Being disappointed stems from sadness. We all instantly recognise the feeling of being let down or being disheartened when something we thought we deserved didn’t happen. A career path change only to find the same routine and feelings followed, or a relationship that didn’t go as you imagined. Disappointment is rooted from sadness- it can be a positive tool but also a dampening feeling; the good side is that as with any emotion with time and self-healing it does pass.
The Arrival Fallacy is the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, that when you’ll achieve happiness. As opposed to focussing on enjoying the journey towards the end goal. That belief of “when I achieve this then I will finally be happy.” If you have a long term goal and you’re passionate about conquering it- then learn to enjoy the journey- embracing both the ups and the downs- and when you do achieve it, you’ll have stashed lots of good moments along the way to achieving that end goal.
Accept it isn’t going to be easy because anything worth fighting for isn’t easy and if it was, it isn’t worth the fight. If you don’t fall into the Arrival fallacy trap you will find yourself enjoying the process more than achieving the end goal. When I think back to my men’s physique competition, I rarely think of the end result of being on stage. My thoughts fall back towards the leading up to the that day. The 12 weeks of training which I truly enjoyed, overcoming challenges, the lows and highs and overall had a greater impact on my life compared to the one day I spent competing.
We all have huge unrealistic dreams for example winning the lottery, once you buy a lottery ticket before you even get home you’ve spent the winnings in your wild imagination to then a few hours later have your dream bubble popped by disappointment that you didn’t actually win?!?
Disappointment = expectation/reality.
How do you know if your expectations are too high? Well, that is when your expectations are greater than your reality. You think you know what you deserve, you believe in those wild dreams and ideas of what you want but a result of this leads to a more intense disappointment. When an unrealistic expectation doesn’t match your circumstances, we don’t want to accept the reality. But highlighting the reality and the circumstances you’re in will allow you to achieve within your resources. Would you rather be disappointed by chasing an unrealistic goal or achieve something that will take longer, require more work that you know is just in your reach?
Can being disappointed be good for you?
I believe so, yes. Being disappointed isn’t want you want but you can use this emotion in a positive way. It can be used as a sign that something was “off” or to create another way to achieve what it is you desire and If you’re persistent enough in time you will have your breakthrough. There are 2 major key factors as to why disappointment can be a useful tool.
- It means you’re passionate – Have you heard of the phrase “Expectation is the root cause of all heartache” however the fact that your expectation didn’t come to reality means you were brave enough to try, to show up, to take that chance.
- Growth – Fail 9 times and win on the 10th. The best way to learn is to fail and then to find another way and by finding another way is creating strength to keep going and not give up. Also, to develop your decisions so that you can avoid a particular kind of disappointment again.
Dealing with disappointment
Whatever is the cause of the disappointment whether its heartbreak, a sporting competition, financial reasons. You need to let it out. Confide in your friends, family or even look for professional help. You could also let this emotion out by being creative, write a journal or getting outdoors for a walk/run. The point is to let the feelings pass. Keeping the disappointment inside and attempting to fight it within your mind or ignore it can hinder your personal growth and can lead to having trouble dealing with future disappointments.
Get perspective by communicating with your friends and family. Getting others view on your situation helps to create clarity rather than using your own perspective. This emotion of disappointment can stack up and completely derail our vision of ourselves and lead to doubting your own worth. Knowing your own heart and ask the question of “why”? why has this happened, examine your “why’s”.
Acceptance is the key factor for all negative emotions. Self-acceptance in particular. Accepting where you went wrong and where you are now is the right starting point for a fresh start that will create a sense of being present. Another good practice for self-acceptance and help to become more present is to focus on your breathing, disappointment comes and goes so breathing into it and let it pass.