How To Overcome Disappointments And Emerge Stronger From Them

5 keys to get psychologically strengthened after a disappointment.

Who has not experienced that knot in the stomach when feeling that a person we trusted has disappointed us? Why do many people end up shutting themselves up and not believing in people? Is it true that no one can be trusted?

For a disappointment to happen, we must have previously built an expectation. “I didn’t expect this from you”, “I thought you would do this for me”, etc.

We value people’s behavior to the extent that it fits with our beliefs about how someone should behave within that role: our mother has to be loving and understanding, our father protective and strong, our partner can only have eyes for us and our friends always have to “be there.” If this behavior goes beyond what we consider appropriate, we get angry, disappointed, saddened and even get the feeling that we do not know the person in front of us.

Why? Because we do not relate to people as they are, but as we think they are, or worse, as we want them to be. We idealize, project, devalue and therefore we do not relate in a real way, but in a fantasized way. However, there are useful strategies to overcome disappointments in the best possible way.

Controlling expectations

The first step in protecting ourselves from the unpleasant feeling of being disappointed is not to set too high expectations for the people we associate with. Not expecting too much from people does not have to do with the pessimistic idea that “everyone is going to fail us”, but with trying to see the person as they are and not as we want them to be, and accept that certain decisions or behaviors that you adopt as a free person that you are, we may not like them.

Secondly, we must avoid projections and overgeneralizations regarding our past experiences. The  disappointments and breaches of trust that we have suffered long ago have nothing to do with our present reality, and putting a wall on ourselves as a defensive mechanism in the face of future disappointments will only serve to distance us from society and consequently feel alone and live through fear. .

Even so, it is likely that throughout our lives we will suffer from betrayal, lies or damage caused by a loved one or a person we consider to be trusted. What to do if we find ourselves in this situation?

1. Regulate the emotions that arise as a result of disappointment

Faced with disappointment, emotions related to sadness, fear, anger or frustration appear. It is important to learn to identify them, experience them, and regulate them in a healthy way so that they do not become chronic or turn against us. It is also necessary to give ourselves our space to cry and release the anger that has occurred in the face of the unexpected situation.

2. Talk about our feelings

We must also verbalize our feelings before a trusted person, and if necessary, with the person who has made the “offense” so that he understands our emotions.

We have to assess and weigh if we want that person to continue to be part of our life, or if, on the contrary, we prefer to continue on our way without them. In both one and the other option, it is important to  work on forgiveness so that the emotion does not lead to a resentment that only poisons us.

3. Begin to see disappointment as learning

Once the whirlwind of emotions that we have felt due to disappointment has passed, it is important that we carry out a self-examination or introspection to monitor if the image that we had built of that person was distorted, and if we have a tendency to idealize our interpersonal relationships.

Disappointment also reminds us that relationships are constantly changing and that we have to accept the uncontrollability of them, as well as the behavior of those around us.

4. Trust people again

There are disappointments that are so painful to us that we have the feeling that we will never be able to place our trust in anyone again, and as protection we run the risk of becoming unapproachable, distrustful, paranoid, or unfair to the people around us.

No one can assure us that our loved ones will not “fail” us, but accepting the possibility and enjoying the relationship in the present is the smartest option.

“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as honest as possible. Having real conversations with people seems to be such a simple and obvious proposition, but it takes courage and risk ”Thomas Moore. 

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