The Antidote to Disappointment


We’ve all faced disappointments in our lives. Some are small…the thing we wanted to order online was out of stock. Some are huge…the loss of a loved one, the hoped-for job didn’t work out, a child turns their back on lessons taught. Our disappointment list is massive. It’s not hard to find disappointment scattered throughout our lives, even when we aren’t looking. It’s just there; like the bad guy in a slasher movie hiding around the corner waiting to attack.

When I was 13 years old, my friend and I went to see the movie “Halloween.” The movie ended late. We walked home down the middle of the street because our fear of someone hiding in the bushes ready to stab us had been triggered. My fear-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach feeling still gets triggered during times of disappointment. It attacks without warning.

Big disappointments leave a bloody swath of destruction in their wake.

In our frenzied lives, we often experience emotions we don’t really know how to describe or name. We haven’t learned how to identify them; we only judge them as good or bad. An emotion is neutral. It’s an indicator of something; just like the gas gauge on our car. Disappointment is often masked as anger or frustration. If we dig a little deeper, we find sadness, hurt, longing, loneliness, fear, betrayal, regret, defeat, hopelessness. If we peel back the layers even further, we find an unmet expectation. We expected the new job to be better than the job we left. We expected the kids to follow the path we laid before them. We expected hard work to lead to success. We expected her or him to think and act the same way we do. We expected life to be better or different. We expected...over and over.

We can deal with the bad guy named disappointment when we recognize our unmet expectation.

Is it realistic or not? If so, we can grieve or be angry or hurt or whatever emotion is present. We can process through the pain of the wound. If it’s not, we can acknowledge our hope for a different outcome, then work through any emotions still left. Often, the simple act of acknowledging that the expectation was unrealistic helps to tame the bad guy of disappointment.

The antidote to disappointment is realistic expectations.

Bad stuff is going to happen. Situations and people may disappoint. However, we get to choose how to deal with the emotional fallout. We can choose to stay stuck in anger, fear, resentment, sadness, hopelessness, or whatever emotion shows up. Or we can choose to look at the emotion and say, “Some days will be disappointing, but not all days are disappointing.” We can acknowledge the hard days and enjoy the beautiful days. We can choose where to put our focus.

When I get that fear-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach feeling, I ask myself, “What’s behind the fear? What’s the emotion attached to it? What’s my expectation? Then talk and walk myself through it. More often than not, I turn to a friend for an outside perspective to help me process through my unmet expectation. At first, it was foreign and uncomfortable figuring out what was going on in my internal world. Many times, I turned to friends for extra help. Now, it’s second nature.  I can do it fairly quickly for the smaller disappointments in my life. When it’s something significant, I reach out to my tribe and ask for help.

I can’t fight the bad guy of disappointment alone. Two or three of us can overpower him, take the knife away, and punch him in the gut!

Written By Kimberly Turner

Kimberly is an author who recently launched her brand new book Broken To Beautiful. She is a woman who experienced trauma and abuse and yet, she was determined to rise and walked out of it beautifully. The book would be an encouragement to you. Pick up a copy today!

Sunny Cain