Disappointment is just the action of your brain re-adjusting itself to reality after discovering things are not the way you thought they were.
~ Brad Warner
Everything can change in a split second, changing the course of life as you once knew it.
I get it. It can be shattering and incredibly disappointing!The reality is – You are here and nothing is going to change what has happened. It is done, and it cannot be undone. While this might be very hard to swallow and accept, it is your reality. So why not deal with things as they are right here, right now?
Dealing with disappointment is often complex, as it comes with a mirage of emotions such as anger, sadness, frustration and impatience just to name a few.
Learning to deal with disappointment has been a pivotal turning point in my recoveries, and I want to share with the key things that have been fundamental in healing from my three major brain injuries, as well as other life trauma’s.
Let it all out. What you have been through is HUGE!
It is natural to grieve after experiencing any form of trauma that alters the course of your life.
We often spend so much time trying to run from anything that causes us pain or upset, and in doing so, we deny ourselves the first stage of our healing process.
Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling without any agenda or attempt to speeding up the process. Whatever you are feeling is okay. Take some time to just sit with your emotions and experience it without moving to fix or change it.
If you need to have a good cry, or express the rawness of how you are feeling (as long as you don’t lash out at others or cause harm to yourself). Do it!
It is much healthier to express yourself than it is to suppress how you feel.
I personally have an inner dialogue that goes something like this – ‘I care about you, and how you feel matters. What you have been through is really big and there is nothing wrong with feeling the way that you do. It’s okay, I am here for you’.
This might sound strange to some, but having a healthy nurturing conversation with yourself that validates how you are feeling, and not making yourself wrong for how you feel, makes moving on to gaining some perspective much easier!
Before I go any further, note that rushing into gaining perspective before you’ve allowed yourself to be with how you feel is like trying to walk before you learn to crawl. Skipping a key component to your healing foundations will be like building something on shaky, unstable ground. It never ends well!
Putting things into perspective.
While I was in hospital I witnessed parents kissing their young child’s forehead and holding their hands as they made the devastating decision to turn off their life support. I watched a child die of leukaemia with her immediate family by her bedside. I watched as a young man fight back tears as he was told he had severed his spinal cord leaving him a quadriplegic, as a result of a motorbike accident….My point is, there is always some who is worse off.
We all experience difficult times in life, but how we view what we are going through is entirely up to us.
Remind yourself that what you are going through right now is tough, but it won’t last forever.
Have a think back to previous difficult situations that you have faced in your life. Did they ease or resolve over time? Did you learn anything from what happened, that has helped you in some form in your life?
You have a chance to find the bright side to every situation, no matter how hard it seems right now, by changing how you view what is going on for you.
Remember, changing your perspective is like changing the window in which you view the world. Changing how you view the world will ultimately change how you feel about it.
It’s time to get real and shift your expectations!
Life has changed.
Expectations play a huge role in disappointment. If you haven’t shifted your expectations to be in line with your current reality, you will place unnecessary stress on yourself. Let’s face it, by not adjusting your expectations, you will only become our own worst enemy and be constantly disappointed because you will not be able to live up to your expectations of how you think life should be.
Ask yourself, what purpose is it serving to have unrealistic expectations of yourself right now? Are these expectations helping you to heal or are they keeping you in a state of feeling sorry for self? Are you using these expectations as a ‘beating stick’ to punish yourself with for not living up to your expectations?
Be honest with yourself!
Redirecting your thinking.
Dwelling will not change the situation! The only thing that will change what you have going on for you right now, is to redirect your negative thoughts into more positive ones.
I struggled with being paralysed. Hugely. It was the hardest thing I have ever dealt with, and after I went through the processes of emotions, I started to work on accepting the reality of it. I told myself ‘I am here, and there is nothing I can do to change what has happened, but I CAN change my attitude to what is going on for me right now’. I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and made a commitment to doing everything that I could to redirect my thoughts into more positive ones. I told myself that I would do EVERYTHING possible to work on walking again. I told myself that I would walk. I left no option in my mind. Did I have negative thoughts creep in? Yes, absolutely. But as soon as I recognised they were there, I would redirect those negative thoughts into ones that were in line with what I wanted. I wanted to walk. ‘I will walk!’
When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, work on redirecting those thoughts into positive solutions which you can take action on immediately (even if if’s something small).
My house was covered in inspiring and empowering quotes and notes to myself. So even when I got stuck in a negative thought spiral, I had messages that were uplifting and in-line with what it is I wanted for my life.
It takes consistent work to re-program your brain to focus on positive solutions and thoughts, but like anything, the more you do it the easier it becomes.
Acceptance is key.
The reality is, things that disappoint us are going to happen—that it is a part of life, part of being human.
This step is a lifelong challenge and fundamental to dealing with disappointment. I will be disappointed, I will disappoint, you will be disappointed, and you will disappoint. Life will have moments of being disappointing—but it will pass.
Learn to be kind to yourself.
I cannot stress this enough!!!
The thoughts we think and the words we speak have tremendous power. Words are a form of energy, so how we speak to ourselves has a high impact on the way we feel and think; they can either empower us or put us down.
If someone you deeply cared about was going through what you are going through, would you be patient, kind, encouraging, supportive and loving towards to them as they navigate their way though their challenges? I’m sure you would. So why not give yourself the same love?
The day I stopped filling myself with negative self-talk, my life transformed, and here’s what I know to be true today: I am whatever I believe myself to be. If I think I am smart, beautiful, ugly, or stupid, that’s what my reality becomes. We all get to shape our own story by the way we feel, act, and think.
So, be mindful of how you are thinking and feeling about yourself – because the thoughts that you are feeding yourself, will transform into your reality.
A good dose of gratitude goes a very long way!!!
Adopting a daily practice of gratitude has become the one tool that has been invaluable in all areas of my life, and dealing with disappointment is no different.
Gratitude helps rewire your brain to look for opportunities to be grateful for the good things that you do have in your life, even when it feels like it’s falling apart.
Ask yourself what are three (3) things that I am grateful for in this moment? Why am I grateful for these things? How did those three things make me feel?
Dealing with disappointment is never easy, but there are ways to work through those feelings so that you can truly move into a more powerful way of being.
Much love and gratitude your way warrior!