This was originally titled “What to Do Next When You Don’t Get What You Want” because it sounded catchy and inviting, until I realized the ambiguity in it. Here, my standpoint is from the experience of genuinely being hurt and having to successfully deal with the emotion.
I’m not sure wanting to shop online for beach Sunshades, but discovering at the last minute that the store had run out of stock (and would be for the next two months), qualifies for this category of “…Manage Disappointments”.
Not to undermine anyone’s emotion, of course it’s a disappointment, it’s not just the kind that’s the concern here.
The reason is, not only is that kind more subjective that the other cases of disappointments (there are people that would consider it a mild case of disappointment), but it has a more relatively immediate solution.
Like you could binge on another Sunshades shopping site, you could surprisingly win a Sunshades giveaway promo, you could borrow from a neighbor or you could call a friend and explain why you need them to make a trip to your crib and bring along their Sunshades while at it.
Relatively immediate solutions, in that order.
Back To Managing Disappointment!
The best way to get over a disappointment is not to simply “move on” from it like majority tend to advice. Jumping to “move on” will only keep your mind surrounded by the event that disappointed you for a long time afterwards and that’s not healthy for your mind.
Imagine having it good one time, then revisiting some disappointingly awful past experience that came as a nudge while having a conversation with a person, and then suddenly have a dark cloud of anger or regret or resentment envelope you, leaving your mood sour.
This happens if you do not naturally deal with the disappointment through a healthy healing process.
Now, How Do You Manage Disappointment?
- Accept Clarity: Be at peace with the situation. This is easier said, but until you resign to the knowledge of the despair, you might not release yourself for clarity to sink in.
You gave and it was never reciprocated? The efforts you put into your activity/job have not given you good results, only more reasons to be concerned and unnecessarily alert? You expected something that didn’t happen? Somebody did not keep their word?
Vent for as much as you can, but not as long as you can or want to. Don’t astound yourself into wondering maybe it didn’t happen, it did happen. Don’t devote time into mapping out ways you could have averted the outcome.
The mapped ways could have worked if the disappointment didn’t happen, but now all that’s happened cannot unhappen because of the property of TIME being symmetrical, and impossible to be reversed.
Take moments to acknowledge the situation and cry if you have to. In this post Confessions About Me, I wrote about how I cry when I get wildly disappointed, and for some reason, it’s rejuvenating.
And accepting clarity isn’t like what Kelly Millar, an Anthropologist and Historian, said here while giving his opinion on how he deals with disappointments, “…remind myself that nearly all great men failed many, many times, sometimes in a spectacular fashion, before they hit the right combination of timing, knowledge, opportunity, and luck”.
This may sound apt, but your depression could escalate quickly when you think about the other great people that are basking in success without (obvious) hardships.
2. Embark On a Different Move: For a person like me, this step is unnecessary so I skip it. I found that when I’m bothered about something, nothing else is capable of occupying my mind, but I’ve noticed this as a mechanism my brother uses to cope.
This step is a process that helps in distracting you from the event that has happened.
When you have accepted the fate of the condition, it’s possible you may be too confused to come up with plausible solutions, which is ok. The worst decision you could make would be ANY decision at this step. Act on a different plan. Do something else.
Allow the problem sit for a while and you’ll find that, while on a different task, the solution to the problem could surface over your mind.
Someone could say that temporarily letting go of an issue would leave room for your mind and body to recuperate, providing for a fresher perspective. This works.
3. Analyze The Situation: When you’ve understood that you didn’t get what you wanted or the way you wanted it, what’s next is to question the reality of the event. Could it be that the individual you trusted is a naturally shady person?
Did you miss a warning sign at the heel of your sandals that caused it to snap apart midway on your journey? It’s the beginning/middle…of the month so cash to spare comes so rare that you couldn’t be assisted?
It’s possible you placed too high an expectation? Like Alka Srivastava, a self-acclaimed life “addict”,said, “Disappointment is nothing but a state of mind where your expectations are not fulfilled“.
As if a continuation to that, Leonard Kim from Quora said, “The best way to deal with disappointment is to avoid it altogether. To do that, we need to eliminate our expectations. Without expectations, there is no disappointment”.
While I wouldn’t subscribe fully to “eliminating…expectations”, because being a planner and a high achiever mean to set high standards and aim to mark them. Eliminating expectations totally could lead to a slow self-growth. The idea therefore is to limit the expectations to realistic ones, or reasonably above par.
Perhaps they could be reviewed to see if they actually serve you, or need to be readjusted. Especially when you see what went wrong, and where you can avoid the mistake in the future.
4. Think Rationally and Positively: Since you have revisited and learnt from the problem (or not), you should look to developing a fresh perspective and exploring your available options. Try a little to let yourself be open minded to logical ideas and solutions to move out of your present sinking sand.
You could go an original route or you could have a go at the previous route but refined. I read in a self-help book that “a quiet introspection can save you a lot of time and energy being wasted feeling like a loser”. Plan and set new goals to achieve and believe in yourself to see them through.
5. Look for the Best Option and Act: Make a move to act and not wallow in self-pity. With the new plans, don’t sit still and second guess and get vibed off positivity. It’s possible the cause of your disappointment was beyond your hands and you couldn’t have prevented it from coming if you premeditated over it.
It’s also possible it was within your means to control. The key now is to learn from the errors made and then chart a course accordingly.
Not to be cliché, but some disappointments are blessings in disguise. And to reiterate what a wise man said, “Disappointment is what allows us to become the ultimate version of ourselves. If you see your disappointments as an opportunity to learn and grow, you will embrace the “best way” (I could argue, perhaps, that it is the only way) of dealing with disappointment.”