Dealing with Disappointment

Barb Wire

Disappointment, unfortunately, is a fact of life. And when it happens, it’s usually not a trickle. Normally disappointment pours out with one problem after another. And disappointment comes in many different forms ranging from a bad health diagnosis to the simplest matters of life.

No matter how much we plan or try to avoid disappointment, we can’t. It’s impossible. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing you can do to stop disappointment from making an appearance in your life in any given day, week or month.

Here’s an example. I have been planning a family road trip to Florida for several months. My wife and daughter were both thrilled! And I was excited too. I had everything covered at work. I was ready for some R&R as well as quality time with my family. In fact, all that my daughter had talked about for weeks was the beach!

We left for our destination on a Friday afternoon in an RV. About three hours into the trip, the air conditioning stopped working. Now as some of you may know, an RV is nothing but a glorified sardine can when the air conditioning isn’t working. If it’s 95 degrees outside, it won’t be long before it’s 95 degrees inside—and getting hotter. This was us. The temperature quickly rose to 97 degrees inside the RV. Mind you, we also travel with four dogs, so the heat can be extremely dangerous for them.

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The sad realization that we couldn’t survive the rest of the trip sunk in. It was 10:00pm, and we were sitting in the parking lot of a truck stop—hot, tired, frustrated, and extremely disappointed.

Has this type of disappointment ever happened to you? Maybe worse? A broken relationship. A lost job. A scary health diagnosis. When it happens to you, you have two choices: let it rule you or you rule it!

The natural, human reaction when disappointment sets in is to lose your temper! Or blame anyone and everyone we can. Then let it run our day, week or month. But is there a better way? You’re about to find out.

Let’s look at three things you can do to handle disappointment when it creeps up in your life.

Acknowledge that you are disappointed. Most men don’t deal with emotions well, so admitting that we are disappointed, hurt or sad is often difficult to do. The downside to not acknowledging our emotions is that we bottle up our frustration and it causes unnecessary issues in other parts of our lives. For example, have you ever fought with your spouse over a cabinet door slamming? I have. And 100% of the time, the argument has nothing to do with the cabinet door.

Discuss your disappointment with those affected. It’s amazing how discussing things helps you feel better. Cry about it, laugh about it… just don’t let your emotions control you. Why pile bad feelings upon a bad situation? Communicate and make the best of it.

Discover the silver lining in your problem—especially if you are a pessimist! Being an optimist, I can find the silver lining in everything. What are you being taught? Patience? Contentment? You will never know what disappointment can teach you if all of your focus on is the disappointment itself.

So whether your disappointment is as big as the Hoover Dam or as small as the crack in your driveway, you can manage your emotions and garner the best outcome for you and for those around you. The steps to getting a handle on disappointment are acknowledge, discuss, and discover. Do these three things and you will discover transformation in your life and in your relationships.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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