This is the fifth week of our Quest for Confidence series. Last week, I talked about learning to accept abandonment. This week, I’m going to talk about disappointment and what you need to understand about it in order to help you move forward in life and, especially, in your writing.
Everyone Experiences Disappointment
No one is immune to disappointment. Everyone tastes its bitter brew from time to time. The feeling is real and it hurts. Once you understand what causes disappointment, though, you can begin to root out its causes and use it as a tool to help you.
Disappointment Is the Child of False Expectation
If you are feeling disappointed, it is because you had false expectations. Maybe you were given those expectations by someone else, or maybe you simply didn’t understand how things worked and so you set false expectations for yourself or for others. Now, you’re experiencing disappointment.
Why Disappointment Triggers Anger
When you feel disappointment, anger isn’t far behind. Why? Because your brain tells you there was an injustice committed. People, life, or circumstances didn’t behave the way you expected them to and that cheated you of the benefits you expected to receive. And that’s anger’s purpose. To alert you to injustice so you can find the source and resolve the issue.
What Disappointment Tells You
Disappointment tells you one thing: You need to re-examine your expectations and revise them. Your expectations are getting in the way of achieving things because they do not match reality. When your expectations don’t align with reality, that’s when you become disappointed, and disappointment leads to anger and to bitterness and that makes it difficult to make progress in your life because it’s hard to gain the cooperation of others when you’re angry and bitter all the time.
Rewriting the Story of Disappointment
Go back into the event that caused your disappointment and rewrite it. Look at what you expected of yourself, at what you expected of others, and remove those expectations. Examine the behavior for what it was, exactly as it was, and look for what you can learn from it. Chances are quite good that your expectations caused you to overlook something beautiful that was happening in that moment. This is your time to recapture that beauty and appreciate it for what it was without the weight of those expectations crushing it underfoot.
Life is unpredictable. People even more so. Unless that is part of your expectation, reset your expectations. Allow people to zig when you think they ought to zag. Allow life to unfold in its own time and at its own pace. Free yourself from expectations of perfection or the requirement that you meet some standard that has been set for you by people from your past. Instead, free yourself to explore and to meander in your own way at your own time. Treat every encounter as something new and exciting without bringing the burden of your expectations into it.
Developing Gratitude for Disappointment
Disappointment isn’t trying to harm you. It exists to free you from the weight of false expectations. It’s there to let you know that your expectations are out of alignment with reality. It’s trying to get you back in line with reality and open you up to new things. Once you realize how liberating it can be to walk around free of expectations, you’ll find yourself free to explore the possibilities in your life – and your writing. And you’ll be grateful for the presence of disappointment in your life.
Join 40 Day Writers Facebook Group
If you are ready to let go of your expectations of yourself and others and put your work out there so you can start developing the confidence you need to succeed, I encourage you to join the totally free 40 Day Writers Facebook Group. It’s a friendly, confidential place to get the feedback and support you need to start developing your confidence just by showing up, sharing what you have, and engaging with the other writers in the forum. I hope to see you there.