Let’s face it. Disappointment can be crushing. And as hard as it can be to pull yourself up from your bootstraps and march onward, you’ve just got to do it.
Spoiler alert: it has everything to do with your mindset.
You’ve got to have the right mindset to recover from disappointment in a relationship, in others, in yourself, or anything you put effort into, and it didn’t go as planned. You’re human so you’ve already experienced disappointment several times. I know. I’ve been there.
Disappointment makes you feel defeated, like you’re a failure, or sad or frustrated or angry.. I don’t want to put words in your mouth—you feel however you feel. But it’s worth acknowledging that you’re having these feelings and the disappointment that started the entire spiral of feelings is painful.
Yes, disappointment hurts.
Why Disappointment Hurts So Much
Disappointment hurts both physically and mentally. No matter how much you experience it, the pain doesn’t seem to hurt any less. You could feel tired, heavy, and numb, while others feel like the world is going too fast around them. But why does this happen? Why does it hurt?
This is really fascinating. When we’re in physical pain our body steps up and shows up for us to relieve the hurt we’re feeling by releasing endorphins. Our bodies do this instantly in response to a physical injury.
But darn it anyway, when it comes to psychological pain, like disappointment, our bodies don’t deal with it at all.
Neuroscientists discovered something obvious recently. That a neuronal “jolt” happens before every disappointment. There’s a sudden decrease in serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins.
Those feel good neurotransmitters responsible for your well-being, ditch you, leaving you to deal with the pain on your own.
Instead of the relief we crave during such occasions, many of us end up with stress symptoms such as migraines and muscular tension.
5 Ways to Move On From Disappointment
#1. Feel the Feels
Give yourself a good twenty-four hours to be sad, to be frustrated, to feel defeated. Acknowledge the disappointment, by naming and validating it.
This can help you ride the wave of disappointment, which will pass with time.
According to neuroscientist, Jill Bolte-Taylor, the lifespan of an emotion in the body and brain is 90 seconds.
This means that in 90 seconds or less, the disappointment you’re experiencing will shift and morph into something else. So, sit with that disappointment. Feel it. You are safe. It’s only 90 seconds of your life.
Now, once you’re past that 90 seconds, you’re still feeling sad or frustrated or like you got duped or any other feelings you might have. So, if you need a little pity party, you got twenty-four hours, my friend. Go there and do whatever you need to do—sleep a little extra, call a friend, cry, whatever that looks like to you—have your moment because we’re going to be moving on. But before we do, we’re not going to ignore all the emotions that are coming up for you.
#2. Ask better questions
Don’t beat yourself up and ask, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why can’t I do anything right?” “Why do I always push people away?”
What can I do differently next time?
What are the facts… what really happened here?
What can I learn from this?
This allows you to get creative based on the lessons you learned, and that way, you will always strive to do bigger and better things based on the lessons you learned in that experience. You’re not trying to live in the past, and you’re not ignoring it. You’re just saying, “All right. What can I do better next time?”
#3. Normalize it
Simply, disappointment is part of life.
Oftentimes, the build-up to disappointment is the same for all of us. Hope is great; it’s a wonderful thing that keeps us going. But it comes with a similarly great downside: disappointment. For instance, the more time we spend fantasizing about how amazing it would be to win the lottery, the greater our disappointment is when we lose.
Don’t stop dreaming, thinking that will get you out of feeling disappointment down the road. I guarantee, you’ll be disappointed years from now that you were too afraid to dream. Disappointment will find you. You can’t feel hope without knowing the flipside of disappointment. Remember, it’s what you do with the disappointment that matters.
#4. Check yourself
Manage your expectations.
When you take a good look at your expectations, you will be getting closer to a true understanding of the event. Perhaps your expectations were unrealistic. Perhaps they could be adjusted a little to cope with this new reality. Either way, now is the time to question whether these expectations actually serve you.
#5. Move Forward
The beauty of life is that there’s always tomorrow to look forward to. If an event brings you disappointment, it doesn’t mean that you should shy away from it forever. If you can, try again. Identify your next opportunity and work your way to reach it.
Start small. Remind yourself of all the great things you can accomplish.
If what you’re doing isn’t working and failure seems to be a constant in your life, perhaps it’s time to create a different game plan.
Learning how to get over disappointment is a key skill in life, and will make things much easier to accept and move on.
But remember, disappointment isn’t all that bad. In fact, it provides information about the way you view yourself, the world, and the people around you. It also helps you better understand what’s important to you.