Did he never call you after that great first date? Did she never return your text? Did you lose that game? Did someone not show up to support you? Did you look into the mirror after quitting another diet? Did the business fail? Did that perfect relationship end? Did someone you care about pass away? Did a little one you were hoping to care about never make it?
Did tears make their way to your pillow at night and morning seemed forNever away?
Recently, disappointment has found its way into my life in numerous ways. I try to stay positive and not unload my problems on others, but things have been tough–and that is okay to say. (Remember, just because others have it harder doesn’t marginalize your pain.)
In thinking about disappointment, I started to analyze the etymology of the word itself.
“dis-“ the prefix for reversal, negation or removal.
“-appoint-“ to assign to a position or set a time–things that have not yet occurred but are perceived future inevitabilities.
“-ment” the suffix for state of being.
So disappointment then, is the state of being the opposite of something expected.
Ah, the cure for disappointment, then, is to not have any expectations so that that they can never be unmet.
But no, this cannot be. We must make goals and go after them and fight with faith for that which we believe! It isn’t about giving up on dreams, no, that will never be the cure. That is simply succumbing to the sickness. The cure for disappointment is not found in the avoidance, but in the acceptance: we must learn to deal with the unpreventable occasions when reality falls short of our ‘appointed’ plans.
While my acquaintance with disappointment might not be to the personal familiarity of yours, the principles are nonetheless similar. Here is the 5-G Cure for Disappointment (they get decreasingly descriptive on purpose).
1. Get hopeful. Don’t succumb to dis-courage-ment (or the state of being removed from courage). Discouragement is a deadly disease distilled from the dredges of disregarded disappointment. I promise there are good things to come! Allow yourself to weather the phases: denial, anger and sadness…but then seek for understanding and therein you will find hope. As Shakespeare penned, “The miserable have no other medicine/ But only hope” (All’s Well that Ends Well, act II, sc.i, l. 2). The cure is not dreamlessness, but hopefulness.
2. Gain perspective. Pray, read scriptures and sit under the stars for five minutes to realize that whatever your disappointment, there is more to the universe than the now the pain you feel. Look to see how you can learn, change and grow “for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better” (Ecclesiastes 7:3). Usually the biggest thing that comes out of this is gratitude for all that you do have.
3. Gather yourself. Take a (small) break. It could be listening to music, running, hot tubbing, talking with a loved one…just know it is okay to breeeeeeeeathe.
4. Give to others. Even if you feel broken, there are hearts that only you can mend.
5. Go forward…
So in a life of ‘just about’s and ‘almost’s and ‘kindof’s and ‘nearly’s and ‘not quite’s–basically, in a world where things are in a state opposed to your expectations, know that there is one “G” that is constantly complete: God.
Whatever you perceive “God” to be, I know that we can reach out in prayer and experience healing, peace and love amidst the greatest disappointments of life…yes, even yours. Because no matter the dark clouds of disappointment, the future still shines bright.
For as we are promised, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Pslam 30:5).
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