Anything & Everything

January 19, 2014

Disappointment Won’t Kill You, But It Sure Feels Like It

Filed under: Musings — Susan Morgan @ 10:52 am

It’s the worst thing ever, and I’ve never been good at accepting it. Disappointment sucks. It might be a crude way to put it, but sometimes crude hits the mark just fine.

I was tempted to write about disappointment at Christmas, it’s an especially good topic for the day after. So many of us experience it then. I even had a quirky example of disappointment in a gift I had made for my daughters, but the post never came together, until now.

When you’re a kid you can kick and scream and cry, throw a terrific tantrum when things don’t work out to your expectations. That doesn’t help much, but it makes you feel a whole lot better. Blows off that frustration. Grown ups aren’t supposed to do that, we’re supposed to be beyond childish displays; but not the terrible feeling it is to be thwarted. Thwarted when you were so close you’d actually begun to believe it could be true.

Disappointment hurts, takes your breath away sort of like a punch in the stomach by a bully might do. Experiences like this help you understand (at least a bit) why so many people drink, to blunt the feeling, to stop caring, to forget.

At times like this you almost wish the source of your disappointment never existed, that what you foolishly, rashly hoped was never possible. At least it would keep you from imagining things as they might have been, feeling how great it would be. Of hoping against hope. Of being so close…

It’s tempting as an adult faced with disappointment to lash out, to be furious, to stamp your feet and refuse to budge. But, just like when you were a kid, this won’t change a thing. Some things just will not change, no matter how badly we want or need.

So, in a stab at maturity and growth, try to find something to be learned from disappointment. For one thing, you get practice accepting it (like anybody needs that!) and that probably builds character. Painful stuff like this usually does.

You also learn to never, ever count your chickens before they hatch. Expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed so the saying goes, and it’s harsh but as I get older I realize this sentiment is probably more true than we’d like to think. Best not to believe, to trust or fantasize until it’s in your hand.

Last, but certainly not least, you find that yes, disappointed and saddened though you are, you can go on. Time passes, the world turns. You get up,  get over and go forward, a bit broken perhaps, a little sadder, a little wiser — but forward into the future.

Where anything can happen.

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