Dealing With Disappointment

Disappointment-QuotesThis has been a week filled with all sorts of disappointments for me, which has me thinking about how people handle different forms of disappointment.  There are, of course, lots of different reasons that we can be disappointed, whether it be in ourselves, in others, in the situations we are in, and so on.  Some things we can control or change, and others we cannot.  What we can definitely control though is how we view and react to the disappointments.

Most of my disappointments this week had to do with other peoples’ decisions or mistakes that are out of my control, but they affect me.  However, sometimes I have been disappointed in myself for not handling a situation better, for not being as efficient with my time as I could have been, or for making a mistake that I could have avoided that now has repercussions.  I could dwell on all of these things and be mad at myself or whomever else, but I try to focus more on how to resolve the situation and/or help prevent the same mistake from being made again.  Sometimes it’s difficult to not be upset, focus on who is to blame, or hold onto those angry feelings for a while, but it is not healthy or productive to do any of those things.  It’s really hard to get past that frustration at times though, especially when it’s a repeated behavior or decision that is the source of disappointment.

I try to remind myself to find the positives and focus on those, especially if there was some way that I learned something about myself or someone else as a result of the disappointment.  Depending on the situation, I may self-reflect and ask myself if there’s anything I could do differently.  Disappointments are one of those things that help us build character and grow as individuals, and it certainly never hurts to remind ourselves of that.  Something else to remind ourselves is that in some instances, perhaps the situation causing the disappointment happened for a reason because better things are to come if we can just be patient and not lose hope.

Disappointments can sometimes be due to certain expectations we have that aren’t being met.  There are plenty of people who live by the philosophy that if you don’t have expectations and just accept everything and everyone as they are, then you won’t ever be disappointed.  I agree with that to a certain extent, but I think it’s appropriate to have some expectations as to how we would like to be treated and how we would like to raise our children to deal with situations and treat others.  If we don’t have those expectations and express them to others, then they may never learn these things or feel it necessary to change any behavior that may be inappropriate or hurtful.

Likewise, I think it’s important for kids to experience disappointment and learn to how deal with it gracefully as they are growing up so that it is not as difficult for them when they are older and so they don’t behave like some adults I know who can’t handle any kind of disappointment.  If we rescue our children from every situation that doesn’t work out in their favor, then they never learn how to think things through and deal with the frustration in a healthy way.  When opportunities present themselves, we need to allow our children to figure out how to resolve their own situations, deal with the repercussions, and find a resolution all while dealing with the emotions that go along with all of that.  We can be there to guide and encourage them, but we shouldn’t always do it for them.

What I am trying to accomplish myself and teach my children by example is that in most cases, disappointments should be thought of as bumps in the road and not road blocks.  We can get past them eventually and hopefully find a way to do so as smoothly as possible.

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Proactive vs. Reactive Approach to Life

There are plenty of things in life that we can all approach either proactively or reactively.  House projects immediately come to mind.  In my house, nothing gets replaced or fixed until it is actually broken.  I definitely would appreciate if more things were dealt with on a proactive basis.  Our health is another example.  The more we take care of ourselves by eating healthy, drinking fluids, exercising (or at least making an effort to not sit still in front of a screen for too long), going to regular doctor’s visits, and anything else we can do to help keep our bodies and minds healthy, the less we need to be reactive and take medications or visit the doctor or hospital to treat the resulting symptoms.  We can make and effort to keep in touch with people rather than complain or be upset when others don’t reach out to us.

How we interact with people on a regular basis can be thought of as proactive or reactive as well.  We can assume when people are speaking to us that there are hidden messages or ill intent in what they are saying and react in a negative way, or we can listen without the negative filter and give them the benefit of the doubt.  We can treat people with respect and kindness, regardless of how we are being treated (in other words, treat people the way we want to be treated), or we can “do unto others as they have done to us.”  We can go out of our way to be helpful and generous or do anything to put a smile on someone’s face, or we can only do something nice when we know there will be something in it for us.  We can complain about all of our problems and play the victim, or we can find ways to be part of the solution.  We can blame everyone else for our poor choices, or we can be accountable for our own words and actions and own up to our mistakes.  We can anticipate that things are not going to work out the way we want them to, or we can have hope and expectations that are more positive. We can communicate our thoughts and feelings completely and effectively, or we can be upset when someone can’t read our mind.  We can set a good example for our kids of how to be respectful, honest, and all the other traits that go along with having good character, or we can not be conscious of the example we are setting and then come down hard on our kids when they are behaving just like we are. The list goes on.

The bottom line is that all of these things are conscious choices we can make.  It’s hard to not be reactive at least some of the time, especially when negative emotions get involved.  But in my opinion, it is definitely worth the effort to take a proactive approach to life and our relationships as much as we can.  I hope you agree.

Comments are always welcome!  Clicking on the “Home” page tab will allow you to scroll through other posts, or you can select a category or tag word to find similar topics.  If you would like to read future posts, please follow the blog or my Facebook page.

Accountability

accountablility

This seems to be an issue for a lot of people … not only being accountable for your words, actions, and the decisions you make, but being accountable particularly when you make a poor choice or mistake.  By far, the one previous post of mine that gets the most views is one of the first ones I wrote called “Owning Your Mistakes,” which gets viewed just about every week.  It makes me wonder if people are researching the topic because they are looking to improve their own accountability or are tired of dealing with people around them who aren’t accountable, or maybe both.

