Disappointment

I suppose disappointment is a fact of life but it doesn’t make it any easier to take and some, it seems, are more prone to its’ frequency. Do we invite disappointment? (unconsciously, of course) Do we set ourselves up for it? Maybe, and if so, is it that we are setting unrealistic expectations about people and outcomes? Probably.

I had a friend in high school (and that’s going waaaaaay back!) who argued that the only person we can count on in life is ourselves. Not your parent, sibling, partner, friend, just you. Disappointment, she said, was our naiveté in trusting others not to hurt, betray, or disappoint us. I always fought her on this because I felt it was such an uncharitable view of humanity. In my innocence I truly believed the people in whom we placed our trust would never hurt us. Forty five years later I sadly acknowledge that she was right because like everyone else, I’ve had my share of disappointments in life.

People don’t mean to hurt others but there is no escape for any of us; there simply is no life without disappointment. It comes down to different ideals, different priorities, different  desires, and a complete lack of effective communication. Talking openly about our feelings and expectations leaves us vulnerable, open to ridicule and criticism, even rejection if the other party doesn’t feel the same way, so we are reluctant to bear our souls. And even if we do, the other party may not see the disappointment inflicted the same way as you.

So. Is this a grin and bear it situation? How we deal with our disappointment varies depending on the priority of the situation, the priority that is, to the one being disappointed. The other party (the inflictor of the disappointment) likely doesn’t see it as a priority at all. But our character  dictates how we will deal with it. Will we lay defeated and broken, or will we rise above it before the disappointment takes root, leading to bitterness and anger. Either way the road is yours to follow alone and you can’t lay the blame on the ‘inflictor’, rather you should lay the blame on yourself for expecting too much. (so I guess the lesson here is to expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed?)

People will disappoint you and the more you have invested in the relationship the deeper the disappointment is felt, but with maturity comes the wisdom; the wisdom to know how to stop whining and when to move on because disappointment is inevitable. And sometimes moving on means cutting these people loose.