Sooner or later, disappointments will also knock on your door. It can be a disappointment in the relationship. A disappointment at work. A project that has not been successful. Something you deluded yourself into getting and failed to do. The loss of something or someone important to you ...
In fact, did you know that people who continually feel disappointed have a higher risk of suffering from physical and / or emotional problems? These people usually suffer more often from headaches and gastrointestinal upset, as well as chronic stress and depression.
The good news is that disappointments, like everything in life, have two sides: they can drop you into the deepest sadness or help you learn your lesson and move on. If you want it, disappointments help you grow. You decide!
Disappointments are fueled by the gap between your expectations and reality
Disappointment is a form of sadness, a feeling of loss produced by the painful gap between your expectations and reality. You are disappointed when your hopes are not reflected in reality. In this regard, the philosopher Eric Hoffer said: "Disappointment is a kind of failure: the failure of a soul that has spent too much on hope and waiting".
If you prepare to get the best and everything runs smoothly, the setbacks you encounter along the way will discourage and disappoint you. When you think you need something to be happy or to feel satisfied, you are setting the stage for disappointment. When you have too many expectations, you are setting yourself up for a big disappointment.
Of course, we can't always avoid disappointment because our brains are programmed to anticipate events and we often expect the best. We are confident that the project we are so excited about and in which we have invested so much time and effort, will come true. We trust that others will behave fairly with us. We trust that our partner will support us ...
However, sometimes things go wrong, so disappointment follows. We cannot avoid it, but we can decide how to react. While disappointments aren't pleasant, they offer us valuable information about ourselves, our expectations, and other people. Every disappointment comes with a lesson, it's up to us to take advantage of it.
Obviously, getting stuck in disappointment isn't a good idea. The fact has already happened. It is gone. You can't go back to change it. You can reflect on what happened, and it is convenient to do so so that you can learn something, but you cannot forget that you are looking in a rearview mirror. While driving, you have to look in the rearview mirror from time to time, but most of the time you should keep looking ahead, towards the future. If you look back too often, you put yourself at risk of causing an accident with serious consequences.
Disappointment is also a great teacher of life, it is simply telling you that, for some reason, you ended up in the wrong place. The disappointment that you are living in a situation that you do not like and, therefore, should turn into a stimulus for change, a reason to react and get out of that place where you do not feel comfortable. Instead of complaining, you should ask yourself why you ended up there and, more importantly, what you can do to not return to that place.
The 4 horsemen of the apocalypse of disappointment
- Thing? Believing that only one thing can bring happiness
Constant exposure to advertising gives us the idea that we can only be happy if we have certain things. Often the same things that others have already bought. In this way, we can begin to subordinate our happiness to the acquisitive level. Without realizing it, we let things determine how happy we are. And when we don't get what we want, we feel disappointed and unhappy.
Curiously though, getting things is no guarantee of happiness. In fact, often when we come into possession of many things, we soon realize that they do not bring back the joy and satisfaction we expected. The satisfaction that things give us is very ephemeral. Conversely, the experiences we live and enjoy give us more lasting happiness. Therefore, it is a mistake to think that we can only be happy if we possess certain things.
- Who? Believing that there is only one person who can satisfy our desires
The biggest disappointments usually come from interpersonal relationships. When we expect others to behave in a certain way and they don't, we feel disappointed. The problem, of course, lies in our expectations.
In many cases, we are victims of the "Halo Effect", whereby we arbitrarily attribute positive or negative qualities to people according to our first impressions. In practice, we derive inferences from isolated characteristics about how these people will behave. When those expectations are not met, we feel disappointed. When we place our hope on a person and this does not satisfy him, we are disappointed.
We cannot escape the halo effect, but we can be aware of its existence. Instead of thinking, "he should worry about me" and feel bad if that doesn't happen, we should ask ourselves, "What can I do to make that person worry about me?" Basically, it's about taking control of the situation, knowing that there is room for disappointment, instead of just feeding expectations.
- When? Set a time limit to get what we want
We have expectations not only of what we want to achieve, but also of the time frame in which we want to achieve it. Unfortunately, a society that is spinning at breakneck speed, where needs are quickly met as soon as they appear, leads us to think that we must have it all, immediately. If we don't reach our goals quickly, we feel disillusioned, we believe we have failed.
We do not realize that many times life is not telling us "no", but just "wait". We all have our own pace, comparing ourselves with others is totally counterproductive. We shouldn't set too tight time limits, especially when our dreams are very ambitious. Life is not a fast run, it is a marathon. Therefore, do not mind arbitrary and unrealistic time limits. Learn to apply the Taoist concept of Wu-Wei.
- Like? Clarify our ideas on how to organize everything
Perhaps the hardest expectation we must give up to avoid disappointment relates to how we should do things, how we should feel and think, and how others should behave. It's common for when we set certain goals or commit to a relationship, we also plan a roadmap. This roadmap predicts how everything will go.
But life will take care to let us know that we can't control everything. If you have very elaborate patterns and you cling to them, you are more likely to feel disappointed. There are several ways to achieve the same goal, we must remain open to all possibilities. If life doesn't follow your script it doesn't mean you can't get what you want, just that you have to change your strategy.
Indeed, Abraham Maslow explained that one of the characteristics of self-realized people is the ability to distinguish means from ends. These people are able to stay focused on their goals, being open to different means of achieving them. Life is constantly changing the rules of the game, the key is knowing how to adapt and take advantage of all opportunities.