Life is often filled with disappointment. We have all found ourselves in situations where things have not gone as planned, leaving us disappointed. (Hello 2020!)
Relationships that were supposed to work out but did not, businesses that you have planned for and sunk all your savings in but still fail to take off, jobs that are lost, curtailing the career growth you had hoped and planned for; the list is endless.

Some disappointments are easy to get over. Some however, sit with you for a really long time and may take some effort to overcome.

Here are five ways to navigate disappointment and come out on the other side.

Accept the situation and acknowledge your feelings about it.

Disappointment carries with it so many feelings that sometimes it is hard to really put a finger on exactly what you are feeling. It could be sadness, anger, bitterness or embarrassment. It may get overwhelming but burying your head in the sand and downplaying your feelings only derails you. Acknowledge your feelings and work through them.  The sooner you accept that things have not turned out as you had hoped, the easier it will be for you to move forward. See the situation for what it is and allow yourself to feel the feelings of disappointment before you plan on how to move forward.

Disappointment carries with it so many feelings.

Surround yourself with your support system.

If you are like me, then your default is to isolate when you are going through the most with disappointment. But a support system during this time is necessary. Your support system will pray for you, drag you outside when all you want to do is stay in bed forever, help you put things in perspective and help you get back to the swing of things. Let them help you.

Put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.

Pick yourself up and move forward. Your life is far from over. The disappointment is a setback, but you can pick back up. Moving forward does not have to involve grand five-year plans and strategies; it can simply be, in the words of Elisabeth Eliot, doing the next thing. Do the next thing. Get out of bed, take a bath, go for that engagement that you scheduled before the disappointment hit you, or maybe prepare a meal for your family. Just do the next thing, whatever that is.

Pick the lessons to be learned if any.

Disappointments often leave us wishing that things would go back to the way they used to be. But if you can look through the pain, there is usually a lesson to be learned. Maybe that relationship that just ended has brought out a character trait you did not know you possessed that you need to work on. Maybe your business model just will not work in the market you are in. Whatever it is, do not miss the lesson in the disappointment. This is hard, especially when it involves accepting your role in the way things turned out. Be honest with yourself. Only then will you learn from your mistakes and do better next time.

Do not miss the lesson in the disappointment.

Practice self-care.

Some disappointments leave us with crippling self-doubt, beating ourselves up about our mistakes. Given the ever-present responsibilities of adulting, you may end up neglecting your mental health and allowing negative mental self-talk to continue. If you let it go too far, this will have a negative impact on your physical health. Be intentional about taking care of yourself. Pay attention to your inner tone of voice and speak to yourself the way you would speak to someone you love. Pray, exercise, read a book, see a therapist, take a break and spend time with family and friends. Keep a healthy routine physically, mentally and spiritually. Whatever it is that counts as self-care to you, do it.

Whatever disappointment it is that you are navigating, it does not define you. See it for what it is, take stock, then make a plan on how to get past it. It most likely will not be the last setback you will face, but how you work on moving past it will influence how you navigate future disappointments.

2 Replies to “Navigating Life’s Disappointments”

  1. This is such a good reminder. I really like the ‘not missing the lesson in the disappointment’ bit.
    Even more encouraging is the fact that God says it all works out for our good.

    Thank you Yunia.

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