We all feel and experience disappointment in our lives, whether it is someone important letting us down or us letting ourselves down. Regardless of whether the disasters and challenges we endure are on a small or large scale, the feelings they produce aren’t always comforting. Disappointment can make us feel many emotions: anger, frustration, sadness, guilt, etc. Learning how to manage and deal with your defeats can help you productively overcome your negative thoughts and feelings.
Reflecting on the disappointment you have recently encountered might seem like the last thing you want to do. Why would you want to study the failure that is making you feel terrible? Why wouldn’t you ignore it until the feelings go away? Reflecting on your frustration can actually serve as a catalyst towards you moving on from the unwanted feelings you are experiencing. For one, it can allow you to find the root cause of your disappointment. It would be easier to overcome your frustration if you knew what it truly centered on.
Additionally, analyzing your disappointment can compel you to take accountability. It might sting, but realizing that your problem is the result of something you did can be very helpful. It can help you focus your anger away from those who you might have blamed initially and work on what you could have done better instead.
Give it time
Rushing the feelings of disappointment is something we all do, but it is not always effective. We all just want to quickly “get over” what makes us feel terrible, and so we try to rush the healing process. While the consequential feelings of disappointment may not make us feel good, it is important to recognize that you might need time to let this go. If you try to rush how you feel, you’ll waste time pretending you are okay instead of actually taking the time to feel better.
While you should allow yourself time to deal with your disappointment, don’t let it be the only thing you think about. Don’t ignore your feelings, but also don’t read too much into them: acknowledge how your setback has made you feel, but you don’t need to keep replaying about every misstep you took to get there. If you let yourself drown in a river of pity and disappointment, it will only be harder to recover and move on. It’s all about finding a good balance between ignoring your feelings and wallowing. This is one of the hardest things for me because I feel like if I don’t wallow, then I am not actually processing how my disappointment made me feel. I have had to learn how to find a healthy combination that allows me to reflect and understand my emotions without constantly beating myself up.
Find a healthy outlet
When you are experiencing the overwhelming feelings associated with disappointment, finding a healthy and productive way to cope can be an effective method for relieving stress. For some, a way to handle these emotions might be to go on a run, go on a relaxing drive, or read a book. Whether it is one of the previously mentioned activities or something else, doing an activity that makes you feel happy and at ease can help lower the stress and frustration felt as a result of being disappointed.
Put it in perspective
It might be hard to do while you are in the moment, but it can help to consider how important the disappointment you are going through will be in the grand scheme of things. Consider how you will feel and how this will impact you tomorrow, next week, or even a year from now. If you are like me, looking on the bright side in the moment seems like a hard and unhelpful strategy. However, sometimes it works in reassuring me that one disappointment will not be that big of a deal to me later on, even if it’s not making me feel great now.