Disappointment, Dissatisfaction, Disillusionment, Despondency
I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love, than to be a success at something you hate.George Burns
Disappointment No matter how good our life is we all are prone to disappointment, when our thoughts & expectations are not fulfilled. So called "failure" or fear of failure may feed our disappointment. Disappointment is a part of life - essential for us to grow & succeed, learn what is in our control. Learning to feel disappointed when we need to feel this, allowing it to wash through, understanding what's not in our control, may help us be resilient and focus. Some of our disappointment, dissatisfaction, may associated with experiences we had when younger - wounding us at some level and these wounds may get triggered now believing we are not good enough, when we become easily disappointed, as if there are no other options. We may also fear disappointing, hurting, upsetting or annoying our partner. The counselling & psychotherapy can explore the impact of our disappointment further, alongside fully understanding the nature, sources & reasons of our disappointments (including the role of disidentification), how to manage disappointment, disidentifying from it when we need to, not always taking disappointment personally, so we don't blame ourselves. The therapy may also explore our feelings, any hurt, pain, what we need to learn and how we can ask for what we need, including in our relationship.
Our Expectations, Assumptions Whether we see it or not, we all have expectations (and usually assumptions) for ourselves and others. Our healthy expectations are about how we allow others to treat us, define our boundaries, ground rules. Important expectations help direct our journey in life and relationships. They can also challenge us to improve ourselves. Clearly communicating these realistic expectations, adjusting unreasonable ones, can be challenging. Some of the unrealistic or imagined expectations we hold on to may go back a long way. Some of us may continue to live out expectations our parents had for us (see Impact Of Our Past). All of us have expectations about how we would like things to happen, and we can become disappointed or frustrated when they don't. Anticipating our future discomfort, we may see tasks ahead of us as onerous, dreading them, which become self-fulfilling. We may struggle to accept others, situations as they are. Some of our expectations now, may have been learnt from our family & cultural background (see also Impact Of Our Past). Our confidence & esteem may also shape our expectations. When others don't give approval, affirmation, reassurance, recognition, validation, appreciation, praise, permission or confirmation, this too can render us disappointed. The burden of expectation may render us disappointed. What we anticipate may not come to fruition. (We may believe that we or others "should", "shouldn't", "ought", "must", "never", "always" be a certain way.) We can become hypercritical, judgemental, punitive & disparaging (of us and others), which may not only lead to disappointment but to regret, anger, even boredom, which compounds our disappointment. No other person can meet all our needs. Our expectations (even our unconscious ones) may be unrealistic or unreasonable, and when they are unmet, we become disappointed. And when disappointed, dissatisfied, some of us believe the world should be the way we see it, and when we get too fixed & rigid in our thinking, we end up being further disappointed, unhappy or depressed, because events around us don't fit our mental picture, disconfirm our expectations or our need for something perfect, especially if we are very competitive. Disappointed, we may also struggle with allowing ourselves not to know things or be curious. Some of us can worry so much about getting our expectations met or what we perceive others expect of us, that we become very anxious, especially if we are trying to be right, persuade others, change or control them. We may no longer want to carry the weight of our expectations, as this affects us, holding them lightly, not having any expectations at times, accepting us as we are - that we are enough, restoring & holding hope.
