the art of being disappointed

I think once in a while, and perhaps more often than not, we feel disappointed.

We feel disappointed at our family members, who were not as supportive as we expected. We feel disappointed at our friends, who cancelled a meeting at the very last minute. We feel disappointed at our partners for being late.

And we feel disappointed at ourselves.

For getting marks that are lower than expected. For not climbing the career ladder as fast as we ought to do. For not being able to get full-time jobs right after graduation. For making x amount of money whole our peers have been printing money.

Disappointments. We all have been there.

Do your disappointments stem from your high level of expectation? Should you work on gaining realistic goals that you can totally attain?

Maybe, maybe not. Is the problem to lower your expectation so you don’t get hurt, or should you learn to deal with disappointments better?

My boyfriend had a somewhat disappoiting week. I did too. I felt like I haven’t accomplished anything, and I felt like I fell short of all my expectations. I aimed for a mark that I thought was achievable.

It was not.

I guess one of the worst things that happened due to disappointment is that I began to feel like I’m not good enough. That I’ve worked hard and poured my heart into the job but it’s just not enough. Then I began to wonder: will I ever be enough? How can I get there? Work harder? But what if the result is the same? What if I have to face a greater disappointment than what I already have?

That mental preparation is hard. It’s really hard. On one hand you put your heart and soul into something, on the other you try to guard the delicate pieces so that they wouldn’t crash and burn. And it’s scary.

You shouldn’t put the bar too low, but putting it high will wreck your disappointment-expectation balance.

So. Are you dealing with disappointments too?

First of all, I’m trying to remind myself that it is okay to be disappointed. It is normal to feel disappointed again and again.

Second of all, I think we need to really learn to be okay with being disappointed. I’m not saying that we need to devalue disappointments and that ‘it’s okay to be disappointed all the time’ (because that might actually signal that there’s something wrong with you). But just like we need to learn to be comfortable to be alone and to accept failures the right way, we need to get around to realise that being disappointed is okay. We’re just being human.

Thirdly, I’m reminding myself that what I do next is what matters. Yes, we can mop over it. Curse it even. But at the end of the day we’ll have to toughen up, get over it, and move on.

And we’ll have to try again.

So cheers to all disappointments we have. We are all better people because of those.

Photo by Guilherme Yagui, Creative Commons