How many times in our lives have we felt disappointed? Why do we experience this feeling often? Is there anything we can do to lower our disappointments?

These are some of the questions I ask myself from time to time.  Usually it is when I get disappointed, whether at something or someone.  I have always been able to relate disappointment with expectation.  It is when you expect a certain behaviour or a particular outcome and you do not end up getting what you hoped for or anticipated.

Sometimes our expectations are too high and we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment.  And sometimes we are too excited about something we do not have control over and when it does not happen, we are so heart-broken.

I am not saying not to have any expectations.  I am just saying be careful what you expect, from who, and to what extent.

The majority of our disappointments are in the people we love.  It is because you love them so much that you hurt so much when they disappoint you. We can be disappointed because we didn’t think that such behaviour would come out of them.  We expected better than that.  It can be because they made us believe that they are worthy of that high expectation and it can be because we wanted to believe in them so much for our own personal gain. We are let down when they do not meet the image we created for them in our minds.

So who is to blame, the people who disappoint us or US?

I believe every one needs to take responsibility.  Before we start to point fingers at others, let us look at ourselves first and be confronted with our part in it.  For example, if you put a lot of faith in the one you love and you put them on such a high pedestal – when they let you down – and it is natural that they do – you will be so hurt and so upset with that person because they did not meet your expectation.  It is almost like you expected them to be Perfect – and we know that no one is ‘PERFECT’, but we want to see perfection anyway …. no wonder we will constantly get disappointed.  We are not realistic at times.  We do not think of what can go wrong.  We are not mentally prepared to deal with the negative situations.  The easiest thing to do is to blame it on someone – isn’t that what most of us do when we get disappointed? Do you ever say to yourself: “I needed to lower my expectation of this person, I am a little unfair and unrealistic.”

‘I am Disappointed in you’ is such a harsh statement.  I have said it too many times in my lifetime and whenever I say it now, I am conscious of the effect these couple of words will have on the person I am saying it to.  So it is better to say: “I am disappointed.” rather than “I am disappointed in you”

When you think about it for a second, you will see that there is a difference in both statements.  The first one takes ownership in the way the person feels.  While the second, refers to a feeling of one person directed at another and the effect is much greater in creating a defensive environment.  Let us put ourselves in that person’s shoes.  If you are being told in your face that you disappointed someone – how would you react? How would you feel at that moment?  Well, if it were me, I would get defensive.  I would deny I did anything wrong and I would find a million excuses and reasons and in the end I might put the blame back on the person to get even and not feel so horrible about myself.  How many of you would react this way?? Unless I am weird – I think quite a few people would behave this way.

It’s funny, these little things we do not take the time to think about.  A couple of words that describe how we feel and the effect it may have on the people around us.

So how do we stop feeling disappointed? I do not think we can stop it because it is human nature to want something and sometimes want things that are unattainable and almost impossible to fulfill. Although I always say – nothing is impossible – so let me stick to ‘unrealistic’ instead.

In my opinion, people will always let you down, they cannot meet your expectations – at least not all of them.  And that is ok.  So why put yourself through heartache? You know you do not have control over what people do or say.  No matter how close you think you are to someone, don’t get too comfortable – they can still disappoint you if you expect too much of them.  They are human beings at the end of the day – they will make mistakes, they will do things they regret eventually, they will hurt you without intention and you must be ready for that.  You must know where to draw the line between being human therefore forgiving the person for hurting you versus being vicious and abusive therefore stay away from that person and cut them out of your life for your own good. Sometimes it is necessary to cut people off even when they do not mean to hurt you, they can just be self-destructive and you still need to protect yourself from such behaviour.

Be careful not to confuse which situation you are dealing with.  You do not want to regret misjudging the person and acting too harshly because they did not meet your expectations; that they knew nothing about from the beginning. It was all a creation of your imagination.  So be fair.  Someone out there is having an expectation of you – wouldn’t you feel so much pressure in order to live up to that ‘ideal person’ they have created in their minds….. about YOU!!

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