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Jennifer Seip, MA Individual, Couples & Sex Therapy
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Love, Sex & Life Blog

How To Deal With Disappointment When You Just Don’t Feel Like It

How To Deal With Disappointment When You Just Don’t Feel Like It

This morning I really felt it, disappointment. I had a great plan for today. I was going to wake up at 5am, get my workout in, leave for work around 7, arrive at 8:30, go to a morning meeting, see some clients, then head home for an early day and clean.

So far two things have gone wrong. First, I woke up at 5am, took the dog out, got ready for my workout and I realized that my sneakers were soaked in water.  Apparently I left my water bottle from the day before in the gym bag with my sneakers and it spilled all over everything.

Ok that plan is now ruined.

Instead I sat around for two hours, watching tv, exhausted, attempting to go back to sleep.  Of course that couldn’t happen. I waited until I had to leave at 7, got in my car, and prepared for the hour and a half commute on I95 into work. Then about one hour into my drive I got a text saying that my meeting is canceled. In that moment I really wanted to scream

WTF this is not cool!

I said this in my head several times. Alright what should I do?

I couldn’t turn around because I had a session at 11 and with the timing of it all, it just didn’t make any sense. So I very angrily drove into work thinking about how mad I was at the world and about how people don’t live up to my expectations.

When I really think about this, I feel disappointed somewhat often. I expect that if I plan things exactly as I want them to go then nothing will go wrong. I believe that people will do what they say they will do. I trust that things will work out the way that I very specifically want them to. But honestly, that’s ridiculous. Things will always go wrong. Plans will always change. People will always disappoint.

I know this is very negative but trust me, I will make my point soon.

The best thing that you can do in moments of disappointment is to breathe and be flexible. Take it in, feel it, then figure out what you’re going to do about it. My mantra should seriously be, feel it, then do something about it. I say it all the time, and that’s exactly what I did. I wrote this post.

I am writing this post.

I’ve been putting off writing for a few weeks due to severe mental blocks. But when I realized that I now have two hours to kill, instead of just sitting and twiddling my thumbs like earlier this morning, I decided to do something with my dissatisfaction.

It feels good! My time has not been wasted. I am turning a negative into a positive and I’m doing something productive.

The moral of this story is to let you know that there are always ways we can change our moods and feel successful even when things don’t go according to plan.

The first is to understand that our expectations of people and plans are not always going to be met and when they aren’t met, that’s ok. People do not always follow through, communication is misinterpreted, water gets spilled on sneakers. It’s not the end of the world, just a change in the day.

Second, we cannot control everything. In fact the only thing we can control is how we respond, specifically in the face of adversity. My example of disappointment is extremely small in comparison to large-scale let downs. Losing a job, political disappointment, the loss of a loved one, an accident, all of these are on a much grander scale. They will take a lot longer to process than just writing a blog, but the same rules apply. Process the pain, then figure out what to do about it. Think about how you are going to respond and take your control back.

Third, allow yourself to be flexible. Changing your expectations or plans does not mean you are changing yourself. I run into this all the time. People are afraid to give into change because they are afraid of losing themselves! Changing means growth and you will always be you. Our character gets better when we are adaptable and open to new possibilities!

Alright it’s time to post this. Maybe I’ll go for a walk and get my workout in now.

You’ve got this. 😉