Sitting in my garden is a new bird feeder that our local birds either haven’t noticed, or don’t like!
My expectations of rainbow lorikeets, galahs and cockatoos stopping by for a visit each morning and afternoon have not been met and I feel disappointed!
If only disappointment was always the bird feeder kind of variety! But people disappoint us. We disappoint ourselves. We disappoint others. Circumstances disappoint us.
When is the last time you felt disappointed, and how did you deal with it? The choices seem to be:
- ruminate and get sad?
- rationalise why it didn’t turn out as expected?
- blame ourselves?
- blame others?
- blame God?
Despite knowing that the emotionally intelligent response is to acknowledge the disappointment and move on, it’s easy to get stuck in the disappointment!
What’s the biggest disappointment you’ve ever had to face? Sometimes reminding ourselves that we have been disappointed before (and survived!), can be the kick start we need to face any new disappointments with an attitude of resilience.
If that’s the case, then I received a mighty dose of resilience kicking potential just this year.
I’d just had major breast cancer surgery. Two days of pain, nausea, and sleep deprivation passed before my surgeon came with the pathology results. It wasn’t what we were hoping for. Instead of two small tumours as the pre-op scans had shown, they were actually part of one large cancerous tumour. I was devastatingly disappointed. Instead of surgery being the end of it all, I would now need chemotherapy and radiation.
Did I ruminate at the time and get dejected? Of course I did. Did I rationalise the whys? Of course. Did I blame myself? At times, yes! Did I blame others? No. Did I blame God? No.
Our responses will depend on the situation and the intensity of the disappointment. Dealing with disappointment can certainly be hard. Disappointment can leave emotional scars that take time to heal just as much as physical scars do. But although disappointment is inevitable in life, discouragement and quitting is a choice.
We can acknowledge that we’re disappointed but then it’s so important to let it go and move on.
Clinging to disappointment breeds dejection at least, and bitterness at most.
And once bitterness takes root it is not a healthy place to be! When the scar gets poked does it still evoke emotions of hurt and anger towards the person who disappointed you? Are you still carrying shame and guilt if you were the one who disappointed another? When you recall the situation which was beyond your control do you ruminate in that disappointment all over again?
This is what helps me to let disappointment go but there are a myriad of psychology articles out there if you google the topic!
- Acknowledge the disappointment and let the emotions out.
- Differentiate between what is within control, and what isn’t.
- Pray. Reflect. Journal. Read the promises of scripture.
- Talk to someone. Getting a different perspective helps bring clarity.
- If it’s someone else who has disappointed, forgive.
- If it’s me who has disappointed someone else, make amends as best I’m able. Then forgive myself and learn from it.
- Choose to let it go and focus on moving forward.
Once we let disappointment go we are then free to cling to hope!
Hope expects a better outcome next time.
Hope sees the smallest flicker of light, even in the dark.
Hope speaks positively, even if negative emotions are still being worked through.
Hope seeks what is known and good. (for me this is God and His promises).
Hope remembers that nothing is ever certain, but nothing is ever hopeless.
Hope is the legs upon which faith can stand!
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom 5:1-5)
Are you ready to let disappointment go and stand by faith for whatever situation you are hoping for?
I didn’t set out to write about disappointment (I was going to head somewhere else with the bird feeder story)!
Maybe your disappointment is something big, or maybe it’s something trivial like my empty bird feeder, but don’t ever let disappointment rob you of faith, hope, or love!