Dealing with Disappointment

Here are several steps I use in dealing with disappointment. These make the difference between moving past a negative situation and dwelling on it.

I’m sure there will be a lot of posts surrounding this election in the days, possibly weeks, to come. I’ll keep my comments on it brief, since I feel like the entire situation can be used for a larger topic on dealing with disappointment in many life situations.

I’m really not a big political person. I don’t enjoy political discussions, I try and keep my opinions off of social media, and I generally just go with the flow of things. I wasn’t particularly excited about this election because I felt like neither candidate was really a great choice. I was asked if I was excited that Hillary might be the first female president (this was when she was prognosticated to win), and I really wasn’t. I felt like if she won it would be because her opponent was so outlandish that it would almost be a winΒ in spite of an even worse outcome, not on her own merit. I felt like if there was a better opposing candidate she most likely wouldn’t win.

Even though she wasn’t the ideal outcome, I still felt far better having her as president than I did about the other possibility. Someone with no political experience, someone who speaks blatant hate about certain racial and religious groups, and someone incites violence at his own rallies surely couldn’t win the vote of this country. I’m really just disappointed. I know that as a collective we will be ok, but I’m legitimately confused about the reasons people would have for voting the way they did. If you did vote for Trump, I’m not judging or defriending you for your choice; I’d just honestly like to know what characteristics he possesses that led you to your decision.

Election aside, life is full of disappointments. People close to you may let you down, your career might not go the way you anticipated, or you may feel like you’ve disappointed yourself in some way. The difference in how we respond to disappointments is what either allows us to move on or to remain stagnant and bitter with the outcome. As someone who has been through a series of these in my life, these are the steps that help me come to terms with those disappointments.

1. Acknowledge the facts

The first thing to do is acknowledge what has occurred. My senior year of high school I plagiarized one of my English papers. I wanted to spend time with my boyfriend and not write another paper when the school year was almost over, so I copied bits and pieces from the internet and turned it in as my own. My teacher discovered what I’d done, informed my mom, and I ended up receiving a D in the class and ruining my four-year honor roll record.

I started by denying it until it was obvious that I was caught red-handed. From there I had to accept the consequences of my actions and realize that there was nothing I could do to turn around my grade. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but no other real alternative. A lesson learned for sure.

2. Feel the feelings

This is one of the hardest ones for me to do. Sitting in discomfort is never fun, but it’s necessary to be able to move past certain events. I woke up Wednesday morning and checked my phone to see if something had miraculously changed. It hadn’t. From then on, I just felt bummed out for most of the day. I didn’t have energy to work out, I wanted to eat all the desserts, and I wanted to stop in every store on the way home and buy things until I felt better.

It’s important to listen to your feelings and emotions. Be gentle with yourself when you’re feeling emotional. I skipped my favorite workout of the week, and you know what? It’s ok. It’s what I needed to do. Sometimes grabbing a treat is what you need during those times. Whatever it is, the worst thing you can do is shame yourself further when you’re done. A missed workout isn’t going to kill anyone. Buying something for yourself isn’t the end of the world. See how these actions fit into your life and make sure not to label them as bad or good.

While we all need a little comfort from time to time, do make sure to sit with those feelings so you can experience them. Talk to someone about them. If there’s no one to talk to, write about them. Just getting them outside of yourself is a step closer to getting through them.

3. Accept the outcome

During my addiction I let a lot of people down. Many of them forgave me, but some friendships I once held have fallen by the wayside. When you hurt others, you can’t always expect everyone to understand why you did certain things and let them go. I have to respect their feelings and accept the outcome.

After you’ve felt your feelings around a disappointment, you’ll have to learn to accept things the way they are. You may not be able to directly change the outcome, but you may be able to indirectly work towards a solution. In my case, I can let old friends know that I am always available if they have a change of heart and I can treat the friends I do have better than the way I did in the past.

4. Look at the big picture

I advocate this over and over again as a way to change your perspective on a negative situation. Take a step back. Try and find something positive in the situation. If you can’t find anything positive, look for a lesson that can be learned. I think knowledge is so important and being able to either learn something to take with you in the future or finding a way to change your behavior going forward is sometimes worth those disappointments.

At the end of it all, always get up and keep going. Some of the hardest climbs can be conquered by continuing to walk.

Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud.

Questions:

  • What do you do in dealing with disappointment?
  • How many donuts did you eat today? πŸ™‚
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17 Comments

  1. November 10, 2016 / 6:16 am

    I’ve been telling myself “look at the big picture.”
    Honestly, I am scared we will erase some of the progress we’ve made recently. And I’m scared for my Muslim, gay, & otherwise non-white male friends (just being honest), but at the end of the day, we will survive. We MUST try to repair the damage that years of “us vs them” has created. Thank god our system had checks and balances.
    Honestly, this election – and the win of Trump – felt like I was grieving a death (dramatic, I know), but it’s also been a lesson for me in humility and handling disappointment- so there ya go.
    Catherine @ A Cup of Catherine recently posted…Dear America…My Profile

  2. November 10, 2016 / 7:06 am

    This is spot on! I think many of us are in the feel the feelings stage and its an important step. I think the biggest thing for me in overcoming disappointment is making a game plan with how I’m going to go about accepting whats happened and then how i will move on best. A game plan if you will
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…Thankful Thursday: Week 2My Profile

  3. November 10, 2016 / 7:20 am

    I definitely needed to read this today, thank you Erin. Of course it’s difficult to accept the reality of it all, but the important thing is that we maintain our strength as a nation and keep fighting! πŸ™‚ I’ll let you know how many donuts I eat later…;)
    Marina @ A Dancer’s Live-It recently posted…Warrior Woman Wednesday #22My Profile

  4. November 10, 2016 / 8:24 am

    I’m so thankful that we can keep the right perspective; the bigger picture for me is that God is in control, and the He will work in amazing ways despite what happens in politics.

