Have you ever been disappointed by something so badly that it feels almost impossible to let it go? No matter how hard we try to avoid it, disappointment is a part of life. While it's normal to feel disappointment, learning to process it and overcome disappointing events is important because holding onto it can have negative effects.
What Is Disappointment?
The Merriam-Webster English Dictionary defines disappointment as feeling “defeated in expectation or hope.” As an emotion, disappointment is characterized by a feeling of regret or sadness, often related to a loss. The loss may be of a loved one or changes in circumstances, such as the loss of a job or home, a failing grade on a test, or a bad medical diagnosis, for example.
People experience disappointment for many reasons. Just as people are unique, our responses to disappointment are exclusive to us individually.
Learning To Identify The Source Of Disappointment
Your reaction to disappointment and the way you choose to overcome it is often influenced by the source of the disappointment.
For example, if you applied for a promotion at work but did not receive it, you may feel disappointed and wonder how things in your life may have been better had you been promoted. In instances like this, you must make a decision. Decide if you want to stay at your current job with the employer who did not choose you or if you want to pursue employment elsewhere. There are likely additionally options that you may not have considered, such as having a conversation with your supervisor about what options for growth may exist for you and what you might need to do to prepare for those opportunities when they arise.
On the other hand, if your disappointment is related to the loss of a relationship or the death of a loved one, you may find yourself questioning why things had to end. The disappointment associated with the loss of a loved one often leaves individuals feeling overwhelmed. Because there is no way to "undo" the circumstance, it may feel like you may never get the closure you seek. It can be empowering to know that there are ways for you to process your emotions and move forward.
Managing Disappointment Effectively
Many people have the mindset that if you don't talk about something, then it didn't happen. This is not true. This type of denial can have negative consequences, which may compound the disappointment.
Long-term effects of unresolved disappointment may impact personal and/or romantic relationships. This often happens because someone who has been disappointed finds it difficult to trust others for fear of facing rejection or more disappointment.
Overcoming disappointment when things go wrong takes a conscious effort. There are some steps you can take to best manage your emotions so that you can let things go and move on.
Develop Emotional Awareness
One of the best ways to become emotionally aware is to acknowledge your feelings about the situation(s) that disappoint you. Being honest with yourself first will allow you to talk to and be honest with others. If you have a friend or confidante withwhom you can discuss these feelings, they may be able to offer some perspective about the issue.
Additionally, seeking the advice of a therapist or counselor for unresolved emotional responses could be beneficial. An experienced counselor will be able to offer you support and insight into why some feelings are easier to cope with than others. They can teach you healthy coping mechanisms to help you learn to let go of disappointment and move forward.
Disappointment has a way of leaving the person affected feeling anxious, as if in a constant state of turmoil. This is not conducive to emotional well-being.
Some days may be a little easier than others, but it is very important to learn to identify things that make you feel happy and at peace and to embrace them. Letting go of disappointment and of any anger or bitterness associated with it can free your mind of the turmoil and will help you to live a life of peace.
Seek Reality, Not Illusion
It is human nature to hope and dream. It's healthy to do so. However, when reality becomes mixed with illusion, it is very easy to feel disappointed. When you are trying to decipher what is real, journaling or making lists may be helpful. Write down facts and how they impact your life. Journaling and writing your feelings are great ways to express your feelings while maintaining discreetness.
Allow Experience To Be Your Teacher
Disappointment is inevitable. While it may not feel good at the time, experiencing disappointment and learning to overcome it can help prepare you for difficult situations later in life. Whether disappointment occurred because of a mistake you made, a missed goal, or poor personal choices, there is an opportunity to learn and move forward.
Give Yourself Credit
Just because you experience disappointment doesn't mean that you have to beat yourself up. If you take the time to honestly weigh the positive and negative experiences you've had, chances are you have much more to be proud of than disappointed about.
Think about your character strengths. Are you a good friend or a hard worker? Do you like to do kind things for others? When you begin to view yourself in terms of successes rather than failures or disappointments, you may be surprised how much better you begin to feel.
We All Need Someone
No matter what disappointment you are experiencing, it's important to realize that we all have times when we need the help of others. Reaching out to family and friends who are encouraging can help you begin to overcome disappointments and let go of negative emotions and beliefs that do not serve you.
When you need more help than just a friendly conversation, seeking the advice of a counselor or therapist is never a bad idea. Most towns have mental health and wellness clinics. Your primary care physician can also provide you with a list of counselors that they recommend. If you are interested in counseling, but not sure about the commitment to appointments or the financial obligation, online counseling may be an option for you.
