6 Ways To Deal With Disappointment Productively
Unfortunately, disappointment happens. It's part of life, but luckily it can sometimes lead to greater things. Everyone copes with disappointment differently, and while some choose to complain and pout about how their life is ruined, others try to turn it around and move forward with their future. Some people are in between. In any case, dealing with disappointment is never easy. It's impossible sometimes to not put all your hopes and dreams into one situation, and it just plain sucks when the original plan doesn't go through the way you thought it would. But life goes on, anyway.
I've had my fair share of disappointments. You would think they would get easier after each experience, but at least for me — they don't; I've just learned to adjust my perspective. I always see the good in people, and while that might be an admirable quality to have at times, other times it can feel a little naive. And while I don't want to change the way I think about others, it's hard not to be a little bitter sometimes because I've simply been disappointed too often to count. It's always tough, but over time I've gotten a little bit better dealing with the aftermath of disappointment — even if it always feels pretty crappy. Of course, I'm far from perfect; it usually still takes me a few days to stop obsessively thinking about a disappointing situation. But I can at least say that I'm learning to take the next steps to help move me forward, and sometimes that's half the battle. I had the pleasure of talking with Dr. Nicole Martinez, psychologist, and Dr. Kim Chronister, psychologist and media commentator specializing in health psychology, over email about ways people should deal with disappointment and the best ways to move forward. Here are six ways to deal with disappointment and move forward productively.
1. Acknowledge How You Feel
It's totally natural to be sad after being disappointed, and your feelings are valid. According to Psychology Today, Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., a clinical and health psychologist, said, "Mourning is a step toward letting go. Take time to connect with your feelings in a compassionate way." There are so many channels you can use to help you mourn: talk with your friends, write in a journal, or chat with a therapist. Whatever you do, take this time to recollect yourself and acknowledge your emotions so you can heal faster and move on with your life.
2. Don't Take It Personally
Sometimes disappointment can make you doubt yourself and feel like a failure to the point that it's hard to remember that you're not a failure at all. According to PsychCentral, clinical psychologist Dr. Sophie Henshaw said, "So many of us are all too ready to attribute negative life events to our own personal failings. We say that we deserved it, or attracted it to ourselves or were not 'good enough' to have a different outcome. The reality is, life will simply do what it does, whether you are there or not. In this instance, you happened to be present during the event, which actually had nothing to do with you." Sometimes, whether we like it or not, we have no control over the outcome of a situation. Instead of taking it personally, Dr. Henshaw explains that you should try to review your expectations and use this time to self-reflect. Think about why this situation meant so much to you and how you can adjust your expectations for next time.
3. Trust That Something Is Better Out There And Don't Be Afraid Of Change
Just because a situation didn't go the way you wanted doesn't mean that something else bigger and greater is not going to happen. It might be hard, but eventually you do want to try to think positively and contemplate why something didn't happen the way you wanted it to. I try to believe that there's always a reason for everything and that there's a time and place for everything. But when disappointment happens, it can lead to change in someone's life and that can be scary. According to The Huffington Post, Karen Salmansohn, the best-selling author of The Bounce Back Book, said, "A lot of people are afraid of change or anything new and unfamiliar." Salmansohn continued, "But when you're going through a crisis, suddenly the new and unfamiliar doesn't look as scary as the place you're in, so you're more open to change."
4. Reframe Your Thinking
Take that disappointment and turn it around. Essentially, the next thing you want to do is reframe your thinking. According to Dr. Chronister, explains, "Reframing is a powerful evidence-based tool that should be utilized every time a person is faced with opposition and disappointment." Chronister continues, "An example of reframing is shifting from statements like 'They will never choose me because I'm not good enough' to 'It's a numbers game and every 'no' leads me closer to a 'yes.'" Continuing to look at the negative is going to get you nowhere. Just remember that you are capable of great things and you deserve the best. Look for solutions of how you can make the situation better and make those adjustments.
5. Don't Hold Grudges Or Obsess
Sometimes people obsessively think and hold grudges even when there was nothing they could've done in a particular situation. When things don't go your way, you sometimes can put blame on something or someone else, and that's not healthy. Even if it might be the case, you have to try to move forward and start to think about the future instead. Dr. Martinez says,"All this does is make you miserable, and keeps you from moving forward in a healthy way in life. Also, the reality if that the other person is not sitting around worrying and thinking about you, so why are you giving them the time and power over you that you are? Move forward and make space in your life and mind for more positive things." You will only drive yourself mad if you continue to obsessively think about the disappointments. Let go of all those negative emotions and make positive changes instead.
6. Accept It And Move Forward
As much as you want to dwell on the past, you really need to take a deep breath, accept what had happened, and move forward with your life. Remember that there's most likely a reason why this situation had occurred. Something greater might come along later on in life, but now, you just have to have the courage to push yourself forward and try again. Dr. Martinez explains, "Learn to deal with the fact that no matter how hard we work, or how hard we want something, we will not always get it the first time we try. That does not mean we give up, it means we accept that the first way did not work, and we change course."
Having disappointments in your life should not be viewed as a failure. They are there to help you grow and learn how to push through those tough times. Throughout your life, you will be disappointed over and over again, but it's how you pick yourself up afterwards that can determine how you deal with those disappointments. You can overcome anything, and just because things didn't go the way you wanted this time doesn't mean it won't go right the next time.
Images: Giphy (6); Pexels