Monday, September 19, 2011

Dealing With Disappointment

Heaven only knows how many times disappointment slaps all of us in the face at some time or other.  I don't think it's possible to finish our earthly voyage without being disappointed.  When our expectations aren't met, we feel let down.  The mind has a self-sustaining way of feeling sorry for itself, easily distorts the whole scenario, puts more behind it than there actually is, the proverbial see-saw falls down on the side we are sitting, and the pity party begins.

When we feel let down, we have to discern whether we're disappointed in someone else or if we're disappointed in ourselves.  If it's the other person who has disappointed us, well, then that's easier to deal with. If, however, we disappoint ourselves, then there's work to be done.

The ancient philosopher Epictetus is trying to explain this to us when he said, "Man is not bothered by things that happen, but rather by his 'opinion' of things that happen." 

I've had a few recent people disappointments, and they ouched me.  But, if I take a good hard look at 'em, they are merely unmet echoes of my expectations.  This tells me only one level of standards is higher than theirs. 

So, how am I going to deal with my disappointments?

I say to myself over and over again,  "I FEEL disappointed by what ______ did or said, but I am completely 100% okay with myself."  This allows me to acknowledge my feelings, but it stops them from eating away at me. It's not easy to shift how we feel and think about something, but the hurt gets bigger and ouchier if we hang on to the things that hurt and ouch us. 

When stinging situations leave us feeling down and disappointed, we've got to always remember who it is that has the higher set of moral standards.