I had a plan. I thought it would work out perfectly. And as time moved forward, I could see cracks forming. I quickly tried to fill them up but new ones formed and in the end, the plan fell apart. This didn’t leave me feeling emotionally fit (or happy).
I know this is not a new phenomena. We have many disappointments in life: our kids do things we REALLY wish they wouldn’t, our partners behave in ways that feel bad and sometimes we’re disappointed with ourselves.
Disappointment is one of life’s most difficult feelings. And disappointment has a lot of emotions mixed together – like anger, hurt, sadness and fear. When you have just one of these emotions, it’s difficult to manage, but add the others on top and it’s hard to wrap it all up into a nice looking package.
I’ve been thinking of ways to deal with life’s disappointments and here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Talk about it and feel it.
One of the hardest things in life is to actually feel negative emotions. We’re masters at hiding our feelings and emotions at such a level that we forget how to actually feel. It’s ok (and human) to cry and feel bad. But, in our world of immediacy, we have to learn that sometimes we need time.
The funny thing is we allow our children to feel their emotions – screaming, crying, throwing tantrums (and things!), Yet, along the way we tell them to zip it and stop showing their emotions. I’m not suggesting having a tantrum at the store when they don’t have the dress you want. But I am saying that it’s ok to feel your feelings. It’s called, being present.
2. Concentrate on your heart.
Disappointment runs through the core of our being. For example, one of my values is openness with my love and kindness to anyone – regardless of how someone treats me. This is good most of the time. But, a few people have taken advantage of this part of me. When that happens, I want to shut down and go into my cave. This last time, I tried the following: (a) I paused and allowed my feelings to be near me – for more than a day!; (b) I looked at my choices: remain open-hearted or shut down. No brainer choice; and (c) I realized what other people do to me does not define me — it defines them.
3. Be Accepting.
S*** happens. And, disappointment feels dark. But, if we work on accepting that some things are outside our control, we can at least let go a bit and look a new direction. This idea of acceptance is a lifelong challenge (definitely for me!).
We need to be physically and emotionally fit in life. And the only way to do the latter is to experience/appreciate all our feelings – even the difficult ones.
When you live by your principles, you’ll still have disappointment. But you’ll also be feeling all of life’s emotions. How great is that??!!
Have a wonderful day!