How to Deal With Loss and Disappointment
Anyone who faces disappointment experiences feelings of loss, and needs to make adjustments. Somewhat like the person who loses a loved one through death, the disappointed person must work through anger, sadness, a sense of failure, and periods of unbelief. If these normal reactions are denied or left unresolved, the aftermath of disappointment can become a giant lump of depression.
How do you face disappointments? Properly resolved, personal disappointments can be stepping stones to personal growth, realistic goals, and deeper compassion for others.
Face your feelings honestly.
Sometime during childhood, many people acquire the erroneous idea that negative emotions are shameful, and to admit them is to demonstrate weakness or a lack of self-control.
Disappointment is a mental wound that requires careful attention. To deny your feelings out of a sense of false bravery is to deprive yourself of an opportunity for personal growth. It also deprives others of their chance to reach out in love to someone who hurts.
In disappointment’s wake, don’t be afraid to confide in those close to you who express concern. There is healing in another’s prayer support and empathy.
Other people will react to your loss with varying behavior.
Don’t let other people’s reactions at your time of loss determine you friendship with them in the future. Sometimes insensitivity can be unintentional. Even though deep sorrow can be felt for your situation, the awkwardness for loss of words can happen in the time of your emotional need.
Set new goals immediately after your disappointment.
When disappointment hits, don’t mope around thinking of how the situation could have been avoided. Turn it around by pursuing some new experiences that will make you grow. The thrill of new horizons won’t make you forget your loss, but it will help you realize that life does go on.
After you have recovered from disappointment, analyze your situation—and use it to help others.
Remember how you felt, what comforted you, and what you would do differently. For instance, after you are fired (for whatever reason), it hurts.
A friend in business told me he received a lunch invitation after he was fired. He said, “After you are fired (no matter what reason), it hurts. You want to be affirmed and feel needed. When my good friend took me to lunch to tell me how important I was to those who love me, he helped me handle the disappointment. His act of friendship lifted my mood. Yes, getting fired still hurts—but the caring reminder that I was still important as a person helped.”
Remember that feelings related to personal loss are rarely resolved quickly or smoothly.
A person going through disappointment normally feels anger, denial, and a host of other emotions that gradually lessen with time. If you find yourself facing great emotional intensity after you thought you have recovered, don’t despair.
Never compare your loss with someone else’s.
Someone else’s loss may seem minor to you, but it may be major to him or her. That person needs your support and comfort.
Healing of damaged emotions takes time. But each day affords a new opportunity. We are not expected to deny disappointment or deal with it alone if we can’t. There is always a way out.