How did I get here?
Some time ago, it was Christmas morning. A Christmas morning that was shaping up to be the most magical of my life. Christmas was and still is my favorite holiday – the hope, the goodwill, and of course the surprises, make it a special time of year for me and for a lot of people.
Good things happen on Christmas – as a rule – and I didn’t see this Christmas being any different.
My guy and I were crazy in love, the type of love that they make movies about, and “for always and forever” was being tossed around like confetti. Yes, it was shaping up to be a Christmas to remember, and I was so looking forward to experiencing every second with him and my family.
So I was a little more than shocked to hear a voicemail that morning that basically said, “I can’t do this anymore.”
The love of my life, “The One,” the person I trusted completely, had left me – on Christmas morning — without having the courage to say it to my face or had enough compassion for me to at least give me the opportunity to let me speak my mind.
Most of my friends and family were getting together to share the love of this special holiday, and I was sitting in “self-imposed exile” alone in a church pew wondering if it was all worth it — if life was worth it. The tears that fell tattooed my face in what seemed like an endless stream of pain, disillusionment, and despair.
My body hurt, but more than that, my soul cried from a place so deep that it felt like it would tear me in two. I knew that if I didn’t start walking, I would crack under the strain of the feelings of heartbreak, betrayal and disappointment.
The language in my head was, “I can’t believe this. Why is this happening? What did I do wrong? How could he do this? It’s Christmas! Why would he leave? He just told me last night, I was the love of his life and he would never forget me, why would he leave? …” And on and on the narrative would go. Really, the language was a like a cyclone swirling and swirling round and round. I was caught up in the emotion, the questions, and the cycling of disappointment.
All my hopes and dreams died in a 30 second message from a guy I trusted with my soul. It’s taken me 15 years to even write about that morning, and if this brief glimpse into a major disappointment can help someone not suffer like I did, then sharing something so personal will be worth it. You aren’t alone and yes, I contributed to my suffering. I could have made a better choice. Read on.
Happiness has a simple formula.
When our Expectations = Our Reality. Our Reality = Happiness.
So when our…
Expectations ≠ Reality, Reality Can = Disappointment, Heartbreak and Despair
What we often don’t realize is that our explanations and questions about what happened ARE what causes us to feel the pain, and not the event itself.
An emotion endures because we give it life.
Disappointment is defined as the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations. But that definition presupposes that life unfolds according to our expectations and that other people and circumstances are within our sphere of control. We all know that we can contribute to an outcome, but we cannot completely control any outcome nor the timing in which it happens. There are simply too many variables.
That is important to say again. We cannot control other people or events. Yes, I know some of you will argue, and give yourself examples of how you controlled this person or that event, but did you really? Contribution, persuasion, temptation ≠ causation. We tend to forget that.
All we can truly control is ourselves.
I eventually became a life coach, because of that experience in the church that day. If I had these tools, strategies and tips that I share with you each week, back then, I would have put that experience in the proper perspective and not have been so crushed by a cowardly act. I would have seen it for what it was, but more importantly, I would have seen him coming a mile away.
During my weekly #WhiteboardWednesdays popup Facebook Live chat, I talked about three ways to handle a disappointment that was less personal in nature, but still a challenge. Speaking of that, I was talking from my childhood bedroom which was a challenge in itself! Check it out below:
…one person doesn’t know it all, but as a community we can come together and learn from one another and grow…
In this five minute video, Brendon Burchard talks about how to view disappointment through the lens of acceptance.
Focus on the learning and daily improvement. A learning mindset prevents you from being disappointed
— Brendon Burchard
Disappointment is temporary, and like any emotion, can pass with time — if you let it. More importantly, you can use disappointment as a tool that gives you important feedback. These are the facts:
- You wouldn’t feel disappointment if it wasn’t important to you.
- You wanted to feel something by having your expectations met, and that desire hasn’t changed.
- You learned what didn’t work.
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So you now can take that information about your disappointment and use it to answer these three questions that can transform your disappointment into determination:
- Why was it important to you?
- What did you want to feel?
- What can you try now?