    πŸ™‚ And I’m going to keep trying to love others and be kind.
    Emily recently posted…How Truth and Love Affect Elections and Eating DisordersMy Profile

  5. November 10, 2016 / 8:25 am

    You have such a gift of turning negative situations into learning experiences.
    I love what you said about letting yourself feel disappointment or negative feelings. They may be uncomfortable but feeling those feelings helps us grow and recover rather than pushing past them.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Thinking out Loud #88My Profile

  6. November 10, 2016 / 8:37 am

    Once again, I have so much appreciation for you, and your ability to take what could be a personal situation and relate it to the greater good, and how we can be better human beings. I’ve been working on being okay with discomfort in therapy, and it’s freaking uncomfortable πŸ˜› I still struggle with guilt and shaming myself when having negative feelings about certain people, but understanding WHY I have those feelings helps me take a step back and a) be okay with negative feelings, and b) having the ability to choose different actions based on that understanding about myself (and other people).

    XOXO hugs hugs hugs
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Almond Stuffed Pumpkin Spice DatesMy Profile

  7. November 10, 2016 / 8:41 am

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read about the election results. I agree, had Hillary won it would largely be because Drumpf, is well, Drumpf. But, she didn’t and I really do hope he backs off from his hateful rhetoric and the rest of the party keeps him in line.
    Yesterday I definitely needed to feel my feelings. I’m not American, but I have a lot of amazing friends who live here and Canada has exceptionally close ties to the country (the NAFTA thing is a huge concern) so I was especially invested in the results.
    <3 <3
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Anxiety and Type AMy Profile

  8. Melissa
    November 10, 2016 / 10:45 am

    Great post!

  9. November 10, 2016 / 11:57 am

    I’ve been physically sick the last 36 hours. I’m flummoxed how this a pathetic excuse of a man could get elected. Yes, Hillary wasn’t the greatest alternative, but in the light of our options, she was the better choice. I am afraid of what’s to come…. but I will hold my head up high and try to live my life as I always have: with love, kindness and compassion for others.
    San recently posted…9: What have you done, America?My Profile

  10. November 10, 2016 / 2:34 pm

    I would love to see a female in the white house, but I didn’t vote for Hillary. My husband (who is black) and I both voted for the president elect because he doesn’t represent the establishment, didn’t appear to have as much as a secret agenda as Hil and seemed more in line with our beliefs on policy, social issues etc.. Do I agree with everything that he says? No, but I don’t think anyone ever can. The media creates division and pushes the us vs. them agenda regularly which makes it difficult for everyone. This election is a perfect example of that. I know a lot of people that voted both ways and they are all kind, compassionate and educated human beings even though the media might say otherwise. I think when people look around and talk to each other they will realize that we are all more alike than different. Also, all these riots and protests going on aren’t helping unite the country which is what we ALL desperately want. You have a lovely perspective and I’m so glad you shared this!
    Alaina @ The Simple Peach recently posted…NYC Marathon Mini Recap – Live For Today!My Profile

  11. November 10, 2016 / 8:14 pm

    This was really helpful for me Erin. I think I need to work on be kinder to myself when I’m sad and letting myself just feel what I’m feeling. I tend to be so hard on myself when I am not 100%, and that is something I am working on. Thanks for this girl, you inspire me lots <3
    Alyssa recently posted…Guest post-Managing stress in CollegeMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      November 17, 2016 / 8:15 pm

      Aw thanks Alyssa! Yeah you have to just give yourself permission to feel even though we usually want to just ignore and push through.

  12. November 11, 2016 / 5:34 pm

    This post is spot-on and full of wisdom!!
    I usually find myself denying the facts and avoiding my feelings, which is unhealthy to say the least. I think I will bookmark this post and refer to it the next time I am faced with disappointment.

    • erinsinsidejob
      November 17, 2016 / 8:17 pm

      Aw thanks Lauren. I’m glad you found it helpful!

  13. Zoe
    November 16, 2016 / 8:25 pm

    Thanks for this pair which I think is excellent although I don’t agree with everything you’ve stated. I am most now concerned. I’m worried because Rural America is now almost a different world than Urban America and it seems like the two are moving farther and farther apart. I’m worried because people are hoping to get manufacturing and coal jobs back which won’t happen, those industries are no longer. I’m worried because I don’t think America offers people enough low-education jobs that give people a living wage. Im worried because his platform was “make America great AGAIN” seeming to say it isn’t great now and what exactly does he think we will return to? The 1950’s? It’s not possible. I’m worried because socially we have regressed and since our President Elect has spoken a lot of hateful language towards minorities and women, I’m worried that people and other politicians will follow suit as some already have. I’m worried because other countries are going to realize we elected someone with no experience and no foresight who brags about himself rather than talks about realistic plans. I’m worried because I’m dating a Muslim Pakistani guy whom I love and see a future with and I’m really scared that he will or his family will experience discrimination as people that are not white Christians. I’m worried because I work for a Gov-sponsored entity and Trump could decide to close our whole firm tomorrow. I’m worried because people don’t seem to understand that collectively we will be okay but some individuals actually may have some horrible things happen… hate crimes, warfare, economic variability and a potential inflation/recession event…

    I’m trying to live with disappointment but I’m really concerned right now.

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