Disappointment and Expectations
How often do you find yourself disappointed, let down, even shocked by other people’s apparently thoughtless disregard for you? Are you still waiting for a return phone call, email or response to an invitation you sent ten days ago? Does your child act entitled to your continued support and effort rather than appreciative? Are you the champion of your elderly parent’s ongoing care with no sibling or family support in sight?
If you answer a strong “YES” to any of these questions, you may be in a default pattern. A pattern of using your standards as a benchmark for how others should respond. And your standards are very seldom matched by those who disappoint you.
Disappointment begins with what you believe is an acceptable outcome. And this belief begins with wanting to fulfill what you need from a situation. The need may draw from a core value of wanting to be appreciated or obeyed, or “right”. It may bubble up from your truth that you have done so much for this other person and yet “you get so little from them in return.” When others do not respond as you expect, you are disappointed.
The fulcrum between expectations and disappointment is your outlook. And your outlook is orchestrated by the historical thoughts you have practiced for years. Thoughts molded by your upbringing, your interpretation of societal norms, and, again, what you need the outcome to be.
We measure our disappointment in degrees. And the degree corresponds with how high our outlook values the stakes we attach to the disappointment. A supposed slight from a friend holds far less weight than our child’s continued non-compliance. A sibling’s or family member’s ongoing non-participation in elder parent care has a measurable negative value.
And disappointment can balloon into despair unless harnessed. Disappointing thoughts must be reviewed through the lens of facts. Is there a continued pattern of disappointment? What is the factual pattern of behaviors from others that leads to our pattern of disappointment? How long have we allowed the same disappointment to repeat itself? Most importantly- what are you willing to change to keep the disappointment from becoming a familiar pain?
Teaching oneself to accept rather than expect takes determination and focus. And proactive communication, rather than reactive response helps to set the stage for acceptance. If you have had effectively communicated what you need as an outcome, you have done all that you can to cue others to your outlook. This does not ensure that you will get the response you want, but it gives you the freedom to accept the outcome rather than passively receive the disappointment.
And acceptance requires courage. The courage to allow that others won’t always respond as you wish. And courage allows you to remove the emotion from the response and categorize it as fact. Facts can become the building blocks for a plan of action. And a plan of action puts you in charge of how to re-frame disappointment. You are no longer the victim of disappointment but the maestro of your response.
This is where you gracefully apply your grit to keep disappointment in check. And where you develop what you will do to get what you want.
I will help you deflate your disappointment. And help you use your own wisdom so that you can move forward- away from the disappointments of life and towards the freedoms of proactive acceptance.
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