Almost every one of us has sometimes felt disappointed in life, other people, or just ourselves. It is important that we know how to deal with life disappointments in an effective and loving way.
What is actually this feeling of disappointment all about?
My experience with disappointment
From my own experience, I feel this feeling usually when I:
- Have high expectations of others or myself that are not being met. For example:
- I expected that I was able to learn a foreign language quickly, but when I encountered obstacles that made learning difficult, I felt disappointed in myself.
- I wanted to change a habit, but was not able to do it easily (read my post about best way to quit smoking).
- Expect that life always matches my idealistic view of the world. For example:
- I expected that all people will be kind and generous. Instead I had to learn how to let go and love what is.
- I expected to be successful in every area of my life (read my post about failure in life).
- I expected that religion makes people love more (read a post from my friend – why I love God but hate religion).
- Don’t physically get or don’t experience what I expected to get or experience. For example:
- I expected to get a job offer, but was instead rejected for the role that I thought was ment for me (read my post about job rejection letter).
- I expected to live happily ever after married only once, but instead I went through a divorce (read my post about letting go of someone you love and how to be happy and single).
- I expected good things to be something I don’t need to be grateful for. That was until I learned what being grateful really is.
When I carefully analyzed those situations, they all had something in common.
They all had my own expectation of how the world should be, how other people should behave, or finally how or what am I as an individual supposed to be.
Life does not work that way. We don’t always get what we want, but from my own experience, we sure do get what we need.
Everything that happens in life is for a reason
I am a strong believer that everything that happens in life happens with and for a certain reason. It is up to me to find out what that reason is. It’s up to me to make sense and realize why that certain experience in the long run turned out to be beneficial for me, as it somehow allowed me to pick a different path from the one I originally planned, which led me to a much better place.
And the interesting part is, even if I don’t seem to get the message or understand the lesson in first, I will keep getting that same lesson over and over again in my life, but just on a bigger scale. The increase in size only makes it easier to understand.
This goes on until lesson is understood and we have learned what we need to learn from it.
Important thing to notice here is that I was the one who set up the “expectation value” in the first place.
I alone decided what it means to pass or fail in each situation or experience.
This helped me better understand people who intentionally force themselves to have low expectations from others (or even themselves) and use the hurt of being disappointed as an excuse for not following their life purpose or doing something that scares them.
That, in my point of view, is not such a great way to deal with the feeling of disappointment because it’s using limitation and cutting off from life as a means of protection from feeling hurt.
If you choose not to feel, you will not only cut off bad feelings, you will also cut off good feelings. It’s what people call “slowly dying inside”.
I don’t feel life should be lived like that.
What is our life decision?
After all, what are we protecting ourselves from, and how long do we intend to do it?
Are we really going to cut ourselves off from all that Life has to offer, from Love, Joy, Kindness, and do it simply because we would rather not feel hurt and experience disappointment in life?
How long are we willing to live like robots?
Why are we afraid of change?
I lived most of my life trying to separate myself from my negative feelings, and in the end I concluded that it didn’t work for me. It took me some time to realize that though, but slowly I started to accept the fact that I really wanted to live fully even if that meant experiencing feelings that I would rather not feel.
I came to realize that living fully is the only way ever to live a happy life.
Like I said, this realization came gradually over time, and it went like this…
I realized that I was actually the one setting myself up for experiencing this feeling of disappointment. It had nothing to do with other people or life circumstances.
How did I do that?
Well it begins when I set up in my mind all the different scenarios, of how things should turn out, what I need to get and what I need to experience, as well as how much time it will take and how long it will last.
In reality, I decided for myself that the only way for me to be happy would be to achieve what I planned, in the time I planned and the way I planned it.
When all those specific conditions weren’t met, or were just partially met, I felt disappointed.
This realization of how I lived my life led to step two.
I recognized that I was actually setting up those expectations in the first place because of my strong belief that I would be happy only when I receive the object or get the outcome of my desire.
I was mentally tying up my happiness to a certain outcome or a goal.
This way, I was also pushing my happiness to a certain time in the future. I would only be happy if and when…
This led me to another realization, or step three.
I decided to stop this vicious circle of suffering by consciously making another decision.
I choose to be happy right here and right now. Unconditionally. No strings attached.
That doesn’t mean I give up on setting goals and achieving things in the world. It simply means I decide that my happiness is much more important than actually having that certain goal or experience.
These steps combined created the following life rule:
I choose to be happy right now on my own and by myself. Only when I am happy first, I choose to go out in the world for the things I decide I would like to do, be or have.
We falsely believe that things we would like to do, be or have in the world are directly linked to experience of happiness. That is not the case. If it was, you would have a certain thing or experience only once and you would then be happy forever.
We all know once we get something it eventually starts to lose its allure, we stop appreciating it and we find out later on that it doesn’t “bring us happiness” in huge amount anymore.
I decided I need to start listening with my heart. Simply with this decision alone, I cut through a lot of my mentally created garbage.
In the end, being happy first, gave me the energy and focus to go for the things without caring for the result, where before I was suffering and I was convinced that I had to achieve or get them because I thought they are really a requirement for me to feel happiness.
The truth is, we are all seeking only one thing in the world.
We are all seeking happiness.
We will all realize sooner or later that real and lasting happiness is not to be found in getting the things we believe we need or indulging excessively in body experiences.
Happiness is (in) Self-Love.
It presents itself when you start loving yourself and when you start loving your life. No matter what the current circumstances are.
We reach happiness once we let go of our self-created negativity that pushes us in the wrong direction that pushes us to go searching in the world for the next best thing.
Negativity clouds our judgment and makes us go on a wild goose chase, searching for happiness in the only place where it’s not real and where even if we get a glimpse of it, it is not lasting. In the world out there, nothing lasts and everything changes.
We need to find our happiness first and then do in the world what we choose to do. However, this time, without expecting the world to make us happy. It is really a mission impossible.
So, are we ready to start letting go of our self-created chains? Are we ready become free? Are we ready to start changing with love?
I know I am. We all choose for ourselves. I chose to deal with my disappointments in life by learning how to change with love.
P.S. If you want to experience real and lasting happiness and join thousands of others in changing with love, I encourage you to read my post about Lester Levenson.
Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net