How do you deal with disappointment? Do you wallow in self-pity for a long time, or do you recover quickly? We all go through periods of disappointment in our lives. It’s not a matter of if you will be disappointed, it’s when the next disappointment will come. When it does happen, we may not have had a choice in what led us to that point, but we can choose how we respond to it. Our response will be the determining factor in what we take away from that experience.
In the immediate aftermath, sure, we can lash out and throw a tantrum. However, the more productive way to behave is to choose to see it as a door closing for a reason. Rather than staring at the closed door asking “Why?”, instead we can choose to learn something from the experience and believe that everything happens for a reason. My grandmother used to say, “Every disappointment is for good”. If you choose to view it through that lens, it will make it easier to endure.
This brings me to another point. There is a distinct difference between reacting and responding. When something negative happens, it is easy to react in an equally negative way – often lashing out, without thinking or considering the consequences. However, a better approach would be to take some time to process what has happened before responding. Allow yourself to feel the disappointment. You are human and you have emotions. No need to suppress them. Then, after you have thrown yourself the pity party, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and decide what the next step should be. Carefully consider what you need to do and what the consequences of your actions will be, then make an informed decision.
You cannot change what has happened but you can control what you do next. You may never know why, so don’t dwell on that, just let it go and move on. I once applied for a job that seemed tailor-made for me. They interviewed me and invited back for a second interview, which lasted almost two and a half hours! I felt like it went very well and at the end they were saying things like “when you get here, we will…”. So, when I left, I was confident that an offer was imminent. They told me they would get back in touch with me once they had completed all the interviews. I never heard from them again. Not a word.
I was incredibly disappointed. I had fully expected to be offered that job and was ready to take on the new role. It had all lined up so perfectly that I was sure it was divine and then…nothing. I called to follow up and they told me they were still interviewing candidates and they would get back to me. They never did. To this day, I have no idea what happened. So how did I handle it? I spent a while asking why but since I had no way of finding out what had happened, I decided that clearly that job was not for me and I made my peace with it.
Because of my faith I realized that God clearly didn’t want me there; it wasn’t His will for me. Instead, I decided to show more gratitude for the job I already had and accept the fact that He did not want me there for a reason that I may never know, and I’m ok with that.
I know the sting of disappointment can be very hard to take, but if you can try to see it as a learning opportunity, it will allow you to be open to the notion that something better is waiting for you in the future. If there is a lesson to be learned from the experience, you can take it with you into the next situation.