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January 12, 2021

Managing Disappointment

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We’re going to talk about the ‘D’ word today, "Disappointment". You can feel a lot of ways toward someone - Angry, upset, frustrated, distant, but for some reason this word disappointment is one that cuts so much deeper.

I think it’s because it’s representative of how someone feels on another level. Being angry and upset is more of a superficial, sporadic emotion, and disappointment is more visceral and enduring. When you disappoint someone, it means you let someone down. It means you didn’t meet expectations in a really important way, and it jeopardizes the trust you’ve developed with someone else. It’s the fact that the relationship has been damaged in a way that is more difficult to recover from, and exists at the level of your character.

We’ve all disappointed someone in that past. Maybe we didn’t do what we said we were going to do, maybe we went back on a commitment we made, or maybe we didn’t speak our truth in the first place. In any of these cases, it’s important to address that disappointment so that you can grow beyond it.

A fundamental piece to managing and overcoming disappointment is acknowledgment. You need to admit the error, get on the same page with yourself and others about what happened, and begin to explain why it happened so that other people can understand. People want to give benefit of the doubt, they don’t want to feel disappointed, and vulnerability is a key element to helping others allow themselves to believe in you again. 

Either way it hurts, the pain of vulnerability and the pain of disappointment, but one is much more constructive and you get to choose which one you lead with.

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