Instead of letting our emotional well-being be impacted for months over unmet expectations, we can recover faster and find things to be grateful for in the present moment. Resilience helps us overcome these challenging moments and find the strength to move on.
5 proven ways to deal with disappointment and move on from it
The wave of disappointment has struck us when something hasn't gone according to plan. Whether it’s cancelling a wedding, a friend cancelling long-awaited plans or missing out on the promotion you wanted, learning how to deal with disappointment is just part of life. These five proven ways of dealing with disappointment will help you move on faster and easily.
Read on to learn about what disappointment is and the steps you can take to overcome life’s difficult times.
What is disappointment?
Disappointment is feeling unhappy because someone or something was not as good as you hoped or expected. When we feel unhappy because our hopes and expectations are unfulfilled, we experience a feeling of disappointment.
In the 1980s, Robert Plutchik presented his “Wheel of Emotions'' theory. He added two more emotions (trust and anticipation) to the basic six (joy, anger, sadness, fear, surprise, and disgust) making eight essential emotions in pairs of opposites.
Disappointment is what we feel when our expectations for the desired outcome are dashed, or when we recognize the feeling of being let down and the anger we might feel when something we thought we deserved didn’t happen. Or the grief we experience when we miss out on an opportunity.
Causes of disappointment
There are three main causes of disappointment
The arrival fallacy
This is when we’re so focused on achieving our goals that we forgo the process. We over-extend ourselves, and we live with unhappiness every day. All of this is for the quiet promise that when we “arrive,” our destination makes the struggle worthwhile.
Expectations of other people, places, things
When an unrealistic expectation doesn't match the actual circumstances, we don't want to accept what happened. And if we have high expectations around a situation or an outcome, we experience even more intense disappointment.
When you face a similar situation from childhood that caused you to feel disappointed, your mind automatically replays the earlier experience of loss and disappointment. The discouragement you experience can quickly turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy unless you learn how to deal with it.
5 ways to deal with disappointment
Knowing the cause of your disappointment likely isn’t enough and you are likely to wallow, so you’ll need some coping strategies to bounce back from life’s negative situations.
1. Let it out
Whether it's disappointment or anger, you need to feel it and let it out. A healthy way to achieve emotional health is to confide in your friends, family, or even a therapist. You could also channel this kind of tough emotion into a creative outlet. Try writing in a journal or doing something physical like taking a long run.
The point is to regulate your emotions and manage your negative thoughts by feeling whatever you’re feeling and allowing it to pass.
2. Get perspective
When things go wrong, it’s so easy to feel like it’s the end of the world, instead of seeing the bigger picture.
Communication with loved ones about your disappointment can bring some much-needed clarity. When you get an outside perspective other than your own, you can begin to see things for what they really are, rather than how you feel about them.
3. Know your own heart
Of course, you have to balance that external validation with your own inner wisdom.
The problem with emotions like disappointment is that they can completely derail our visions of ourselves. We can start to doubt our abilities and feel like an imposter. Our sense of self can become skewed when too many disappointments stack up.
That’s why it’s so important to know your own core values and principles before you embark on any goal or deal with any situation or person.
Keeping these “whys” alive will help you get up and try again while keeping your self-worth intact.
4. Practice self-acceptance
Once you’ve checked in with yourself and your supporters, it’s easier to accept where you are as the right starting point for a fresh start.
Practising self-acceptance means practising positive self-talk and continually rooting yourself in the "now." Accepting the present moment allows you to acknowledge what is real.
Like breath, disappointment comes and goes. So breathe into it and let it pass.
5. Don’t let it fester
The worst thing you can do is brood over negative experiences.
Again, the variable here is time. You certainly don’t have to get over it before you’ve done all the previous steps.
But, once you’ve given yourself some time to come to terms with your circumstances, it’s time to begin again. Otherwise, disappointment could easily sour into anxiety, negative thinking, and resentment.
Moving on from disappointment
Disappointment is an inevitable part of life. It might uplift you, as a silver lining often does, to know that disappointments mean you’re living life. And you may be exactly where you need to be, learning precisely what you need to grow. Learning to regulate yourself when it happens is the best thing you can do to get the lessons from disappointing experiences.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: