How do you feel about disappointing others? How about being disappointed yourself? I’ve recently noticed how much of my conscious and unconscious attention is focused on not disappointing others, while at the same time protecting myself against being disappointed.
As I’ve been looking at this more deeply, I’m amazed by how much stress, fear, and worry I experience in my attempts to avoid the disappointment of those around me – family, friends, clients, and others. At the same time, I can see that much of this comes from my own deeper fear of being disappointed and let down. The irony, of course, is that no matter how hard I try to avoid disappointing others or being disappointed myself, it happens anyway.
By actively avoiding disappointment (of or by others), we set ourselves up for failure and pain. And, as I’ve seen recently, this makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to speak our truth, be ourselves, and live with a real sense of authenticity and peace.
What if we embraced disappointment instead of avoiding it? It’s inevitable that we will disappoint people, especially when we live our lives in a bold, authentic, and passionate way. Speaking up, going for the things that are important to us, and taking care of ourselves are all things that at times won’t align with others and in some cases may even upset them. It is possible for us, however, to be mindful, empathetic, and aware of others, and still be true to ourselves – these things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Asking for what we want, counting on others, and trusting people – all of which are essential for healthy, fulfilling, and real relationships – do make us vulnerable to being disappointed and even hurt by the people in our lives. So what! We end up getting more hurt and disappointed in the long run by withholding our desires and expectations. We might as well live out loud and be honest about how we feel, what we want, and what’s important to us.
As Dr. Seuss so brilliantly said, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Disappointment, as uncomfortable and even painful as it can be for me and many of us, is essential and important on our journey of growth, self discovery, authenticity, and fulfillment. Making peace with disappointing others allows us to release our erroneous demands for perfection. Letting go of our fear of being disappointed by other people gives us the ability to take more risks and ask for what we truly want.
When we’re able to embrace disappointment, we create a sense of liberation and space that frees us up to be who we truly are and let go of our attachment with other people’s opinions. This is not always easy, but is so powerful and can be transformational.
As you delve into this, be kind with yourself. This is a big one for me and so many people I know and work with. We all want to be loved, valued, and appreciated in our lives. And, most of us have had painful experiences of disappointment in the past, which have impacted us in a deep way. However, if we can alter our relationship to disappointment – we can transform our lives and our relationships in a profound way!
How do you feel about disappointing others? How about being disappointed? What can you do to make peace with and embrace disappointment in an empowering way? Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more.
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