How do you deal with disappointment—especially when you feel like you have done everything correctly?
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine the other day; he is a man of deep faith in a higher power he chooses to call God.
He was saying to me that his greatest challenges in life all derive from expectations and disappointments, especially when he has done everything the recipe suggested, yet for whatever reason, the situation doesn’t turn out the way he hoped for.
The easiest and most obvious answer is to not have expectations. However, to me, that’s like saying, “don’t have an appetite, and you won’t overeat”. We are human and we have expectations— it’s unavoidable.
The other suggestion is faith—faith that things will work out just as they’re supposed to. However, faith is believing it’s best even when it doesn’t work out. Faith is still trusting that there is ultimately an answer even if we don’t see it or we don’t like it.
I’m going to suggest an exercise that has been incredibly helpful for me. The first thing I do is write down all the positives I have in my life. I then make a list of all my positive accomplishments I am proud of. Finally, I ask one last question which is, “in the end, will it really make a difference”? If I am honest with myself, this informs me how important it is in the grand scheme of things.
I have found that what is really happening for me is I’m confusing my self-worth with my net worth. When I look at that paper and see my accomplishments—the people I have had the opportunity to help, my beautiful children, etc.—my disappointments begin to dissipate.
Truthfully, my disappointments never completely go away. I want what I want and what I believe will help me achieve the goals I have set for myself. Yet, when I pay attention, I usually see that I have and am continuing to accomplish all of my goals.
This week, take it easy on yourself. We can be so hard on ourselves, and after a certain point, it just doesn’t serve us anymore. Instead of seeing where you have failed and where you have been disappointed, look at all of the areas where you have succeeded and what a tremendous impact you have made.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love
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