Dealing With Disappointment



What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.


Part of life is dealing with the disappointment we feel when things don’t go our way.

Maybe the promotion we’d hoped for went to someone else.  Or we never heard back from that cute guy after 3 dates.  Or you made an offer on a house and it was rejected.

Even though we know things aren’t always going to turn out how we want them to, sometimes disappointment is harder to get over than we expect.  We hash and rehash it over in our minds, hoping to figure out where things went “wrong.”  

If you’ve ever had disappointment grow and take on a life of its own, you understand how important it is to keep your perspective so that you don’t slide down into an emotional pit of despair.

Here are some ways to keep the disappointment contained so that you can move on:

1. “This is what is supposed to be happening.”

Marie Forleo suggests saying, “And this is exactly what I wanted!” anytime something disappointing happens.  Personally, I find this difficult because it feels disingenuous, and your brain always knows when you’re lying to it.

I prefer to say, “And this is exactly what was supposed to happen.”  How do you know that’s true?  Because it’s what happened.

We can’t always know how events will play out down the road.  I’ve missed out on a promotion more than once, only to end up in an even better position.  One that I couldn’t even imagine at the time.

We have to trust that the Universe is ordered, and that everything is happening FOR us, not to us.  If we remain open and willing to see the good, we can turn every situation into an opportunity.


2. What can you do differently next time?

Sometimes there is something we could have done differently.  I believe we always get the chance to repeat the lesson until we get it.  Maybe you were too emotionally invested in the guy too early.  Maybe you need to beef up your skills in a particular area at work.

If there truly is nothing for you to do differently, perhaps the lesson is to detach from the outcome.  Our disappointment is inversely proportionate to our detachment.  The more detached we are, the less disappointed we are.  The less detached, the greater the disappointment.

Detached doesn’t mean you don’t care.  It means you do your best, and understand that the outcome may not be what you would choose, and that you will be okay and you will flourish no matter what.


3. What will make you feel better NOW?

The important thing is to get your perspective set so that you can bounce back from the disappointment.  What will feel better?  Talking to a friend?  A workout?  A yoga class?  Watching a funny cat video?  A pint of ice cream (no judgment)?

This isn’t the same as avoidance, it’s soothing a wound.  When you were a child and you scraped your knee, maybe your mom put a Band-aid on it, kissed it, and gave you a cookie.  I’m not suggesting that you soothe with food, but what can you do to comfort and nourish yourself?  What will get you out of the pain and into some better feelings?

Dealing with disappointment early is important if you want to have a One-Derful Life.  Disappointment can rattle your confidence if you don’t get a handle on it.

Maybe you need to get a handle on a broken heart.  If so, you may want to check out our ABC’s of Healing.  This free video will show you how to move past the heartache so you can get your happy back on track!


Question: What’s your favorite way to deal with disappointment?

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