Despite what you may read and see, everyone experiences disappointment.
There’s no avoiding it. You win some and lose some. Health changes. You fall short on goals. Circumstances conspire to prevent desired outcomes.
An article in Psychology Today by Dr. Melanie Greenberg described strategies for overcoming setbacks. I jotted down some thoughts about her guidance.
- Face the truth. Every disappointment deserves assessment. Some get stuck at extremes. They ignore or avoid the truth of a situation so it persists. Or they exaggerate the situation so it consumes more energy than it deserves. The truth is somewhere in between. So, don’t avoid. Deal. Problems don’t age well. Get a real grasp on the truth.
- Allow yourself to mourn. The higher the stakes, the stronger the disappointment. Expect it to take time to take it in. Expect it to take time to disperse. Resist having resentment and regret fuel the disappointment. It’s real, but it will pass.
- Don’t become a victim. Failure isn’t fatal. Mistakes are made every day. You become a victim when your failure becomes your identity.
- Set a path forward. As soon as you can, establish what is important given the setback and set out in pursuit of it. If you find yourself disappointed with no plan, however big or small the plan, you are drifting toward being a victim. Get up, take a step. It’s the beginning of “better”.
- Be kind to yourself. Despite what critics say, you have resources, talents, experiences, ideas and goals which you can draw upon to move away from disappointment. What you do for yourself is important. Make it positive. Affirming. Loving.
- Look for a silver lining. You can learn from every setback. Adopt a strategy that you will mine every setback for the silver lining. Every time.
- Be willing to try something new. If you don’t like what just happened, chances are some change is in order. What will you do differently? Go down a different street? Acquire a new skill? Take on different partners? Continuing in the same way isn’t logical. Embrace change.
- Be gritty. Those whose difficulties have formed constructive approaches to disappointment like those described above become an expert at overcoming. It will fuel your resolve every time disappointment raises its head. Get real. Get up. Get going. That’s what gritty people do.