Dealing With Disappointment

DisappointmentEven though I had prepared myself for both outcomes, the announcement still felt like a punch in the stomach: I lost a job I badly wanted to another candidate.  The hit went deep, and took months of recovery. Well, that’s not exactly true. Years later, I still feel the sting of disappointment.

It can be really difficult to shake those feelings of sadness, guilt, displeasure or anger that are stirred up when we find that our hopes or expectations have been dashed. The situations can range from the profound – treatment for an illness fails to work or a marriage falls apart – to the more prosaic – a long-anticipated vacation at the beach turns out to be rainy disaster. But big or small, disappointment can have a debilitating effect on our emotional well-being.

Here are MiddleSexy’s top tips for coping when you get the short end of the stick.

1. Don’t deny your feelings. While there may be solid personal or professional reasons for masking your disappointment in public, make sure you acknowledge to yourself that you have suffered a blow and will need time to heal.

2. Be thoughtful about how you vent: It’s a natural response to want to lash out after you have been injured. Take a deep breath, and make sure that your venting process doesn’t make matters worse. Try to find a neutral party to talk with about the course of events.

3. Get a grip on the big picture. Disappointment comes at you hard and fast, but in the long run, things may not be as bad as they initially seem or might even work out for the better. Use the neutral party to help you put things in perspective.

4. Forgive yourself. Don’t let a setback hurt your self-confidence. You’ll need a healthy ego to bounce back from disappointment, and beating yourself up won’t help.

5. Move forward purposefully: As part of the big picture, think carefully about what your next steps should be. If you need to take rapid action as a way to exorcise the unhappiness or anger that you are feeling, choose something unrelated to what disappointed you – for example, go for long workouts at the gym or find another healthy way to release negative emotional energy. When you are feeling calm, make a detailed list of all your options.

If it helps, think of disappointment as an evil genie. Your goal is to find the best ways to get that bad boy right back into his bottle.

How do you cope with disappointment? Share your thoughts with the community.

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Image via Mike Haeg/Flickr