“Deserving” one thing and receiving something else brings on a bout of disappointment.
“Deserving” is an interesting word. We want many things, and the wanting can cause a sense of entitlement. When the feeling of deserving overshadows reality, the feeling of disappointment is close by.
Wanting something can also lead to disappointment if the fulfillment of the wants depends on someone else’s actions. Wanting carries expectations, and expectations have within them the seeds of disappointment.
Wanting someone else to do something for us or wanting someone else to say wonderful things to us or wanting someone else to give us just the right thing or wanting someone else to recognize our needs or wanting someone else to … (and so the list goes).
The expectation of certain actions or words or gifts or responses or outcomes brings disappointment whenever the expectation causes sadness. Sadness is the root of disappointment.
We learn to be disappointed; it is not a natural feeling. We learn it from promises unkept, from advertisements that create impossible results, from friendships betrayed, and from hopes thwarted. When we learn disappointment at an early age, it can sabotage future relationships and endeavors. Events outside ourselves influence our living, and when these events bring sadness, they deafen our resistance to feelings of self-pity. The sadness can become disappointment by self-pity becoming self-righteousness. Believing that we deserved something or needed it very much builds the disappointment so that it overshadows outcomes that are fine. The fine aspects of life get forgotten and the disappointments come more easily.
What can we do to overcome disappointments?
Our perceptions influence our feelings of satisfaction or disappointment. Our experiences influence them as well. Accepting that perceptions and experiences have enabled disappointment to affect our viewpoints is the first step.
Here are other steps that can lessen the grasp of disappointment:
- Smile at regular intervals. For example, smile when you arise and when you get out of bed, when you get dressed and when you put on your shoes, when you start eating your first meal of the day and when you have finished it, and while doing obligatory beginning-of-the-day routines, movements, or chores.
- Practice surprise! Young children live surprise day in, day out. They gawk at animals, flowers, and brightly colored boxes. They experience wonder when they experience daily living. Surprise is their constant companion. As children age, societal pressures to conform destroy the surprise feelings. To bring back feelings of surprise, purposely look at things around your home that you really like and notice how you feel when you look at them. To encourage feelings of surprise, marvel at the mundane things in your life (like curtains, kitchen utensils, and dirt in the garden).
- Don’t let feelings of disappointment fester. When you notice these feelings, push your stomach in and out several times and then consider why you are feeling this way. If your disappointment is at yourself, acknowledge your part in bringing about your current situation. If your disappointment is at someone else, let yourself be distracted by other things. If your disappointment is at an event that wasn’t to your expectation, force yourself to move on.
- Find a volunteer cause that you can help and give time to the cause. Donating money is not giving time. Actually spend time helping the cause.
We can unlearn being disappointed. It’s worth the time and effort to banish disappointment from our lives!