Unless you are a bona fide Zen Master, everyone experiences disappointment and regret along the happy trail. We know this innately, and because our culture is peppered with expressions like “don’t cry over split milk”, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, and the tried and true, “this too will pass.”
Did you know that how you choose to deal with a personal disappointment can nourish or drain your precious Life Force energy, and ultimately impact the quality of your life? Here are five scenarios that I’ve noticed in my Life Coaching practice that might help you (or someone you know).
Scenario 1: Play It Again, Sam
About 35% of people try to gain clarity about a disappointing situation by getting lost in an endless cycle of what if (what if I did this, what if I said that). It is like walking into a wall over and over again!
If you are in this category, the good news is that this life-draining, repetitive energy can be shifted. I’ve found that the most effective self-speak is as follows: “I did the best that I could with the information at hand, so when there is more information, I’ll plug it in. Until then, I’ll relax and let it go.”
Scenario 2: Busy as a Bee
About 15% of people try to outrun disappointment by distracting themselves with a frenzy of shopping, eating, and other social activities – in fact, anything goes as long as it resonates with “busy, busy, busy”.
If you are in this category, the good news is that this life-draining, distracting energy can often be shifted by reconnecting with Nature, breathing deeply, calming and centering yourself, plus cultivating patience and perspective.
Scenario 3: I Am an IslandThen, there are about 15% of people who decide that they “never, ever want to be disappointed again” and create a protective barrier around themselves. This approach is akin to “numbing out”. I say this because although the illusion of the protective barrier may keep out disappointment, it also keeps out all the good and magical things in life too, setting the stage for disconnection, cynicism and bitterness.
If you are in this category, the good news is that this life-draining, protective energy can be shifted by tapping into personal courage, sprinkled with a sense of maturity and responsibility. In essence, the antidote is choosing to be true to yourself, which means taking down the walls, centering your core, standing tall and allowing the natural ebb and flow of life to move through you as you navigate the situation.
Scenario 4: Who Me?I’ve found that about 20% of people try to deflect the blame of a disappointment to others; in these cases, anyone will do because the focus is not discernment, honesty and resolution, but on creating lots of smoke and mirrors around the event.
If you are in this category, the good news is that this life-draining, deflective energy can be shifted by becoming aware of the automatic response to create a distraction and asking down-to-earth, character-building questions such as: “How does blaming others for my disappointment serve me?”
Scenario 5: Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Interestingly enough, I’ve observed that about 20% of people in a disappointing situation simply acknowledge that they don’t have all the answers right now, and trust that they will come in. Being in-sync with this requires a steady heart, trust in yourself and in the Universe. I share this with you because although I hear many people talking about trusting self and the Universe, I have noticed that this is not always the case when an unsettling event manifests in their lives. (As you may have guessed, unless a person is living their talk, they often shift into Scenario 1, 2, 3 or 4).
Many people try to be stoic, hide, or deny their feelings of disappointment. Perhaps they view this as being strong. As a point for consideration, I have found that suppressing disappointment hurts the person on many levels. There is a wise adage that says “If you don’t cry; your body cries”; meaning that your suppressed feelings of disappointment will always show up somewhere else, often in the form of a stress or illness in your body.
From what I’ve observed, the best path forward is to honestly admit to yourself that you are disappointed by a turn of events and letting the feelings that go along with this disappointment express themselves. Sometimes this means being sad, or pausing to reflect, or crying or simply being silent. The good thing about this emotional cleansing is that once the feelings of disappointment have been expressed in a healthy way, the reckoning is over. It is almost as if there is a quota of half-a-cup of tears available for each disappointment, and once those tears are spent, the energy clears.
On the upside, with a little inspiration, time and attention, most people can successfully break a life-draining pattern of dealing with disappointment and replace it with a healthy, vibrant, life-supporting one. The net-net being a positive, empowering impact on the quality of your life. So, why not give it a whirl, you are 100% worth it!