How To Deal With Disappointment And Let Things Go

By Darby Faubion|Updated April 14, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Cessel Boyd-Lewis, LCMHC

Have you ever been disappointed by something so badly that it feels 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 experience it and overcome the event is important because holding onto it can have negative effects.

Learning to accept disappoint and how to process the emotions attached to it is crucial to maintaining mental well-being.

Take Steps Towards Managing Disappointment

What is Disappointment?

The Merriam-Webster English Dictionary defines disappointment as “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 the loss 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.

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 disappointment and wonder at how things in your life may have been better had you been promoted. In instances like this, you must make a decision. You must 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.

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 hopeless.

Denial Does Not Remove Disappointment

Many people have the mindset that if you don't talk about something it didn't happen. This is not true. This way of thinking 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.

Dealing with Disappointment

Feeling disappointment is not necessarily an issue to be concerned about. The inability to deal with the emotion and to let go of the pain can become an issue, though. Dealing with disappointment takes a conscious effort. There are some steps you can take to best handle disappointment so that you can let it go and move on.

Emotional Awareness

One of the best ways to be 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 to be honest with others. If you have a friend or confidant that you can discuss these feelings with, 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 very beneficial. An experienced counselor will be able to offer you support and insight into why some feelings are easier to deal with than others. They can teach you healthy coping mechanisms to help you learn to let go of disappointment and move forward.

Embrace Peace

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 will free your mind of the turmoil and will help you to live a life of peace.

Look for 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 a great way to express your feelings while maintaining privacy.

Experience is a Great 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 Some Credit!

Just because you experience disappointment, that 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 yourcharacter strengths. Are you a good friend or a hard worker? Do you like to do good 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 those negative emotions go.

Take Steps Towards Managing Disappointment

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.

How BetterHelp Can Support You

Online counseling through sources, such as BetterHelp, gives individuals the option to receive support and encouragement from licensed, experienced counselors. Our dedicated staff are 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 accessible and affordable. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"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."


While disappointment is something that we all experience from time to time, it does not have to control your life. Learning to address disappointment and the negative effects it can have on your life is a crucial step toward mental health and well-being. Take the first step today.

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