From our first moment, we are absorbing information, accumulating experiences. We make sense of how these parts fit into each other by creating stories. This story needs constant editing. Sometimes we are wrong. Sometimes our chances don’t pay off. Sometimes things just change. Disappointment is coming face to face with that gap. It is not unusual, not unnatural, not a reflection of our worth. We need to find a way to navigate away from the ease of hate.
Rage is a common reaction. “I’m supposed to let him/her/them get away with it?” Yes. Whoever it is, whatever it is. That question is about revenge. Whatever wrong has been done to you, revenge will never set right. It’s not the only way forward. It is not even an actual way forward.
Disappointment hurts the ego (though who we are doesn’t have to do with what we thought about the world). Rage fools us into feeling like we’re regaining control. It lets us feel hard done by without having to take our share of responsibility for what went wrong. Vindictiveness lets us pin the blame for our feelings on others.
But punishment does not ‘right the balance’. Attacking someone else does not protect our world from being ravaged by that feeling again. Arguing for the right to be angry doesn’t help us. And to close ourselves from feeling (or “not having expectations”) is akin to starving ourselves of the richness of living. Any reaction that lets us feel self-righteous or entitled to something we aren’t getting, limits us.
There are lessons in disappointment though we need to be in a place to learn. The lesson is not a consolation prize or even healing balm for feeling the sting of disappointment. Don’t be in a hurry to collect it. This might be a time to consider if it’s really a wrong or it’s someone living their best life, which bothers you.
If we’ve been knocked off our course, it’s okay to need time to heal and collect ourselves first. Healing can only happen within (not by correcting some external imbalance). Only we can heal ourselves and it’ll never be by attacking another.
Disappointment is such a hard teacher but its lessons are so deep.
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