Expectations & Hopes Some of our high hopes may automatically lead to high expectations. And in order to feel less disappointed we may want to hold our high hopes, yet consider lowering our high expectations, so they are more realistic, accepting ourselves as we are. We may want to explore our states of both hope and hopelessness. (See also Accepting Others, Situations)
Holding On To Expectations Life has its successes & reverses. Holding all or or nothing thinking, some of us may also expect things, even though we get disappointed. Letting go of certain expectations and no longer sabotage things so events confirm our expectations (see also Repetition Compulsion) can be challenging yet reduce stress, frustration, unhelpful self-beliefs (formed by the dominant thoughts of our expectations). We may be puzzled why others, or the world, continue to let us down, especially if we are trying so hard to please others or fix things. We may have expectations & fantasies about how we should be in the world and others. In our relationships we may expect more than is possible in a person, we may idealise our partner, and be disappointed when they let us down (see Relationship Expectations, Assumptions & Disappointments) which may also be true of our sexual experiences so far. Believing we deserve something, some of us may always want more than we can get expanding our "to do" lists, we may also overlook acknowledging, appreciating what we have already done, accomplished. We may want to explore responding to our needs differently or wonder what it might be like to have less expectations and whether this affects our understanding & empathy with people, as we get in touch with cultivating our compassion - not just for a few people, but in a wider sense. Some of us may struggle not to have certain expectations or to allow ourselves to at least have some hope. We may struggle differentiating between our expectation & entitlement (see also Mind Reading - Jumping To Conclusions, Fortune Telling, Believing Our Beliefs). Others may be in touch with their expectations, which underneath point to their deep longing or yearning. Considering the range of possibilities in the many ways of seeing, doing things, embracing alternative ways, freshly learning not only what works for us, but for others, may release us from holding tightly onto redundant expectations (one of these may be to expect others to take responsibility for our feelings). Counselling & psychotherapy can explore how helpful & accurate it is to place our disappointments upon others, situations (see also Accepting Others, Situations) and what happens when we view disappointment as being connected to our emotional response & expectations, which we have created. The therapy may also explore how realistic and appropriate both our wanted and unwanted expectations are alongside seeing what happens if we approach life, others and ourself more through exploration.
Do not lose faith in humanity... If a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.Mahatma Gandhi
Effects Of Being Disappointed Our disappointment can have a healthy component - enabling us to be more realistic, learn what we need to learn. For some it can be as if we only have one template for responding to disappointment. When negative events, disappointment, personal hurt, pain, shame or sadness takes hold of us, we can find it hard to pick ourselves up again - "what's the point?" we may say. The therapy can support us in rising after a fall, being resilient. Wallowing in disappointment, dissatisfaction, can keep us stuck, lost. Some of us may be devastated, depressed, as if our soul is slowly withering away. Holding on to resentment, bitterness, grievances, grudges, regrets, wounded pride, our unhealed wounds, we may have a sense of impending doom. Staying disappointed may affect our ability to make decisions, act in the world, and be creative. Our vitality may weaken as we allow our disappointment to become bigger than us. Some may hold a sense of disappointment lurking in the background - believing we are always missing out on things, or that others are responsible for our needs. This may go back a long time and it can be challenging to release us from our past. (We may take our personal disappointment into our relationship or place them onto our partner.) Some may turn to unhelpful habits or addictions. Our disappointment can be compounded by spending our time asserting that we are right, that everyone else is wrong, or by believing that we are always wrong. At times we may feel like a victim. If we are let down it may be devastating for us. Some of our discontentment may point to a sense of aloneness, loneliness or alienation. In an uncertain world we may believe we can control others, outcomes & know what is going to happen. No matter how much we planned, expected, hoped for things to turn out, events don't always go the way we believe they should have. Having an attitude of preferring something to happen, even though something else has happened, may reduce our disappointment. We may have dreamt of the perfect life, a harmonious relationship, happy family life, fulfilling work, yet our life doesn't turn out like this and we may struggle to respect, honour our life, vulnerability, the imperfections of us and others around us. We can choose to procrastinate, resist or embrace things, going more with the flow, improvising, exploring alternatives, so when things don't go as planned, hoped for, we can also wonder what we might need to learn, what we could have done differently. We may have a need to find other ways to manage or let go of our disappointment. It may be a challenge to keep our heart open, acknowledging our sufferings & disappointments, the counselling & psychotherapy can help us compassionately let in our disappointment & loss and let go of unhelpful ways in which these disappointments inhibit our full potential. Choosing to be open, in touch with our courage & enthusiasm may be a further challenge, as may making peace with our disappointments, putting them to rest, so they no longer pervade our life, that we can be more in the moment with what is happening, rather than what should have happened. These responses may support our peace of mind.
