Are you stressed or frustrated and wonder why? I’ve found myself contemplating the source of my frustration… and disappointment is at the top of that list. That along with financial hardship, hormonal factors, and stupid people. Living in shitty ass cold Maine is also way up there. But today I want to focus on disappointment.
What is disappointment? Usually if you’re disappointed it involves another person. A person who decided to do something (or failed to do something) that resulted in you being unhappy. Their decision made you unhappy, therefore you’re disappointed. Right? It happens to me all the time. We’ve all been disappointed and we’ve shared the role of the disappointer.
There are many degrees of disappointment. The first degree is expected disappointment. For example, expected disappointment comes from that one friend we all have who always backs out of girls night last-minute. Even if they arranged it, he or she backs out every time there’s a planned get-together. Sure, it’s annoying as hell. But it’s probably not going to affect your mood long-term. Why? because you expect it.
Sometimes disappointment is due to a blatant lack of respect. I consider this indifferent disappointment. The indifferent disappointer is one who doesn’t seem to give a shit. For example, you make a plan to meet. You show up and they cancel without explanation after you’ve rearranged your schedule or driven to the agreed upon meeting place. They’re telling you their time is more valuable than yours. Why? Because they’re indifferent. Another example of indifferent disappointment is after you’ve spent countless hours filling out a resume, writing a brilliant cover letter, acing an interview after practicing in the mirror for hours, and the hiring agency doesn’t even bother to follow-up. Ever. You sit for months wondering if your denial letter was lost in the mail. I work for the State of Maine and this has happened three times this year. In my own damn agency! I would consider the indifferent disappointer synonymous with an ass. Just sayin’.
A little more stinging is misguided disappointment. This usually comes from a person you’ve grown fond of and have some expectation of common courtesy and respect. This is the person who leads you to believe you’re important to them, tells you they’ll be in touch, and never contacts you again. And if they run into you they’ll pretend nothing ever happened. This type of disappointment is hurtful because you had an expectation of a mutual relationship and realize the person didn’t really care about you or your feelings. The misguided disappointer is otherwise known as a douchebag. And that’s all I have to say about that.
And then there’s the loved one (family member or friend) who makes a decision that hurts you and you feel like you don’t matter. This isn’t just a slight disappointment. This is questioning the other person’s love for you, which can result in heartache. It’s hard to consider a loved one a douchebag or erase them from your life. So what can you do? In this case the best thing you can do, the only option really, is to forgive. But how do you forgive when it hurts so much? First, you have to understand that even though your world revolves around you, not everyone else’s does. In most cases people will make a decision they feel is best for them. It’s called self-gratification. And in the moment they make that decision, their own needs were their first priority. Not yours.
Why should someone put your desires above their own? By feeling this way aren’t you in fact putting your feelings ahead of theirs? You want them to make a decision you believe will make you happier. But it’s their decision; not yours. So why waste precious time and energy feeling hurt and angry when the control doesn’t lie with you? The only thing you can control in someone else’s decision is your response to it. Your response directly affects your mood. So if you want to feel happy you have to first understand it’s not about you and secondly, LET-THAT-SHIT-GO. It doesn’t mean you have to stick around to endure more hurtful decisions. You can walk away. That’s your decision, and yours alone. Just remember, you’re putting your own needs first when you walk away; the same thing you were angry at them for doing. And that’s okay. It’s called self-gratification. And we all do it.
The truth is, forgiveness is the solution to ALL levels of disappointment, because if you don’t forgive you’re only hurting yourself. We’ve already confirmed the disappointer doesn’t give a shit. So why should you? Instead you should thank them.
I’ve written a mantra to say when you feel disappointed and it’s guaranteed to make you feel better: “I sincerely thank you for being such a disappointment. Your douchebaggedness has shown me exactly what kind of person I do not want in my life. Therefore I know better what I do want, and will consider this a lesson learned.”