It is so easy to blame anything and everything that goes wrong on anyone but yourself, but it is a sign of maturity when you can accept responsibility for your words and actions.  On the flip side, it can be easy to take credit when something good happens, but being humble and not needing to be the center of attention is a sign of maturity as well.  We need to be responsible for ourselves in all situations and understand that while sometimes we are reacting to the circumstances and people around us, we need to be accountable for whatever we do or say, good or bad. Continue reading

Stupid Autocorrect!      

As I am working on these blog entries, I have been watching some of my typos get automatically corrected as I type.  Others I have to go back and fix myself. It got me thinking about how many things are automatically corrected for us these days and what affect that has had on our communication skills. I don’t have a SMART phone, but I know most people do.  Reading hilarious series of texts due to autocorrect always makes for a good laugh.  These things do help us to be more efficient overall, but unfortunately, there is no autocorrect when we speak.  Because we don’t have to think as hard when we write, our verbal communication skills have gone down the tubes for many people.  Believe me, I wish there could be an autocorrect when people are speaking to me. One that corrects people’s tone of voice would be the ultimate! Continue reading

Manipulation

I’m a pretty straight-forward person who doesn’t like to play games or feel like someone is playing games with me.  I also grew up with a step-mother who was a champion manipulator, which significantly affected my brothers’ and my relationship with our dad, other family members, and each other.  Therefore, I have no patience for people who like to manipulate.  So perhaps you can imagine how upset I get when I find out that not only does my husband think it’s necessary to find ways to manipulate myself and others, but he is also teaching our kids this by example and by involving them in the process.  I would say it’s one of the top three things that infuriate me because it’s so fundamentally wrong, yet it still happens on a regular basis.

The thing that bothers me the most is that he is reinforcing to the kids the notion that it is more important to get what you want at any cost, regardless of how many lies you have to tell or how deceitful you need to be.  It undermines many of the things I am trying to teach them about what it means to be a good person with integrity and good character. Continue reading

Resilience

resilience 1

Lately I’ve been feeling very resilient, like I’m bouncing back from everything that has ever gone wrong in my life … finally!  I spent many years of feeling like I was in a downward spiral, dealing with a variety of situations and some people dragging me down.  A few years ago, I started feeling like I was making my way back up, slowly but surely.

It all began when I took advantage of a particular volunteer opportunity, which enabled me to feel like I was making an important difference and also surround myself with more people who were giving me positive feedback and positive interactions. Feeling like my contributions were valued and appreciated made a big difference, since I wasn’t getting that at home.  My confidence grew, and my attitude about a lot of things started to change as a result.  I began focusing on any positives for which I could be grateful, finding happiness from within, and doing things for me that made me feel happy and emotionally full.  There were plenty of days that was pretty challenging, but I was always able to find something positive that I could reflect on at the end of the day.  Little by little, I began to feel like things were turning around for me.

Now, things seem to have kicked into high gear and are changing rapidly for the better, partly due to circumstances that have changed and partly due to my improved outlook.  Everything seems to be falling into place.  It took a whole lot of patience and perseverance, but it was worth it to feel like I do now.  I am definitely a stronger person than I was a few years ago and feel like I could bounce back from anything at this point because I am much more willing and able to adjust to changes that are out of my control, make changes myself, and take risks.  My confidence level has something to do with that, too.  I know I need to make life happen the way I want it to, rather than wait for it to happen.

If “a diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well”, then no wonder I feel like I am sparkling sometimes lately.  I certainly have had my fair share of stress!  I haven’t always dealt with it very well, but I am working on that.

I certainly hope anyone reading this either has felt or will feel the same sense of resilience I am feeling right now.  It feels great, especially after having had to wait for so long to experience it.  It started with something small and eventually snowballed. So if you haven’t, find something, anything, that will make you feel a little better about yourself or your environment, even if it involves a little effort to make it happen, and see where it takes you.   And have faith that someday you will look back and be grateful that you fell, so to speak, because you will feel stronger than ever when you get back up.

Comments are always welcome!  Clicking on the “Home” page tab will allow you to scroll through other posts, or you can select a category or tag word to find similar topics.  If you would like to read future posts, please follow the blog or my Facebook page.

Taking Risks

taking risks

This is so true, but it’s something we sometimes need to remind ourselves and each other.  Nothing in life is ever perfect, so if we are always waiting for the exact right time to do or say something, it may never come.  And if we are always waiting until we are certain of a particular outcome or how someone else is thinking or feeling, we may lose out as well.  There are countless other things like job opportunities and fun adventures that could pass us right by while we are waiting until a better time.  Life is a whole lot shorter than we think it is though, so the time is now.

I am speaking to myself as much as anyone reading this.  It is difficult sometimes to think beyond what we need to accomplish in a day, get out of our comfort zone, and have the confidence to try something new or maybe something we haven’t done in a long time or take a chance on something or someone. But if we don’t, we may regret not doing so down the road.  Sometimes it’s fear of change, fear of failure, or fear of the unknown that gets in our way.  Other times it may be lack of confidence or experience or any number of other things.  Whatever it is, we need to find the inspiration or motivation to get past those negative thoughts and push ourselves in the direction we would like to see ourselves.  We can’t just let life happen.  We need to make it happen.

It could be just a matter of a change in perspective that will help.  Instead of focusing on what we can’t or won’t be able to do, reminding ourselves of what we are capable of doing and surrounding ourselves with people who will back us up on those thoughts can be helpful.  Sometimes we just need to dig deep and muster up the courage to either take a few baby steps or a giant leap forward and not look back.

Comments are always welcome!  Clicking on the “Home” page tab will allow you to scroll through other posts, or you can select a category or tag word to find similar topics.  If you would like to read future posts, please follow the blog or my Facebook page.