashing down around us. But it is possible to deal with disappointment and build a happy future.

If you have any questions or comments please share them. And I’d be grateful if you’d share this post.

PS Here is a post by Allison Finley that I found very helpful: I Never Expected For This To Happen

Nina is a qualified life coach, learning and sharing ways to flourish, usually in a workshop setting. She is also a novice blogger. Follow her on twitter @ninafcoach




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