We all experience disappointments in life. Some disappointments are harder than others to deal with and let go of. It can be even harder to let go of a disappointment when our loved ones don’t fully grasp the weight and the metaphorical scar the disappointment has left on us. When we don’t get the support we need from others, we can get stuck and keep reliving or ruminating on the disappointment. We can also develop a habit of wearing our disappointments as a badge of honor, that we display to others as means of getting the recognition or affirmation that we survived something so disappointing that left a lasting mark.
Sometimes it’s easy to let go of our disappointments and other times it can be difficult. When we feel as though we had no power in the situation it can be harder to let go of the disappointment. Anniversaries for the past situation have a way of causing us to remember the details of the situation that caused us to feel disappointment. When you start to recount the disappointing situation, ask yourself, “what do I get from holding on to this disappointment?” and “Do I feel safe or unsafe because of it?” It can be helpful to reflect on what we get from recounting our disappointment, and why it’s rewarding to hold on to the memory of something that disappointed us. If we don’t spend time reflecting on what we’re getting out of it, it can be easy to stay stuck, feel powerless, and to never let the disappointment go. Another question you can ask yourself is “am I happier or sadder because I am carrying this disappointment?”
We all have the power to choose how we deal with disappointments in the present and future. Sometimes acknowledging that we have the power to choose how we deal with the after effects is enough to help us heal and let it go. Please know that there is support available through friends, family or counselors, and even though they may not fully grasp that gravity of the pain from the disappointment, they are still able and willing to support you with healing and reclaiming your power.
Photo by Blake Connally
Christina is a Psychotherapist in private practice in Oakland California.