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How do you deal with the stress of disappointment? Or do you deal with it all?
Being able to handle disappointment is KEY to having confidence and changing terrifying change into adventures.
It’s the difference between social confidence and courage… and staying the shy wallflower who never speaks up.
If you’re ready to change distress into ease, there are some key steps you need to take that can quickly and powerfully change the way you deal with disappointment and with distress.
Ready for distress relief? Our Stress Relief On Tap program is NOT your normal stress relief approach. It’s about turning mental, emotional, and physical distress into calm understanding and confidence.
It’s about knowing you have the skills and ability to care for yourself, release the angst and uncertainty, and create a confident and engaged future.
This program starts TOMORROW, so jump on board and get your confidence and relaxation.
Disappointment can feel overwhelming and just shut people down, and sometimes it leaves relationships in tatters. Learning how to deal with the stress around disappointment, not just the disappointment itself but the stress we feel, can be really powerful.
Rick- I’m someone who has a very little capacity for disappointment. A disappointment tends to be a big deal for my system. Part of it is I’m a very passionate person. I set my intentions very strongly, and I’m very sensitive. You may be, too. One of the things that I needed for my own well-being is a way to look at disappointment and feel it in a way that didn’t cascade into a bunch of negative stories.
Cathy- I think for most of us, our families didn’t know how to teach us how to handle disappointment. I learned not to ask, because my mother would get so upset if I was disappointed that I just learned that it was bad in general. I think that we sometimes go back to “Okay. I was four, and I was convinced I was going to get a pony for Christmas, and I didn’t, and I threw a fit, and Christmas was ruined.”
We treat disappointment like this red hot poker that we need to stay away from, but the truth is we feel it all the time, and we’re disappointed about different things because we, humans, develop expectations. We have this plan, and that serves us so well. That’s why we have skyscrapers and electricity and… All kinds of good things.
Yeah. They’re great, and sometimes plans get broken.
Right, and when a plan gets broken, I believe that there is an intelligence in us that says, “Let go.”
Part of that is if you imagine that you’re trying to get something and you’re really engaged with it, but it is not going to happen, that there would be a biochemical and emotional and energetic signal that says to your body, “Hey, don’t keep after that the same way that’s not working.”
That’s a really natural thing that happens to all of us, but the stories that we weave afterwards like:
– I don’t deserve it,
– I wasn’t a good boy,
– They don’t love me enough,
– I was on Santa’s naughty list.
Whatever story cascades out of that, is a way for us to make sense of a feeling that most people don’t know how to deal with. To me now, when the let-down … It literally is a letting down, shutting down kind of feeling.
What I seek to do is to do some tapping for it and land on neutral. If you were trying to reach the apple in the tree but could not reach it no matter what you threw at it no matter how long a stick you tried to get, that apple is not going to come down. You kind of imagine saying, “Okay. Yeah. Not coming my way from that tree, that apple,” and you imagine just grounding yourself in a place of neutral peace. “It’s okay. I’m okay.” Can we do some tapping on that?
I’d love to look at, too, what you’re talking about you want it from that tree. We might suddenly, if we do some tapping, realize that we’re on an orchard and maybe not that tree but that tree-
And there’s a grocery store right there. There’s a farmer’s market there. Sometimes, and I’ve done this many times myself, I get attached to getting it from that one person or that experience. That one way.
The pain is often not about now, but all the old pains that we had before.
Let’s tap on feeling disappointed.
So if you can, take a nice slow, deep breath.
Feel your feet on the floor, wiggle your toes, and even though we say this all the time and you might be tired of hearing it, we encourage you to do it again and again. It anchors it. It gives you a pattern for your body to flow through and a way to get back in your body really quickly. Notice your butt in the chair. You’re supported. The universe loves you, has you, is holding you right now.
Karate Chop: Even though I feel the stress of this disappointment … And it really hurts… I wanted that so badly. If I got that, I’d be okay. I know that I’ll be loved if I got that thing. Whatever it was.
What if it’s not about that thing? Maybe it’s about feeling loved and winning.
What if I can love myself… And let myself win by being there for me?
Top of the Head: I didn’t get it that way.
Eyebrow: I really wanted to get it that way.
Side of the Head: From that specific tree.
Under the Eye: That specific apple.
Under the Nose: I don’t even know if that apple has worms.
Chin: What if the universe is guiding me to a different tree?
Collarbone: Or something else.
Top of the Head: I choose to be present with myself.
I choose to be present with this emotion.
And love myself through.
So I can find even better solutions.
Nice deep breath.
SO much of disappointment is about stories we tell ourselves. The pain and suffering of disappointment.
It does hurt, but often we’re bringing in every disappointment we’ve ever felt rather than “Oh, you can’t go to the movies today? I was really looking forward to going to the movies with you tonight.”
“Okay. We’re not going to the movies. My life is not over.”
It’s not, and I’ll tell you I think disappointments have a way of concretizing in our system like rocks in a rain barrel.
What I did is I wrote down 12 disappointments that really felt like they had some emotional charge, and I went through each of them as a tapping story and helped address that feeling in my body of where the disappointment was.
My capacity, the things that feel disappointing to me, now are very different. Almost everything that didn’t work out the way that I had fantasized that it might used to be felt in my body as, ouch, a disappointment.
Now, even though I still say my capacity for disappointment is not where I’d like it to be, it’s one of the beauties of doing emotional work for ourselves is that we do build greater resiliency.
That shows up where it’s like “Oh, okay. So that’s not happening. What might be a yes for us tonight?” or “What might be a yes for me?”
You see how that “Oh, that’s not happening.” There’s even a little uplift where you’re able to redirect energy rather than be shut down.
Your body starts to trust that it can signal that as “Hey, what about finding some other yes’s,” instead of you’re so disappointed in your job. You’re so disappointed in the project. You’re so disappointed in whatever. You don’t have to be shut down to quite that level.
I also like to look at what is the story I tell myself about it. Using the example of going to the movie, “Oh, if my friend went to the movie with me, I feel loved and accepted and part of the community. Oh, wow.” You know what? If we went to the movie and I have that fear and that soothed it momentarily, that fear is going to come up again.
So if you notice what you’re trying to solve by having this experience and then tap on the pain underneath of it, that lets you go to the movie with fun and without any agenda. Because agendas can pull a lot of joy out of it. “Well, you didn’t buy me popcorn. I was expecting you to buy my popcorn. I would have felt loved then,” versus “Oh, my God. You bought me popcorn” or “We’re having a great time.”
If you can get down to the story behind it, what you’re trying to solve by the experience, because often something that means so much to us is about a story.
This is the kind of thing that having someone else coaching you and helping you parse through this … You know, a lot of these are in our blind spot. Disappointments, I would say, of all the things that were in my blind spot, those stories, those were things that talking about it with someone who’s gifted at finding the underlying emotional need can make such a huge difference. It makes the tapping more effective, too.
If you want support, join Stress Relief on Tap and we’ll guide you as you release distress and find new ease in social, work and relationship situations!
Rick & Cathy
P.S. We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with healing disappointment below…