Dealing with disappointment

How do you let go of something or someone who was a great part of your life? How do you move on from there? How do you walk away in one whole piece than many shattered pieces? Tough questions that require tough answers.What if your whole life was invested into this one project or person, What Then?

Facing disappointment is hard for anyone. Others state its better not to have any expectations, that way you narrow down your chances of experiencing loss and disappointment.We will look at how to deal with disappointment and how to move on and create the life of your choice  by finding  inner strength and courage even in the midst of chaos and confusion.


Lets start with one that most of us will be familiar with? Friendships and Relationships.Someone said this really well, loved how they stated what disappointment is. ‘Its when someone has not kept their appointment’. Michelle McKinney Hammond.

When we meet a new friend, most times you just click, and as time goes on you start to become authentic friends, meaning you like each other flaws and all.  This by default creates certain expectations, unwritten codes of behavior. Other times, the friendship just dies a natural death. Do you let it go or cover up the disappointment. Or would you now become overly cautious with the new people you meet?  Here is a test: whatever comes to you naturally after that is how you have dealt with that disappointment. You can either be over the top overly confident, or retreat and hold tightly to old connections.

Due to work and all sorts I have lived in a few locations where I’ve had to make new friends. And at one point I met a new friend I really liked.  One day I said  to my daughter, I  really like this new friend,  to which she gently replied, have you had your first fight/disagreement yet? Love how wisdom knows no age. Not that I didn’t know this would happen, I wasn’t even expecting it, who plans disappointment into their new friendships? It would be considered a bit off right? However  I was so carried away by the many things we could do together on girls days out or weekends away etc(which  I believe you should), that I never imagined we would ever have any misunderstanding that would stop these plans.  A bit selfish on my part of course as I was in a season of life that  I had the time to do all those things.

Yes you guessed it, the day did come, almost 6 months into this new friendship.And it was not small, it was huge. The kind you walk away from.I had to make a decision after accepting the hurt caused on both sides, that I had invested into this relationship as I needed to, but only time would tell. With time we cleared the misunderstanding and continued to be good friends. Solid friendships are such a valuable part of life that we can be hugely disappointed and start recreating the same old, except superficial ones because we want to reduce pain.

Many times we view others from a clouded lens of past encounters along our journey. We can view someone through another person that we really liked or didn’t like in our past. We have our own established filters, that can work for us or against us. We can miss out on the beautiful gifts and talents of others that we should feel free to allow into our world without fear. Our own fears projected onto others make us see a twisted version of another, not who they are if we really got to know them.

A fail proof method that works is:

1. Acknowledge to yourself and the other person(s) that you were not expecting what just happened, own how you feel, even if you seem the weaker party at the time.  If you have to shout to let it out, feel free without getting violent, as you don’t want to lose face when the situation changes. Someone gave this sound and solid advice:  count to ten, or go for a walk to calm down.

2. Give yourself time to process the disappointment. This will be a time to assess the expectations you placed in the person, situation, group, school, work or business associates. This helps jolt the memory and even see that perhaps the expectation was higher than ought to be.

3. Accept that we let others down and others WILL let us down, planned or not. People change and circumstances change(amplified). The career we wanted for life may turn out to have fewer opportunities than we planned for as we progress in it. Companies file for bankruptcy forcing early  retirement, people decide to change their mind for personal reasons. This can be an unbelievable nightmare the one where the phrase  ‘we apologize for any inconveniences caused’ may not work to the slightest degree, one short or slow lived out nightmare.  No wonder why Jesus told  Judas if you are going to betray me, do it fast!!! Anyone can change anytime, their desires can change, their appetite can change, yes in spite of the commitment they made. Which is worse someone who stays with you out of  ‘commitment’ or one who actually leaves?  Latter preferred because that person is occupying the wrong space in your life, and if they leave they make room for the best person to occupy it.

4. Allow  the process of soul-searching. Suddenly you are forced to reassess, who am I without that Job, that friend, that man or woman, that associate, that colleague. What is my identity, why am I feeling so lost.

5. Allow yourself to really feel the pain of the disappointment, if you  have to cry, just do it, if you have to shut your doors, phone off the hook for at least 3 days. Go do it. Let it die let it go, it is after all time to bury it and let go.  You will feel all sorts of emotions, it is okay. It is good to feel sad to know what real happiness feels like.  Many make the mistake at this time to jump into another relationship or friendship to replace the lost one, even career wise.  It is all really an attempt to have  a quick fix, like a drug to numb the pain. But you can never numb pain. It will rearrange your emotions and show up at the least expected if not embarrassing moments, right into the future.

Case in point:  King David in the bible had sinned with Bathsheba, then got her husband killed too. Shocking yes. Worse she got pregnant, there was no way of hiding THAT one, and anyone who hated him must have been laughing out loud. But imagine David’s guilt, especially that God had blessed him so much more than he could have imagined as a young Shepard.

After being corrected by the prophet, the love child gets sick and is dying. Go to this event in your mind like a movie;King David gets on the floor and cries and prays before God to heal the child, let it live. I can only imagine what he was feeling.

On the 7th day, (number of completion), the child dies………………. He had never faced this situation in his life before. But one thing he knew was he had repented before God and he trusted in God’s mercy. King David got up and had some food and went on to have King Solomon, Something about the second time around, when you turn from past disappointments.

Your disappointments and mistakes do not define you.


It could be a small thing such as joining a new health club to allow yourself to have new experiences, going away on a weekend with good friends that will not place expectations on you. It could mean moving town to start a new life, new friends, new career, new car whatever it is, if you have allowed yourself to grieve, do something fun, something new something daring, challenge yourself, push yourself to do more bigger better, in small steps as you are able.

It could mean going on a road trip, writing a new book or starting a blog, you will be amazed at how there are things you will never see or experience until something dies in your life so to speak.  Most times those things, encounters and friendships that die were limiting you from being the person you can become.Our experiences do not change the core of who we are, our self-worth and value.  You still have those same qualities, gifts  and talents before and after that experience.

Romans puts it well. What shall separate us from the Love of God, shall trouble or hardship, things to come or anything in this life? No in all these things everything is being worked out for something greater in God’s perfect plan for each of us. Paraphrased from Romans 8, Check it out. This post ends on this remarkable quote by Mr Mandela.

As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew that if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison Nelson Mandela.



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