Dealing with disappointment
Disappointment is something we all face on a regular basis. Whether it’s someone close to us letting us down or a situation beyond our control causing frustration, the problem with disappointment is that it can overwhelm you, and feel like there is nothing you can do but ride it out.
Change of plans
Recently, I had a major trip planned, a halfway-across-the-world kind of a trip. Because of a few things which were beyond anyone’s control, I ended up having to travel home long before I had planned to be back. As I sat in the airport waiting for the flight that was to bring me home, the disappointment I had been warding off began to sink in.
Frustration and focus
Because I was 5,000 miles from home, it was tough to come up with a way to cope with how I was feeling. I also had the burden of feeling selfish for being upset at something that no one could have foreseen. I kept reminding myself that everything happens for a reason and that, despite how I was feeling, no one had been grievously injured which was a good thing.
In the short term, I found some comfort in listening to music and focusing on what was going on around me rather than thinking about what might have been. As a short term coping strategy, it worked, and I was less focused on feeling frustrated and sad. But I knew it wasn’t all I had to do to make sure the disappointment didn’t overwhelm me. I knew I had to come up with a longer-term tactic to deal with how I was feeling.
Dealing with it your own way
When I got back to Ireland, I decided to stay off the radar for the length of time that should have been my trip. I needed to spend sometime by myself, to let my feelings settle down. I let a small circle of people know the situation I was in and how I was feeling, which I found worked better than sending out a general message to everyone announcing my premature return and having to deal with texts and calls.
It also gave me time to come to terms with my disappointment about having to come home early, and get passed it. I found myself getting back into my hobbies– photography and writing. I could express myself and to escape into another world; whether the world through a macro lens or an imagined faraway universe.
Focusing on the positives
Those of my friends who did know were very supportive of me de-stressing and enjoying a few days’ peace. I got the chance to enjoy my family and close-friends’ company without the regular day-to-day pressures. That really helped remind me what’s important and went a ways to make up for the opportunity missed.
I guess what they say is true – each time a door closes, a window opens. It might be hard to believe straight away, but disappointment does pass, and you never know what good things might come out of a change of plans.