Disappointment: Hurt to Gratitude


With disappointment, there are multiple layers of sadness that one experiences before being able to look on the bright side.

As adults, we do not often face disappointments in manageable doses; as such, we are stuck with the disappointment dilemma. After emotional and even physical preparation when disappointment comes, we are faced with the immediate and aftermath reactions.

Preparation anxiety: Anticipation can be exciting when we feel the adrenaline rush as we prepare for a celebration, a special date, or even dinner with friends. But what happens when you are let down by a last-minute change or cancellation? Unless you are a pessimist, mild hurt and disappointment set in.

Immediate and aftermath reactions: The most often heard immediate response to serious disappointment is this: “I felt as if I had been kicked in the stomach.” But because someone else was in control, the person who was hurt can do little more than make some feeble statement such as, “It’s alright, I understand.” In many cases, it was not alright, and you didn’t understand. But you said nothing and took the high road.

Resolution or regret: If a person in one’s life disappoints once or twice, it might be understandable. But what happens if it becomes a pattern? It can only become a pattern if you allow it. This is where choice comes in and you take control.

To protect yourself and maintain self-respect, say something in a kind, but firm way. You may even wish to give the other person some wiggle room. But if you say nothing, your disappointment may soon turn to regret.

Regret is a feeling we experience because a personal choice we make does not turn out as expected. But unlike disappointment, making that decision is within our control. From “Disappointment: Three Layers, Hurt to Gratitude” by Rita Watson, MPH http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-and-gratitude/201209/disappointment-three-layers-hurt-gratitude

While not a major disappointment with lasting impact, plans for an evening with a dear friend had to be shelved. I was looking forward to doing what we had planned for over a week. However, it was not to be. The reason for the cancellation was not specifically within anyone’s control. Rather, it is an outgrowth of where my friend placed them self. That fact has now become self-evident.

Showing that I am a true friend, I expressed my disappointment and not a lot more (even thought this is the second time my friend has recently canceled long made plans). I am thankful to realize the best thing I could do was show understanding and empathy, even thought initially I wanted to spout off. I am grateful I didn’t!

Disappointment to a noble soul
is what cold water is to burning metal;
it strengthens, tempers, intensifies,
but never destroys it.
Eliza Tabor Stephenson

About James Browning

A seeker working to grow each day and be a better version of my self. Through sharing I commit myself deeper to my ideals and beliefs.
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