These three questions will put you into learning mode – learning and applying what does work gets you out of the disappointment trap.
Tony Robbins’ has a protocol that helps you get out of disappointment fast and into a ritual that brings you consistent success. You can check it out below:
Some people take disappointment and let it destroy them and other people take disappointment and let it drive them
– Tony Robbins
My amazing friends on Facebook had so much wisdom to share on this topic. Take what you need. By the way, you will notice that there is no “one size fits all”. Everyone shared something a little different, but still helpful and valuable:
Jim – Go inward and listen to the Voice that speaks in silence.
Penisoni – We have only two voices to listen to the devil and the angel make sure your on the right track otherwise 💯💪🏿🤗
Deme – Turn the cheek and move forward
Melody – And look outward as best as you can, detaching “emotions” disappointments are reflected in the expectations placed.. What are the lessons / messages from this circumstance that we can take on to the next? Disappointments are part of life journey, the impact or level of our reaction is tied to the perspective we give it.
Brianna – Bow low and Turn to the Lord😇
Michelle – Escape for a few days!
Heather – I know it is cliche, but I just remind myself it could always be worse and take whatever lesson or experience I can from it. So that ultimately it ends up being a positive instead of a negative.
Chanel – Draw close to God, fully trust in Him, pray, self love, spend time with people you love and care about and who support you
Lynne – Give myself time to grieve or get over myself, depending on the situation, then I remember what I’m grateful for and what is working in my life.
James – I will let you know when I figure it out. 🙂
Robert – Look forward to better days ahead.
Teresa – Look to God for guidance. Evaluate the situation, confirm the situation is in fact what I think it is, pray for guidance for plan of action for resolution. Understand that sometimes Gods plan is simply to observe, learn and remember (bare witness).
Susanne – Dance pray meditate re-frame
Shannon – First I take the time I need to process all the ramifications of the disappointment, and how I want to handle myself in the situation. I get really quiet- which is scary considering I’m always talking about something to someone 😁 Then, I clean, then clean some more and then organize all the things I can. Especially in my work space, it needs to be clean 🤓 It helps me feel in control of my surroundings and it’s amazing how an unexpected disappointment can turn your tidy organized space into a sea of piles and half started projects. And then I find myself drawn to something else and over time the I’ve found that a disappointment call lead to amazing things
Joshua – Talk to my accountability partner! Thank you, Josh!
Marjorie – A bowl of ice cream cures anything.
Pete – Journal and read what I wrote the next day. Then I take different action
Lisa – Pick yourself up start over and if a person disappointed you. Never give them the chance to do it again
Catherine – I seek the people i know truly care and share healing with them
James – I’d like to say that I have a strategy, but my habit is to distract myself with something else, like a project of some sort that doesn’t require a lot of heavy thinking. I then tend to work what is bothering me over in my mind in the background until I’ve come to some resolution or closure.
Allison – Let go. Let God
Debra – Allow myself to have my feelings, looked at what my part was in the disappointment, cleaned-up my part of the mess that was created by that choice, created a new and moved in that direction.
Ariel – Meditate and then get in a state of gratitude as much as possible
Sonia – I read word of God.and eat lots of chocolates
Joe – A minor set back for a major come back 🙏📖🙏GBU
Pamela – Acknowledge what is, lick your wound and use it as knowledge and empowerment for the future.
Julie – Learn the lessons and look forward …life has highs and lows so focus on the highs
Sandra – Unfortunately life is full of disappointments so we either learn from them or run away from them, for me is always choice number 1
Idit – Usually I try to find what is my lesson from this disappointment, learn from it at step forward.
Thank you to everyone who contributed, I know you helped me, and others who take your suggestions to heart!
So that’s it! The choice is yours. You now have some great tools that you can use when disappointment comes knocking at your door, and maybe sometime soon, your happiness formula will look like this:
Feedback = Reality = Happiness
You got this. Leave a comment, ask a question, I am here to help.
Thanks for reading and until next time,
Remember, you are so much more than who you believe yourself to be!
*Martin Hudáček of Slovakia was moved to create a sculpture to draw attention to the devastation abortion can bring to women for more information go here