my brain understands that disappointment by definition is dissatisfaction resulting from unrealized expectations. my heart knows disappointment as pain that attempts to drag me to a black hole called hopelessness. it is a grain of sand in my shoe. annoying, painful, and distracting.
yesterday, life was happening. housework was getting done. my husband was bouncing his creative ideas off me like I was a wall he threw a bouncy ball against over and over and over again. lol. luckily, I’ve learned to cope with endless hours of creative business solutions coming at me. we were ticking off the “to do list” and feeling pretty good about it. then, the phone rang. i didn’t even have to hear the conversation, the change in my husband’s countenance told me volumes. disappointment. news of an unrealized expectation. i gasped for a breath as if i couldn’t breath. my heart thumped as if it fell several feet. then, there it was…the fear that maybe things might be too hopeless. an end might be near.
i’ve had a day or two like this in my 52 year journey.
a failed recipe, shrunken favourite sweater, speeding tickets, broken appointments, weather interrupted plans…disappointing but manageable.
a wrecked fender, an employment rejection letter, moving from my dream home…disappointing, more effort required to manage.
a devastating work place fire, divorce, a corporate take over or death of my fiancé after a drunken driver hit our car…disappointing and very painful.
when disappointments collide with my life, looking on the bright side or seeing the silver lining can feel next to impossible. disappointments, big or small, attract fear and negativity like a magnet. focusing on the positive can feel like the hardest thing in the world especially the big ones that are life changing. however, I have found that it is possible to focus on the good things in my life when i face loss.
here are some ways, i’ve found to make handling disappointment more manageable:
feel it…process the pain…but cancel the pity party. while feeling the let down or the pain of loss is not at the top of our bucket list, it is alright to let yourself feel unhappy. big and small disappointments bring a level of impact. experience the sadness that has come to your heart but don’t set up a perpetuating pity party that traps you on a path to lost hope. Don’t dwell there. experience the motion, take the time you need, then move forward. allowing the disappointment the power to hold you down is not beneficial. don’t let it hold you back for too long.
refocus…fix the blur…see the big picture of your life. no matter how impossible it might feel, it’s important to refocus through all the blur and see the disappointment in it’s proper perspective. easy to do if it’s a sweater that shrunk in the dryer or a speeding ticket. much harder to do when a tragic accident stills a loved ones life. don’t be afraid to reach out for help, a whispered prayer and help from loved ones or counsellors can assist getting your focus back. i have also found it empowering to remember the disappointments i’ve come through (my milestones)and all the things that are just as they should be…producing happiness.
- “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can…” disappointment’s sting attempts to drag you into a black hole of helplessness. once perspective is refocused it’s easier to see potential for positive changes to prevent or lessen the disappointment. make the change if it’s available to you...and the wisdom to know the difference… if not, grab God-given serenity to accept what you can’t. keep moving forward.
- can’t change some “thing”…but I can change me. by this time, strength is returning. hope for going on despite the disappointment is returning. changing how you look at the disappoint will give you more control over the situation. as perspective begins to refocus, you can begin to look at the disappointment in a positive way; “how can i use this in a good way to make my journey better?”
- have faith…in yourself and the power of hope. faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. disappointment makes it easy to believe that situations are hopeless. despite the impact of this newest disappointment, you have the ability to believe for good things in your life. Believe in yourself. Hold to faith and hope.
today, after my disappointment from yesterday…i grabbed my camera and headed for a walk on the back beach. as I sat on a big rock reflecting. i began to take the steps above to process my emotion. when i was finished, i snapped this photo. i could see hardness. i could see ugliness (the rusty pipes). i could see the crashing waves that reminded me of the waves of disappointment. i could see the clouds. but i could also see the vastness ahead. the infinite possibilities yet to be discovered. the blue amongst the cloud. the beauty i could not deny. i whispered a prayer (maybe i begged) for help. i could see that maybe my blog might be insightful today. that the positive side of my situation might be that one of my readers be inspired to move a little further forward on their journey. i got up with renewed hope…renewed strength for my heart.
when i growing up, my dad was a minister. sunday mornings held traditions like Poptarts for breakfast, doning our best attire and heading off for sunday school. first of all, let me just say for a child attending school, more school was not my favourite weekend activity. disappointment would meet my heart at the very thought that my two day break from school was interrupted. to make matters worse, the school seemed to have a clear focus on history-Bible history. history was the one class in school i abhorred-even though as a kid i didn’t know what abhorred meant. although, Pop Tarts for breakfast helped-child logic (can you see the reason i did what I did? the reason behind my disappointment of having to go? there always seems to be an answer to- why do I do the things I do? Anyway, back to the subject at hand) if i was expected to endure school and a history lesson, i longed to find relevance. i was the child with the hard question. basically the bottom line question was, “nice story so what do i do with it?” i frustrated many a teacher.
years down the road of my journey, i found my answer. i have come to look at it as a life manual. it’s like getting a new kitchen appliance. there’s a manual (remember, i’m a beaver personality…i read them!) that manual tells me what parts are supposed to be in the box, how to put them together, the potential the machine has, cautions for miss use, potential dangers and suggestions, like recipes, to create something wonderful with it. i have found the Bible to be the same. (i’m not going to argue right or wrong with you if you disagree….remember, this is my blog about my approach to my journey…and it’s been very helpful for me). i’ve created some beautiful things by following the instructions i found there. i’ve also ignored the potential dangers & cautions about miss use…and found the manual was pretty spot on about results. I’ve also prayed quiet prayers that no one else in the world knew i’d prayed…and received answers.
i say all that to say that, i am not alone when it comes to disappointment. the Bible is full of people with disappointed hearts. they made it through and their journey has shown me that i can always reach for hope and faith and wisdom.
i can remove the grain of sand from my shoe and start to climbing my mountain…
i know you can, too!
thanks for spending time listening to my heart today.