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Dealing with Disappointment

dealing with disappointment

How often do you feel disappointed or let down by other people?  Are you underachieving on your personal and professional goals and targets?  Do you find it easy to bounce back from disappointment or do you stay stuck?

After working with thousands of clients who have struggled with dealing with disappointment, I thought some of our readers may also benefit from the tips below to more effectively deal with disappointment.

Disappointment is an emotion that we feel when our hopes or expectations are unfulfilled, or when we feel let down by other people or situations.  If you find yourself feeling disappointed, check your expectations! 

Setting Yourself Up 

Be careful of your expectations of yourself. Are your expectations of yourself realistic, unrealistic or overly perfectionistic?  Think about the following to gauge whether you are setting yourself up for success and delight with realistic expectations; or for failure and disappointment with unrealistic or overly perfectionistic expectations:

  • Have you previously been able to achieve the success/goal you desire?
  • Do you know of someone else who has achieved the success/goal you desire?
  • Can you imagine yourself achieving the success/goal you desire?
  • Do you have the skills and competence to achieve the success/goal you desire?
  • Do you have access to resources or help from others so that you can achieve the success/goal you desire?
  • Do you have the confidence to take the action to achieve the success/goal you desire?
  • Do you believe that you can achieve the success/goal you desire?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions and you are doing nothing about these, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.  On the other hand, if you are taking action towards addressing these or you answered “yes” to some of these questions and you are taking action towards them, you are being realistic and working towards success.

Setting Other People Up

In addition to setting yourself up you may also be setting other people up to disappoint you – think about how you may be doing this:

  •   Do you lack trust in people?
  •   Do you expect more from other people than yourself?
  •   Do you have expectations of others which are unrealistic of them and their abilities?
  •   Do you assume other people know what you want or do you expect them to read your mind?
  •   Do you judge other people?
  •   Do you focus too much on controlling what other people do or say?
  •   Do you find it difficult to communicate your needs and wants effectively?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it is important that you identify and address any deeper core issues around these.  Once you fully address these, you will set yourself up for success and delight.

Let Go of Past Disappointments 

It is OK to feel disappointed if something does not go according to plan.  Disappointment is an emotion which is appropriate for us to feel in those situations.  The real question is do you overreact in those situations or are you still dwelling on them?  If you dwell on past disappointment, fear more disappointment to come and leave these unaddressed, you may be setting yourself up for more disappointment to come.  This may subconsciously affect your behaviour and create more disappointments now and in the future.  Therefore, it is critical that you stop this pattern, and begin dealing with disappointment.

Equally important is that you learn from past disappointment so you avoid repeating the same behaviours and interactions with people and situations.  By learning from past disappointment and letting it go, you will more easily bounce back from any challenge that may arise, rather than wallow in it.

How to Transform Disappointment into Delight! 

Here are five steps to help you to transform disappointment into delight:

1.    Let go of past disappointment so you avoid creating the same self-fulfilling prophesy through your behaviour
2.    Have and set realistic personal and professional goals and targets so you achieve them – the first set of questions above will help you with a reality check
3.    Let go of expectations of other people by focusing on yourself and your own behaviour – the second set of questions above will assist you
4.    Take action towards your goals and enjoy the delight in achieving them!
5.    Help yourself to some free NLP resources with more tips on dealing with disappointment and achieving the success you desire.  You are welcome to also contact me with any questions.

I look forward to continuing to empower you!

Dr Vesna

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