Feeling disappointed is uncomfortable and is an emotion we would like to avoid. How do we typically manage that?
- We lower our expectations, or we have no expectation at all. That way we can manage the emotion of disappointment by not giving it a place to land. Works in the moment perhaps, but by denying expectation, several things happen. One, we kill the power found in hope and we lose motivation. Second, the people around us slip into complacency as there is no expectation of them.
- We deny or do not process the disappointment. Again, several things can happen. We become angry at ourselves for having a hope of expectation and internalize a self-destructive emotion or message. Secondly, that unprocessed feeling of disappointment ultimately feeds into disheartenment and the snowball of depression grows bigger.
Sometimes we need to hold out an expectation and stand strong. An example: Expecting to be treated with respect is absolutely an appropriate need. Standing strong in that expectation will produce an atmosphere around you that moves people to respond. If their behavior does not leave you feeling respected, you will be disappointed, however, your self-respect remains intact.
And so very important and core to this issue: When disappointed, own it, name it, feel it, work your way through it! Denying the uncomforable emotion only makes things worse. Owning the disappointment says, "My hopes, needs, etc., have value." Learn from the emotion and make an adjustment in either your thinking or behavior as necessary.