Sometimes life sucks. It really does. The plans you made don’t work out, the people you met let you down, or the direction you thought you were heading suddenly gets given a great big stop sign.
It’s okay though. Really it is.
I say this because I’ve had to deal with a couple of disappointment’s myself just lately but this time having taking on board some advice I’d collected over the years I managed to pick myself up and move on a lot quicker.
I hope it helps you too.
Suggestions on dealing with disappointment
Life is as much about dealing with problems and scaling high fences as it is about laughing and having good times.
I have to say I’m not good with rejection, I more often than not take it very personally and find myself looking so far inwards it’s difficult to get the wider picture but somewhere along the path, and as I’ve got older, I’ve realised that taking the disappointment I didn’t want and turning it into something else, something positive is actually rather the better way to go. It’s not easy but it makes life much more interesting.
Put yourself up for rejection. You know the saying, if you don’t try you’ll never know? Not everything will work out (as facts go that’s probably going to be a good one), but the more you put yourself out there and try different things two things will start to happen. You’ll realise that rejection is nothing more than a way of telling you to move on, or try it a different way, rather than a personal subjection. Secondly you’ll reach the good places that much quicker rather than tentatively skipping around the edges waiting for something to fall in your lap (because it never does).
There is another saying that says you’re in exactly the right place you’re supposed to be at this time, right now. Everything you have ever done has lead you to this exact spot. Not your parents, not school, not your job, not your friends. You.
You took every decision that lead you here. Whether it’s a good place, bad place, difficult place you find yourself in, only you can take responsibility for it. No one else. Which is actually rather good because it means you’re not waiting on anyone else to start moving to that better place, or staying right where you are if you are enjoying yourself.
Don’t go it alone without a team behind you. This is a lesson I’ve only learnt in the last few years. I was such a strong believer that everything had to be done by me alone. That if I didn’t tell anyone my plans that somehow it would shield me from any negativity and I’d get what I wanted. Really though plans and ideas only work if you actually share them. There is an infinite resource of like minded people out there that want nothing more than to help you succeed. All you’ve got to do is reach out to them.
Like an athlete or a musician, it doesn’t matter how fast they run or how well they play. They will never be seen, or achieve quite as much, without a support team behind them.
You can spend months and years working towards the ultimate goal you have in your head and when the day of reckoning comes it falls through so spectacularly, and you have no idea how to pick yourself up. It hurts a lot, but it’s not the end by any means. Either you’ve just gained a complete bucket load of beautiful new skills which can be used to try scoring that goal again or you can take them elsewhere.
There is no such thing as failure. There is just temporary set-backs. The important thing is to reflect. After the anger and frustration (and the blaming), of course. Sit down and take a good look at the wider picture. What has really happened, and why do you think it happened the way it did (without blaming anyone else).
Don’t just rush back to the goal. Take time out, take a walk, get some new scenery for a day. Chat to someone you haven’t spoken to in ages. Get a fresh break for a few days and talk with that support team you have in place (bet you’re pleased you’ve got them now).
Remember best laid plans never work. Something, somewhere will ALWAYS go wrong. What’s important is that unlike kids where we could just plonk ourselves on the floor and throw a crying fit, boring our eyes out until we got that needed cuddle we have to have more than one plan. There are a million and one ways to fix a problem. The key is to learn problem solving skills and still keep going because we’ll then get to where we need to be that much quicker than if we just throw our hands up and say “stuff it”.
Be open to change. I’ll be honest I hate forced changed. If I’m working on something and it suddenly has to be dropped to work on something new I struggle. I want closure before I start a new chapter but unfortunately it’s not always possible. I had someone say to me once “I pick up the work and treat it like it’s the best, most important thing in the world, but as soon as I move onto something else then I drop it and pick the new work up like it’s the most important thing in the world”. It took me a while to understand that but it’s actually easy to do. Give your goal the 101% effort it deserves but if it doesn’t work out, drop it like a stone and pick the next thing up and give it all you’ve got. That doesn’t mean you’re fickle it means that once again you’re not only building skills but you’re getting to your ultimate goals that much quicker.
No-one is out to get you. You know I said earlier I’m not good with rejection? I always manage to convince myself that amid the disappointment clearly that person, or those individuals are out to get me, show me up and make me look bad. In some groups that may be true but you’d have known that before working on your goal, right? People aren’t out to get you. They may be better at what they do or appear more confidant, or seem to have everything compared to you but they are not out to get you. You only see what they want you to see and in the same vain you have shown them what you want them to see.
Find a coping mechanism to deal with the people you don’t want to deal with. Don’t ignore them and don’t spend any more time than is necessary to find peace with them. Life is far too short and in the end they may very well be the person, or people that can help you in other ways.
Finally whenever I step up to a goal I really want (or think I want), people around me tell me to relax, be cool, everything will be okay. I can’t relax and I can’t be cool. I’m a very serious, introverted individual that can do nothing else but think and analyse over every small thing a million times. I understand my thought processes and I can’t fake them, speed them up or just be cool about them and if that’s you then you don’t need to either. It’s who you are and you need to be proud of that. Recognise your feelings and be aware of what rejection and disappointment has on them. Get used to those feelings and embrace them. Don’t fight them as that will just cause more (bigger) problems.
In the past I’ve found myself getting really rather depressed after a rejection. It’s come on like a black cloud coming over an otherwise bright blue sky and once it’s there it takes a while to shake off. Now I know it’s going to come I just let it happen. I know now that if I take everything on board, reflect and look at the bigger picture the dark clouds will once again fade and I’ll be off again on another adventure.
Just trust yourself.
Cover photo courtesy of SF Photographs