A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.Sidney J. Harris
Cynicism & Sarcasm are understandable responses to certain experiences and can be corrosive to us and others around us, yet our cynicism & sarcasm is not who we are. We may struggle to distinguish healthy scepticism (see also Healthy Side Of Doubt) from cynicism. And we may use cynical put-downs or sarcasm to hide our disappointment. Demoralised, we can get stuck in our disappointment ("I don't deserve this"), dissatisfaction, despondency or disillusionment or ultimate cynicism. We may be unable to respond differently, flourish, be flexible & resilient. Behind our cynicism we may be shy, experiencing a covert form of depression. And when cynical we may become angry, bitter, struggle with being creative. We may devalue who we (or others) are, as if we or others are unacceptable and we may metaphorically beat ourselves or others up. Denying our inner fears we may also use our negativity & pessimism to prevent us getting hurt. We would rather inflict our attitude onto others - hurting them. Our cynical heart may have become closed, as we become disheartened, easily bored, aloof or hard to reach, sulk at times. Our pessimism may weigh heavily against our optimism. Used to complaining or being cynical, we may have difficulties trusting, seeing goodness in others, giving them the benefit of the doubt, allowing for surprises however small, be spontaneous. We may also struggle to have vitality, be curious, appreciate things, choose to have gratitude, enjoy life's pleasures, nurture relationships. Our sarcasm (maybe initially an amusing, endearing character trait, e.g. when expressing our opinions about public issues) may have a distancing effect on us & others (e.g. being competitive in the relationship or marriage) and we may want to look at other productive ways of communicating, rather than being sarcastic. When overused our sarcasm can be a way of withholding, withdrawing. Some may be stuck with a sense of achieving what they have wanted to achieve and wonder "What now?" or "Why bother?" Exploring our relationship style, being open to the range of other primary & secondary feelings, our vulnerability, grief we haven't let go of, no longer crushing anything good, opening our heart again, being kind, in touch with our desire, practising appreciation, gratefulness and gratitude (even for small things, just six times a day, holding the benefits of hope), may be a challenge.
Illusions, Disillusionment When we are disillusioned, we've lost our illusions - maybe that life isn't how we saw it, imagined, hoped for (e.g. we can't obtain a lasting period of happiness or believe that suffering should not exist). We may respond to disillusionment in negative ways, maybe even feel bitter, yet we can also own our own helplessness over others, outcomes, accept our illusions with wisdom. This may entail learning to bear the collapse of our illusions: the pressure we put on ourself to be happy, the weighting we put on to things, having meaning in our life and the belief that we shouldn't suffer our disillusionment. As we acknowledge our self deception, embracing that it is a collapse of the endless pursuit of happiness and meaning, we may recognise that it is the reality we had and not our Self that needs to collapse. As we learn to bear our disillusionment it may dissolve, when we live from our conscious free will in the moment.
We can't go over it. We can't go under it. Oh no! We've got to go through it!Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury
Disappointed About Being Disappointed Disappointment, however intense, is only an experience. At least if we are disappointed, we care. We may also become disappointed about being disappointed, stuck in our pain as our spirit drains. Unfulfilled, some of the wounds we carry may be very old. Our disappointment may also mask our envy or jealousy, especially if we compare us to others - usually unfavourably. Not being the author of our own life may also trigger our disappointment.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails.Mark Twain
Underlying Symptoms Of Disappointment Our disappointment, despondency or disillusionment may point to letting others, ourself down by not standing up for ourself, not looking after ourself, unfulfilled aspirations, something not quite right, we may always want more or something different ("is this it", we may ask) - life's limitations, the continuous little deaths we face in life, our grief (including letting go of disappointment, forgiveness), existential concerns or seeking deeper meaning. Disappointment often can't be "cured", nor may life's mundaneness, and our challenge may be finding ways to be with this, accepting of "what is", grow & prosper through it. The counselling and psychotherapy may involve listening to what disappoints us, what we do with it and how else we might want to respond to it, and working with the effects of our unconscious can also be included.
Staying Blocked In Disappointment, Discontentment Sometimes we may not be where we want to be, and this can create discontentment. (Catastrophasising, awfulising, as a magical belief we may worry or expect disappointment to stop bad things happening.) Being content, so we don't have to be anywhere other than where we are & we are meant to be, creating the best possibilities, may support us. Our discontentment, dejection, can block anything good or positive thoughts. Choosing to unblock them, relaxing (allowing our mind to expand, heart to open) be in the moment, may support us.
Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source.Anais Nin
Counselling For Disappointment The therapy for disappointment explores the reality of some of our disappointment, what keeps us disappointed, what else may lay behind our disappointment, how we can keep faith, open to opportunities, as if we catch them like waves.
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