We all have moments of disappointment. Maybe we worked really hard on something for a test or on an essay, and we weren’t happy with the result? Perhaps something didn’t work out the way you hoped? And when that wave of disappointment hits, it can be crushing.
Something I’ve learnt over the last few years is that nerves before a task or event or disappointment at not getting the outcome you hoped for isn’t a bad thing – we feel those feelings because we care about what we’re doing, and we also care about the outcome. The more we invest in and care about something, the bigger our disappointment can be when the result isn’t as fantastic as we hope.
Recently, I got a mark back for a university essay, and I won’t lie, I was disappointed about it. I mean, I was really happy about the mark in general because I still did well, but it was an essay topic that I was really passionate about, and I put a lot of effort into the paper because it was something that genuinely interested me, so I was disappointed because I had been hoping to do a bit better.
This experience got me thinking about the different ways that we can deal with disappointment. Sometimes it is an earth-shattering disappointment that makes you want to crawl up into a ball and disappear from the world for a few weeks. Other times it’s just enough disappointment to make you miserable and want to eat lots of sugar. Or it can be somewhere in the middle. No matter what sort of disappointment we may be feeling, the key thing is learning how to deal with it because as appealing as it sounds to transfigure into a blanket burrito, the world keeps turning, so we have to be able to pick ourselves up and keep going.
Now in school, I’m not sure about you, but the phrase ‘cry yourself a river, build a bridge and get over it wasn’t exactly positive. It was a line often distributed by the mean girls or a throwaway line when you didn’t actually care what the person was going through, and it was just a way to stop the crying. What I’m trying to say is it was a mean, sarcastic line most of the time, but now that I’m older, that sort of approach is actually one of the better ways to deal with disappointment, except I’ve put a more positive spin on it.
Step one: Cry yourself a river
Crying is a natural response to sad, upsetting or disappointing news. I will stand by this until the day I collapse (or can no longer cry for whatever reason). In fact, crying can be quite healing – I’m not sure who watches Big Bang Theory, but I definitely agree with Raj that I always feel better after a good cry.
The point I’m trying to make is that expressing your emotions and dealing with your grief (because hey, feeling disappointment about something you cared for can be a form of grief) is the first and most important step to getting over it. So, when you get disappointing news, allow yourself to feel all those emotions. Cry if you need to and use a whole box of tissues. Cuddle in a blanket for a few hours, eat junk food or lots of cookies and ice cream or whatever it is that you do when you’re feeling sad. You can’t build that bridge if you’ve got no river to cross, hey?
Step two: Build a bridge
Okay, so now that you’ve had a good cry or a session of feeling miserable and sorry for yourself, it’s time to start building the bridge. Yes, going through sad emotions is a big part of it, but what comes next? Are you just going to be disappointed forever? Hopefully not!
The next thing to do is think about what you’re going to do moving forward. Say you’re in my shoes and you didn’t get the mark you hoped for – what’s your plan for next time? Well, now that I’ve had my sad moment, I’ve arranged a meeting with my academic advisor to get some advice, I’ve read through my feedback, and now I know what I need to work on for next time. The key with this step is figuring out how you can improve things for the next time and make any future changes. You could adjust your strategy, figure out where you went wrong, or ask someone for help or advice. That way, the next time a situation like this comes along, you’ve hopefully made some positive changes so that you won’t have to feel the disappointment (to that extent anyway) again.
Step three: Get over it
As harsh as this next bit sounds, it is the third and final stage of the healing. Now you can interpret this part in two ways, I think. Firstly, you could take it as implementing your plan from step two. Now that you’ve figured where to improve or how to do it, you can actually start doing all of those things. Orrrr, the other way to think about it is moving on. Yes, you’ve had your cry, and now you’ve got a plan, but you also have to be able to move forward and not let the disappointment hold you down. As my dad has taken to saying, ‘Be like Frozen and ‘let it go’!’ because yes, it’s a great idea to use these experiences as motivation or make positive changes, but we also can’t hold onto them forever. Negative experiences just drag us down, so once we’ve had a chance to process them, we have to be able to … (sing it with me)
“LET IT GOOOOOO!!!”
And there you have it! Disappointment can be a bitter pill to swallow, and it can be really tough to deal with, especially if it’s something you really care about. I really hope, though, that this blog post is helpful for anyone who experiences disappointment or can help give you some perspective (talking to my dad definitely gave me a sharp blast of perspective, which can help with building that bridge). If you have a different way of dealing with disappointment that really works for you, please let me know in the comments section! I’d love to hear about your experiences and maybe learn some different ways to deal with something like disappointment.
But other than that, that’s all I have for you guys today – I will see you all again on Saturday!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx
P.S. If there are any blog post ideas you’d like me to write about, please also let me know in the comments section. I’m always looking for ideas and inspiration!