This 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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