Online counseling through sources, such as BetterHelp, gives individuals the option to receive support and encouragement from licensed, experienced counselors. Our dedicated staff is committed to helping you address life's issues with confidence, from wherever you have an internet connection and at a time that is convenient for you. Our mission is to make counseling more affordable.
Many people have achieved success in overcoming disappointment and building resiliency through online therapy, and often in a shorter turnaround time than it might take in face-to-face therapy. In a systematic literature review of randomized control trials involving participants experiencing symptoms of grief, depression, and post-traumatic stress – as well as internet-based interventions – researchers found that online treatment is an effective approach for supporting bereaved adults. For young people who experience depression connected to a disappointing event other than the death of a loved one, online therapy shows additional efficacy in reducing depressive symptoms and emotional dysregulation. While BetterHelp is for adults, its sister site TeenCounseling may be a valuable resource for adolescents experiencing their first major encounters with disappointment.
Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing disappointment in their lives.
Leah is an incredible counselor. She is open-minded, which is a characteristic I have a difficult time finding in individuals. She listens to my concerns and doesn't blame me for past mistakes. She helps me think of ways to deal with future issues and helps me think about things in a more positive manner. I've been feeling like a better version of myself since beginning therapy, and I know a lot of the reason is because of Leah."
"Victoria is wonderful. She is accepting and genuine, anything you need to tell her will be met with nothing but positivity. If you are struggling with something that you have shame or guilt about, Victoria will help you and you will not feel judged in anyway. She is a talented counselor with an open mind and a kind heart. You can trust her. Thank you For helping me Victoria. I am forever grateful."
How do you deal with disappointment or failure?
Dealing with disappointment or failure is often easier if you try to accept that negative feelings and setbacks are normal parts of life. From here, you can try to treat it as a learning experience and adjust your expectations so you can deal with such things more constructively in the future.
You might also benefit from surrounding yourself with positive people and spending time on your hobbies.
How do you prepare yourself for disappointment?
Preparing for disappointment might involve managing expectations and recognizing that not every outcome will meet your expectations. You might work with a therapist to develop a realistic perspective and explore treating disappointments as learning experiences. Cultivating a positive mindset can also contribute to resilience for some people.
How do you respond to someone who disappointed you?
How you respond to someone who has disappointed you will vary depending on factors like the situation, your values, and your relationship with the person. You might spend time considering how to constructively express your feelings about the disappointment. Dealing with the person when you've prepared yourself in this manner may make it easier to handle if you feel overwhelmed or hurt. Instead of harboring negative feelings, you might try to discuss your perspective calmly and be open to understanding theirs.
How do you deal with disappointment in a relationship?
Dealing with disappointment in a romantic relationship can involve honest communication and hard work from all parties. A relationship counselor may help partners reestablish a sense of trust and a willingness to understand each other's perspectives.
How do you get over disappointment and betrayal?
For most people, it's challenging to get over disappointment and betrayal, and the process can look different for everyone. You might start by trying to accept negative feelings while you work towards forgiveness. Other things that might help include talking to a therapist, setting boundaries to safeguard yourself, and focusing on activities that promote physical health and well-being.
How do you know if someone is disappointed?
Recognizing if someone is disappointed can be challenging. It may involve observing behavior, communication style, or changes in overall demeanor. A person might seem sad or withdrawn or even directly express their feelings.
What do you say to someone who is disappointed in themselves?
When someone is disappointed in themselves, you might be able to help by expressing empathy, understanding, and reassurance. You might try to remind them that setbacks are a part of life that almost everyone experiences while encouraging a positive mindset.
How do you start trusting someone again?
Rebuilding trust often involves open communication and sincere commitment from both parties. If your trust was broken, it can help to clearly express your expectations, concerns, and thoughts about rebuilding trust. For the person who broke another person's trust, it may help to consistently demonstrate reliability and be patient with the process.
Why does disappointment hurt so much?
Disappointment can be pretty painful. This is often because someone didn't meet your expectations, something challenged your sense of control, or someone betrayed your trust. The emotional impact can be profound, leading to a sense of loss.
How do you encourage someone after disappointment?
Providing emotional support is often one of the best ways to encourage someone after disappointment. Remind them that setbacks don't reflect their worth and encourage self-care and a positive mindset.
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