5 Ways to Handle Disappointment

I love and hate, anticipation. Truthfully, on the one hand anticipation keeps us moving forward while on the other hand it can leave us disappointed if not handled well.

We all anticipate the future. Some of us anticipate the best (hello optimists) while others anticipate the worst (hello pessimists)! And then there are the realists which are really just pessimists in disguise. Can you tell I am an optimist?

We all know what it is to anticipate something and have it not happen. Whether it was a job we wanted to get, a relationship we saw panning out, a promotion coming our way, or a diagnoses from the doctor going differently than anticipated, we all have had to deal with disappointment. And if you haven’t yet wait a few years, heck wait a couple of days. At some point in time we all deal with disappointment.

So, here are 5 healthy ways to deal with disappointment:

  1. Trust in the Lord

When we navigate disappointment for many of us we arrive in one of two places. Either we are going to trust ourselves, our strength, and our wisdom, or we are going to trust the Lord. The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” When your disappointed you must lean into Him. You and I will fail. People will fail you. Church won’t always handle it perfect. The only one who won’t fail you’s name is Jesus.

2. Learn from each disappointment

You must keep yourself in a constant state of learning. This is generally a good posture for life but in this instance is a must. Learn about yourself. Learn about the situation. Learn about others. Learn about God. In general be looking to learn especially in disappointment so that you can make better decisions next time around when you begin to anticipate again. If you don’t learn you are doomed to repeat your disappointment. Learning is the only way out!

3. Gain Perspective

This isn’t just about learning a few things but about changing your position. When most folks are disappointed they allow it to drag them down. They will sulk or be frustrated and it positions them poorly. When you go through a disappointing time or season you need to learn to allow that to elevate you and not drag you down. It is in climbing higher that you will gain a new perspective on your life, that situation, or that circumstance. The Bible says, “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will mount up on wings like eagles…” Eagles soar high and have a different perspective than other animals, even other birds. Allow disappointment to be the air under your wings to carry you to a new perspective!

4. Guard Your Heart

Too many folks get wounded permantely by disappointment and they make all of their future decisions from a place of fear. I have met people that never try anything new again because one time they took a risk and fell flat on their face. They have been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, and earned the scars to prove it. They were married once before and it didn’t work out so they vow to never get married again. They got turned down from a promotion and felt rejected so they settle for the job they have. Too many have resolved to never risk ever again and believe that somehow that will keep them from being disappointed ever again.

The Bible says simply, “Guard your heart. Out of it flow all the issues of life” Don’t allow one situation or circumstance to wound you so deeply that you never dare try anything great again. Guard your heart from disappointment.

5. Manage Expectations

This is huge. This doesn’t mean lower your expectations or even “play and prepare to lose”. NO! This is all about going in prepared and anticipating with realistic expectations. What I mean by this is: If I am going to square off against Bubba Watson in golf I can anticipate and prepare to win but unless he breaks his leg and plays one handed he is going to beat me. He plays golf everyday for a living and is one of the best in the world. I need to manage my expectations in this instance because I have not paid the price he has paid on the driving range, practice green, or on the golf course. It is foolish for me to believe I will win. I could manage my expectation from “I am going to win” to “I am going to play golf with one of the best in the world and will learn all that I can”.

Now to flip that illustration. It is not unrealistic for me to anticipate winning at just about anything with my kids. They are all under 6 and don’t have coordination to keep up with me any way. Just kidding but you get the point. But seriously I will beat them. Lol.

How do you deal with disappointment or was there a time in your life where you were disappointed? I’d love to hear about it. Comment below and let me know.