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It seems like when something upsetting happens, it isn’t usually one small thing at a time.  It is many small things that add up to big things and then BOOM! I am overwhelmed with disappointment.  Disappointment in my own reactions, disappointment in others, and disappointment in the situation(s).  Lately, these situations have been coming at me fast and furious and I am feeling very overwhelmed and underprepared for dealing with them.  I thought since I was experiencing this, I would write a blog to remind myself what I need to do to help myself and hope that you resonate as well.

Disappointment can lead to resilience, but first we have to work through the disappointment and not let bitterness overtake us. Resilience is our ability to “bounce back” from set-backs.

Karen Stephens shares these tips for helping our children deal with disappointment in the article “Disappointment and Dismay: Supporting Kids When They Don’t Get What They Want “. These can also apply as we help a friend who is dealing with disappointment or we can even apply these tips to our own situations.

  • Build a strong attachment to another person.

Who do you talk to when you are disappointed?  Is it someone who complains along with you?  Is it someone who you can cry with?   Is it someone who listens when you share what happened?  Who gives you honest feedback and asks questions to help you process? Find your tribe and be part of someone else’s.

  • Learn to share center stage.

Ask yourself if this situation is all about you. I have a tendency to take things very personally.  Sometimes I am disappointed and the situation really has nothing to do with me at all.

  • Build others up.

Are you sharing the successes of others or do you find yourself putting others down to build others up?  When we take time to celebrate the successes of others, we begin to realize that we are part of a greater whole.

  • Use your words.

Take the time to express yourself.  This can be by talking to another person, writing in a journal, or using art or music to share. If you don’t know where to start, try using the two lists activity to name your disappointments.

  • Express your feelings.

It is okay to not be okay.  We should share when we are hurt, angry, sad or disappointed.  And we should also share when we are proud and happy.  Support others who share their feelings with you.  Thank them for trusting you.

  • Respect the feelings of others.

As we are well aware every time we open social media, each of us has a different opinion and a different way to approach a situation.  Others may not agree with you all of the time, but through honest conversation and sometimes agreeing to disagree OR by setting boundaries about topics you will talk about, you can be in healthy relationships with others.

Learning how to face our disappointments head on will help you navigate through the feelings of disappointment.  I love Winnie the Pooh. The support and love that his group of friends show one another remind us that with others, we can overcome. These words from A.A. Milne say it all when we are working through our disappointments: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you.”

Winnie the Pooh and friends in a canoe

Written by: Jami Dellifield, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Hardin County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County

References

Greenberg, M. (2015, June 30). 8 Ways to Bounce Back After a Disappointment. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201506/8-ways-bounce-back-after-disappointment

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries. (2018, October 26). Dealing with Disappointment. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://hbr.org/2018/08/dealing-with-disappointment

Milne, A. (n.d.). A quote from Winnie the Pooh Library. Retrieved October 15, 2020, from https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/6659295-you-are-braver-than-you-believe-stronger-than-you-seem

Moore, C. (2020). Pandemic Disappointment: How To Deal When Your Plans Get Canceled. Retrieved October 10, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-deal-with-disappointment-if-coronavirus-has-interrupted-your-plans

Stephens, K. (2007). Disappointment and Dismay: Supporting Kids When They Don’t Get What They Want. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://www.easternflorida.edu/community-resources/child-development-centers/parent-resource-library/documents/dissappointment.pdf

Images

https://pixabay.com/photos/sadness-disappointment-collapse-4273889/

https://pixabay.com/photos/winnie-the-pooh-wall-painting-437940/

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