Written by Oluseun Taylor
I’ve had to deal with a lot of disappointments, ranging from friends letting me down, relationships gone bad, bad test marks after lots of studying and knowing the material through and through, and getting turned down for a job I applied for or a freelance gig with a promising client.
In this write-up, I would like to share with you the steps I take to deal with disappointments when we cross paths. I don’t necessarily do all these in all cases, but this is basically a general blueprint of what would generally do.
Yup! Let it out! You could do some crying, yelling or screaming. You are human after all and it’s only natural that you react this way. In fact, studies show that it can be quite therapeutic! But I must add, don’t do any of these in public or with other people around – especially unfamiliar people… well, if you can. Just try not to.
You could cry in the shower or in your pillow when you’re in bed. Scream after turning up your TV or speakers up (not for too long, so you don’t disturb people around you) or you can do it in a secluded place.
You could also punch a bag or smash your fists on your bed, but make sure you don’t hurt yourself or break the furniture around you. Destroying things around is a huge no-no.
Once you’ve let out all the rage in you, ask yourself constructive questions. So, for example, if you were turned down for a job, you should ask questions like, “What could I have left out in my application, résumé, CV or interview that would have made a difference?” “Was I overqualified or under-qualified?”, “Did I apply too late?” (In some cases, if the employer finds a suitable candidate among applications, all other applications don’t get reviewed).
Once you have these questions, you’ll need to answer them truthfully, no point lying to yourself or covering up the truth. You should also ask the individuals or parties that could give you the answers, like the ex, the employers, or whoever is responsible for the disappointment. I must warn you – you won’t be able to get the answers to some of these questions, so don’t get upset if you don’t. Sometimes, the answer might be a lie, it won’t be what you expected, or it may be an answer you cannot accept. That is fine. The answers that matter are those you can tell are true – and these are the ones you asked yourself and answered honestly.
Talk To Someone About The Disappointment
Sometimes, it helps to talk to someone about your experience. However, you need to be careful with whom you talk about it to. It has to be someone you trust and who will give constructive advice. Sometimes, you might get scolded for contributing to the disappointment, but that’s fine – you’re only being looked out for. You may not want to talk to someone about this, especially if you know you are responsible for getting yourself in it, but really, it does help to talk to someone.
I believe in God and I strongly suggest you speak to Him as well. He sees you, and He knows your pain all too well. He even knows if you brought it upon yourself, but remember, He is just and merciful – He’ll help you out of the situation, if you ask Him to.
The Blame Game
So, must someone or something carry the blame for the disappointment? Well, I’ll leave that up to you. If you want to blame yourself, go on ahead, but make sure it’s for the right reasons, and make sure that it’s a step to becoming a better person by learning from your mistakes.
If you were dumped, you can’t blame yourself for something you have no control over or things that make you who you are, like your beliefs or origins. You can blame yourself if you didn’t put enough efforts in making the relationship work, or if you did something wrong to the other party that warranted the break-up.
If you weren’t hired for a position because you weren’t qualified for the job, then you either apply for a different role or acquire the qualifications. If you weren’t hired because of your age or gender (something you can’t change), well then, you really can’t blame yourself – you need to let it go.
Do you see how this step depends on the answers you get from the second step? You can only work through this with honest answers – you have to be certain the answers to your questions are true. You can’t work with assumptions or false answers; you’ll only place blame in the wrong places and generate blame that shouldn’t even exist.
This is a really, really hard step. You need to let go and move forward. You learn from the past – you don’t dwell on it. I know, it can be hard to move on, but you need to know that disappointments and hardships build your character.
You might seek answers from what may have happened to help you get closure. These answers may never come or may be just plain lies. I strongly suggest you don’t spend too much time and energy chasing for answers, although you really deserve them. This will hold you down and you won’t be able to move forward. Life is a journey; disappointments can either make us or break us. Keep moving – don’t take a break; you’re better than that!
I can assure you; you’ll be disappointed again – somewhere, somehow down on your life’s journey. You just need to be ready. Expect the worst but hope for the best. Don’t be pessimistic about everything you get involved in – you’ll never enjoy life that way. Instead, take up your next disappointment as a challenge – as another building block in your character. Handle it with stride, with your head held high.
People who are successful are successful because of the several disappointments they have experienced and managed. They didn’t let them bring them down or stop in their tracks.
Thomas Edison experienced ten thousand failures while working on building a light bulb! Ten thousand! That many disappointments led to a good light bulb. Why? I’m guessing he got mad after every failure, asked himself “Why?”, blamed the disappointment on a wrong calculation or a mistake on his part, spoke to other inventors or subject matter experts, and tried again, and again, and again. Learn from your experience and try again – equipped with your new-found knowledge.