Dealing with the Overwhelming Stench of Disappointment

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Few things in life are certain.

1. The sun will rise.

2. The sun will set.

3. You will eventually experience the sinking feeling of disappointment.

 

Recently, a situation came up in my life that I was astutely aware was going to end is disappointment. There was no surprise about the outcome going into it: the sun would rise, the sun would set, the disappointment would sink in.

 

So why was I so surprised when it happened?

 

Maybe it's because I hope for the best. Maybe it's because I assume everyone has the capacity to change. Or maybe it's because I myself would not have handled it that way. Whatever the reason, I was still disappointed.

 

And I didn't handle it well. At all.

 

It got me thinking about better ways to handle that wretched feeling of disappointment to ensure that I stayed in better control the next time it comes up. Which it will.

 

1. Take deep breaths - When thrust into stressful situations, humans tend to hold their breath. This increases the likelihood of the Fight or Flight response kicking in; neither of those options is productive when dealing with disappointment. Deep breathing exercises ensures that you are able to think clearly and make better decisions.

 

2. Walk away - In this particular instance, I was having an all out screaming match via text. So in order to walk away, I turned off my phone, left my device in another room, and literally left the building. I went for a walk until I stopped seeing red, regained composure, and came back. At that point, the discussion was over and I was able to move on into a more productive mode.

 

3. Stop taking it personally - In most situations where you feel disappointed, the person causing the disappointment very rarely considers how you are going to react to the situation. This LITERALLY gives you the right to stop taking it personally. It has nothing to do with you, so to speak. But instead everything to do with how that person made the wrong decision (perceived wrong decision, that is; they probably felt they were in the right).

 

4. Perceive it a different way - There is a really good chance that the person inflicting disappointment is never going to change. In my case, I have a decade of historical data proving just that. My feeling disappointed is as much my fault as it was theirs. Had I perceived the situation differently, I would have felt differently. So instead of allowing this individual to get me worked up, I can perceive the situation as an opportunity to learn how to better handle them, address them differently, and hope for a different result. Or even just to exercise a few of these techniques. Read: all of the techniques.

 

Now, obviously these are not fool proof solutions. Nor are they guaranteed to help you experience less disappointment in your life. But it's certainly better than sitting in your own frustrations stewing in your own steaming pile of hate.

 

What are your suggested methods of addresses the overwhelming stench of disappointment?