How You Can Learn From Disappointments And Grow From Them. If you believe so far that it is possible not to be disappointed anymore, you only have to find the right way to get there.
However, if you’re looking for a recipe to stop being disappointed, then I am sorry to disappoint you because there is no such way, but there is a way to emerge stronger from disappointment.
None of us can control life and external reality to dance to our tune. And if we attempt, the outcome is typically just stiffness or overly cautious behavior.
But what every person can do is to work on their inner truth and mindset. Disappointments hurt deeply, but at some point, we have to let them go, otherwise, we get stuck in bitterness.
This article is therefore a guide on how you can learn to better deal with disappointment and, in the best case, even come out of a situation in which you have been disappointed a stronger and more mature person.
What are disappointments and how do they arise?
A disappointment always arises when an expectation – in most cases of other people – has not been met.
“Disappointments can be seen…as occasions for great personal growth and even the beginning of the truly outstanding performance,” writes Elder de Jager.
We don’t like disappointments because they are usually accompanied by other feelings that we are not comfortable with. For example, frustration, anger, dejection, or the feeling of being rejected.
Expectations and unfulfilled hopes are basically the basic ingredients on your part that create disappointment. When you have an expectation about a certain situation, but it doesn’t turn out as you hoped, you feel disappointed. Or you expect your partner to make you happy and you are always the perfect couple. This idea is rather unrealistic and will automatically lead to disappointment. Especially because you are responsible for your own happiness and not your partner or anyone else.
Excessive expectations can also arise with products. When the description or advertisement promises us something, we create an image of how we will experience the product. After the purchase, we often find that the promises were only partially or not at all kept and we are disappointed.
The same thing happens in interpersonal relationships. Empty promises and repeated cancellations of agreements make us feel unappreciated. The result of this is that we are disappointed. Most of the time we apply the same standards to other people as we apply to ourselves.
We mistakenly believe that the other person thinks and feels the same way we do. That’s not the case. People evaluate situations very differently because they have had different experiences in their previous lives. Everyone thinks, feels, and acts differently, also because everyone has different values. What is important to you does not have to be important to your counterpart at the same time. If you look at situations with this mindset, you can save yourself from some disappointments.
You can now see that reality does not correspond to your wishes, hopes, and expectations. This can be quite hard sometimes.
We all have some ideas of how we want our lives to be or how we would like things to be in our lives. That means we have expectations of how something should be. In this expectation, we imagine people and situations the way we would like them to be. But the others often do not care about our expectations, wishes and hopes. If our expectations come true, we are happy and we have a certain subjective confidence in ourselves and in life. However, if our expectations are not met and things turn out differently than we had expected, hoped for, or wished for, then we are disappointed and feel betrayed by others or even by life.
That is totally human. What is exciting, however, is how we deal with it when such a situation occurs again.
How can I better deal with disappointments?
Slights, lack of recognition, betrayal of trust – disappointments are part of life and get us off track from time to time. Being disappointed is also perfectly okay at first. But if you cling to it too much, you become bitter. To prevent this from happening in the first place, you can find out here how to overcome disappointments better.
Only those who have high or false expectations can be disappointed. That’s why disappointment often hits us very hard because we suddenly have to realize that our wishful thinking does not match reality. Our pride is hurt, and at first, the world seems to collapse. If you can’t overcome your disappointment, bitterness threatens to take over your life, robbing you of any chance of happiness and satisfaction. Disappointed people like to blame others for their disappointment instead of questioning themselves and changing their own expectations.
How you can learn from disappointments and grow from them
Through self-reflection, you can learn to better handle disappointment. These 5 steps will help you:
1. accept your disappointment
You are disappointed because things did not turn out the way you expected. You are disappointed by the behavior of another person. Or you are even disappointed in yourself because you did not meet your own expectations. All of this is perfectly okay and happens in life all the time. Most of the time, disappointment is accompanied by other emotions, such as sadness, anger, frustration and hurt.
You can allow these feelings because they are quite normal at the first moment. Perceive them consciously, attentively, and without judgment. Think about how you feel and why the situation upsets you so much. Accept the disappointment for the moment. After a while, however, you should look ahead again and leave the negative emotions behind.
2. let your feelings out
Eating disappointment and the negative feelings associated with it will only make you unhappy and in the long run bitter about the injustices of life. Therefore, let your disappointment run free. Either speak to the person directly, find someone else to talk to, or write everything off your chest.
Take a sheet of paper and put all your feelings and thoughts into words. If you read through what you have written again, you may even see things differently and recognize where your own expectations were too high. Perhaps you have projected your own values and demands onto the other person and now understand that you do have different views. On the one hand, writing it down takes away the anger and frustration that are bubbling up inside you; on the other hand, it helps you to reflect on yourself. Afterward, you can destroy the piece of paper and let go of the disappointment.
3. find the positive
Reflect and question why you are so disappointed in the first place. Did you perhaps have your hopes up too high? Did you see the world through rose-colored glasses? Did you misjudge another person? A closer look may reveal clues that you could have noticed before, but which you have glossed over. In this case, the disappointment opens your eyes and helps you to make positive changes that make you happier and more satisfied.
A sudden dismissal can be a chance for a new start, because the job was actually too stressful anyway and cost you a lot of energy. A breakup may be just the line you need to draw in order to end a relationship that has actually been in crisis for quite some time. Even if it is difficult at first to see something positive in the disappointment: Give yourself a little time, and you will gain surprising insights into what is really important to you in life.
4. recognize the meaning
You’ve just been laid off, you’ve been rejected for your dream job, you’ve been betrayed by your partner and have to deal with the breakup – there are many situations in which we are disappointed and first have to process the pain of rejection. But nothing in life happens without a reason, and where one door closes, another opens.
Maybe you got the job rejection because you will soon be offered another much better job. Maybe the purpose of the separation is that you recognize your true needs and can finally develop freely. Maybe the real true love is waiting for you. Therefore, do not let the disappointment pull you down too much. Check off the chapter and look forward to the wonderful things that life still has to offer.
5. gain strength
Of course, at first, you feel like a victim who has been wronged. But as mentioned at the beginning, disappointment depends on your own expectations. It is not the whole world that has conspired against you, but you have adapted your worldview to your expectations – and this has now been destroyed.
You can learn from this for the future and take the disappointment with you as a valuable experience. Instead of resting in the role of a victim, gather new strength from the disappointment and leave the bitterness behind. In return, you will gain life experience and wisdom that will protect you from new misjudgments.