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Doctor Gayle's Corner

Embracing Dissapointment

Most of us have experienced disappointments in some form or another. Some are harder to overcome than others. The disappointment of losing a loved one to death would be a bit more difficult to overcome, than losing a job or a relational breakup. However, for some people losing a job can be as detrimental and devastating, particularly if one’s identity has been totally wrapped up in their career. Whatever the situation, we still have to find what works best in overcoming these disappointments. Definition of disappointment: “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations; unhappiness from the failure of something hoped for or expected to happen.” Synonyms: sadness, regret, dismay, sorrow, dispiritedness, failure, defeat, frustration. When disappointments are not addressed expeditiously it can easily turn into discouragement, regret, dismay, anger, discontentment. How do we embrace and change disappointment quickly?

First look at the cause of it. Was it something we did? Was it within my ability to prevent it? If you’re able to pinpoint your error, consider it is a learning tool to avoid future mistakes. However, if losing your job, or your home, or a loved one, was not in your scope of prevention, you must learn to embrace the emotion of it in order to move forward. Secondly, ask what emotion am I feeling from the disappointment? Am I sad, frustrated, regretful, angry, sorrowful? Do I feel defeated – a failure? What can I do to change my frustration and regret? How do I go from sadness to happiness? Can I recognize my victories over my failures? Were they really failures or simply stepping stones to greater benefits to come?

When putting disappointments into right perspective, we can then embrace them. I read a book years ago written by noted coach and motivational speaker, John Maxwell, titled “Failing Forward -- Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success.” This book shifted my paradigm concerning failure. A lot of what I’d attempted to accomplish over the years felt very much like failure. I’d never considered that those unaccomplished attempts were simply steps preparing me for the greater assignments I would ultimately receive. I learned to focus on the accomplishments.

So how do we learn to embrace our disappointment? First, face them head on, answering the questions listed above and asking one last very significant question: how do I move beyond this, and what are the steps to take to avoid the pitfalls of wallowing in disappointment? Know that disappointment will happen; but:

  1. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in you.

  2. Practice believing in yourself using daily positive declarations & affirmations.

  3. Set measurable goals focusing on what is required to accomplish each goal.

  4. Read books/listen to CD’s by people who are accomplishing their goals.

  5. Maintain a journal of your accomplishments referring to it whenever you face disappointing situations.

  6. Stop looking backwards, but look straight ahead focusing on the next level.

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