Life doesn’t always go the way we want. Plans get canceled, relationships fade, and job interviews tank. Disappointments have been especially rampant since the Covid-19 global pandemic began. Businesses closed, schools shut down, and gatherings of all sizes and types were nixed virtually overnight for an entire year.
Most of us thought that 2021 would be a year to put the pandemic behind us. We hoped we could return to workplaces and interact with co-workers and clients. Our kids looked forward to attending in-person classes with peers and recess. But the year is over halfway over, and these events have only partially occurred, leading many to feel disappointed in the way things turned out.
How can we deal with disappointments in life? Here are a few tips to help you move on quickly when life deals you with a bad hand.
Methods for coping with disappointment
- Realize that disappointment happens to everyone. This helps normalize the unpleasant occurrence. Remember that the world isn’t picking on you; everyone feels disappointed at one time or another. It’s a universal, albeit unpleasant, experience.
- Reframe the situation. The frame that a person views a situation through determines their perspective. Change the way you look at the disappointment to improve your outlook. For example, if your workplace is switching to more work from home days than before the pandemic and you’d like a full return five days a week, you could reframe the situation to embrace the aspects of a home-based office that you enjoy. Less time at the office means more time wearing comfy trainers on company time, more makeup-free days, etc.
- Change your self-talk. Come on, admit it – you talk to yourself. We all do, and what say can have a big impact. Stop repeating negative phrases in your mind like “This is the worst thing that can happen,” or “I will never get over this.” Instead, replace those thoughts with “Well, that happened. Now I need to figure out my next steps,” or “Disappointment happens to everyone, but it doesn’t have to stop me from moving on with my life.” Your mind can only handle one thought at a time, so switch to a positive thought as soon as you detect a negative one getting stuck on repeat.
- Make a plan. I love plans. They’re empowering and usually involve an actionable list. Writing down your plan is a great way to visualize how you will move on from the disappointment and helps you see a (not too distant) future past its negative effects. Making a step-by-step plan can break down the process of moving on into smaller, more manageable pieces. Carrying out your plan gives you something to do and helps carry you through the disappointing circumstance more quickly.
Whenever you’re faced with a disappointment in life, remember that it happens to all of us. Everyone, no matter how successful, famous, or secure, will experience circumstances that didn’t turn out in their favor. The key to regaining your own happiness is to recognize that the disappointment happened and then chart a course through the unpleasant sensations to help yourself move through it.