What Is Your Relationship With Disappointment?

Disappointment is a “feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.” (according to Google)

All of us at one point in life have felt disappointment; most likely not once, but multiple times. This feeling arises when our loved ones don’t behave in a way we expected them to. Sometimes we feel disappointed with ourselves, wishing we were farther along on our path. We also feel disappointment when an illusion we’ve been living with is stripped away and we are pushed to face reality.

Later in life, as I “matured”, I realized that my prior disappointments have been stopping me from trusting Life. I lived with an expectation that another disappointment is lurking around me like a shark. I told myself that I’d rather not get my hopes up because falling down might be painful. Although this approach was a great protection strategy; life started to feel small, lacking in vitality and vibrancy.

With time, I gave myself permission to feel excited when on a second date I sensed possibility for a great relationship or when I talked to someone who expressed interest in my work.  Sometimes Life unfolded in a way I expected and sometimes she didn’t. To me, this felt better than controlling Life, numbing myself or never allowing myself to feel excited and hopeful for fear of disappointment.

Toko-pa, author of “Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home” even suggests a practice of writing out a scenario describing in details the fulfillment of your desire or manifestation of your creation in life (be it a book, a relationship, a project that is near and dear to your heart, etc.). She encourages us to welcome feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment into our bodies, into our psyches, thus, interrupting familiar patterns.

Now, turning it over to you. What is your relationship with disappointment? Do you contract, give up, etc? Do you allow yourself to feel disappointed, sad, etc.? Can you choose not to contract in the face of disappointment? Can you choose to make a wholesome meaning of your disappointments?

I’d like to offer this quote to you for contemplation. It’s an excerpt from a book written by David Whyte who sees disappointment this way:

“The great question in disappointment is whether we allow it to bring us to ground, to a firmer sense of our self, a surer sense of our world, and what is good and possible for us in that world, or whether we experience it only as a wound that makes us retreat from further participation.” 

With love and appreciation.

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