Life is full of disappointments. We don’t always get what we want and usually, we end up disappointed as a result. Nobody likes this uncomfortable feeling, I certainly don’t. Unsatisfied, sad, feeling down, losing hope – all these are negative feelings caused by disappointment.

It’s weird and it’s complicated. Sometimes, we feel disappointed with the little things in life. Maybe it’s getting ignored by one of your friends, or maybe it’s not receiving birthday wishes from someone you care about. You know it’s not really a big deal, but you just feel disappointed.

Most of the time, it’s because we care, we expect things to happen, we take things for granted. That’s what causes disappointment.

You expect your parents to buy you the iPad Air you crave for your birthday present.  They got you something else instead.

You feel confident of scoring an A in your Maths paper. However, you got a B for the paper because of the careless mistakes you made during the examination.

You thought you are presenting a great idea during the meeting. You end up receiving criticism from your colleagues and your boss.

These are the scenarios that usually happen to us. Without knowing how to deal with disappointment, we are keeping ourselves away from happiness. Here is a list on how to handle disappointments:

1. Expect less from others.

No expectations, no disappointment. It is easier said than done, unfortunately. How many of us can truly have zero expectations, especially towards someone we care about? Not much. We are emotional beings, we have feelings, that is why we are concerned about how people treat and perceive us, especially the ones who are closest to us.

But there is one thing we can do: Expect less from others. When you expect less, you might still get disappointed, but probably not as disappointed as you would have been had you not lowered your expectations. Don’t always take things for granted.

We must understand how life works. Life doesn’t always go as we planned. Face it, life is unpredictable, it’s a roller coaster ride, we don’t know what will happen next. You want to totally avoid disappointment? Stop expecting from others then. But it’s not easy right? So, let’s start by expecting less.

2. Say no to perfectionism.

“It’s still not good enough! It still feels like it’s missing something!”

“No, no, no… That’s not right. That part still needs to be improved on!”

Are you a perfectionist? Many of us are and sometimes, I am one too. This is especially true when it comes to doing things we really love. We tend to strive for flawlessness. In such cases, we get disappointed more easily. We’ll feel disappointed about ourselves (and others as well if it requires teamwork). We begin to doubt our abilities to perform.

“I’m not good enough!”

You destroy your own confidence and self-esteem. You start getting frustrated with yourself. This happens not because you are not performing good enough, but because of you striving for perfection. You see, perfectionism is often accompanied by disappointment and in more severe cases, depressions.

We have to learn to accept flaws, to accept the imperfect. Starting from today, say no to perfectionism (unless of course, you never get disappointed as a perfectionist). It’s okay not to be perfect. Imperfection is what makes you a human being .

3. Shift your attention.

Remember when you were just a kid and you were disappointed because your parents broke a promise they made to you? How did they normally deal with it?

They shift your attention! They somehow ‘trick’ you so that you forget about the old promise. Or, instead they treat you to an ice cream as an apology. What they did was to prevent you from focusing on the sad events – the broken promises. They shift your attention to something new and different which you are also interested in.

Similarly, we can use the same “technique” to deal with disappointments. We can shift our attention away from the disappointing events to something more positive. We focus on the positivity in our lives instead of the problems.

When dealing with disappointment, it’s okay to be disappointed for a short while. After that, focus on some of the other, more positive things around you. Look for the little things that will light up your day. Or simply go for an afternoon nap. Just do what you are interested in – shopping, binging on Netflix, going for a workout or jogging.

4. Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude.

Be Grateful For What You have.

Be thankful of what you have.

Why do we feel disappointed? Because we are not satisfied with what had happened to us. It didn’t meet our expectations. We feel we deserved more. A feeling of sadness then follows.

Like in the previous point, instead of focusing on the bad things happening around us, why don’t we take a moment to look at what we have? Why don’t we step back and see the good things that had happened to us in our lives? I’m sure that you aren’t really living a bad life.

At least at this very moment, you have taken the initiative to make a change on your life. You’re reading this article to learn how to deal with disappointment. And oh… Did I mention you know how to read and how to surf the net (Thank whatever you believe in that you have Internet at all!)? You get the drill and I don’t think you want me to continue either.

Happiness is a choice. If you only focus on your disappointments, that’s the end of your wish to live a happy life.

You want to deal with disappointments? Step back and take a look at what you can appreciate and feel grateful for. Focus on those little things – a smile from a stranger, a “Hello” from your neighbour, a bright sunny day. Appreciate what you have instead of complaining about your life. Shift yourself from the negativity (disappointing events) to the positivity (express gratitude).

5. Acknowledge it for what it is. Let it go. And focus on things you have control over.

Admit it, sometimes you are disappointed because you are stubborn. You don’t want to accept what had happened to you. You still don’t believe that these disappointing events were happening to you. You just can’t face the truth, accept it and let it go.

Let me tell you about a natural law – You can’t change the past. You can’t change what had already happened. But, your future is not written in cold, hard stone and you can always still take charge of it. Your response to the disappointments in your life is what defines your future. Your action defines what will happen to you next.

We human are really stubborn creatures. We like to focus on the things that we have no control over – the past, other’s opinion on us. Eventually, this gives rise to disappointment and problems inevitably start to appear. So, what do we do with the things that we have no control over? Acknowledge it, accept it and let it go.

Then, focus on things you can control. Disappointment is inevitable, but you still have the option of choosing how to handle it. Focus on the problems or accept it and let it go?

IT’S THE CHOICES YOU MAKE THAT DEFINE YOUR FUTURE.

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