Once you recognize your ego’s fears from my last post: What’s Underneath Your Disappointment, you may be wondering – how do you not feel internal stress, or pain around what genuinely disappoints you, and stand up for what matters to you?
Managing our disappointment around circumstances requires that practice of taking responsibility that we do our best, and whatever mistakes happen are there for us to grow. We stop complaining, blaming, and justifying because you can see the gift to move on constructively.
Pay attention to critical or judgmental thoughts against yourself – these are powerful weapons that will keep you feeling stuck e.g.”What’s wrong with me? How could I have done that? I’m so stupid!” Instead, practice being your own best friend. Think the thoughts of what your greatest champions, and cheerleaders who believe in you would tell you. If these friends don’t exist, find new ones.
The real challenge happens when someone you love,
and care about has disappointed you.
It can feel easier to swallow our disappointment. Numb ourselves. Avoid saying what you need to say. If you’ve been accused of things that are untrue, feel misunderstood, or deeply hurt, where do you put all that energy when you sense speaking up will only result in conflict or already has?
Silence when you don’t agree sends a mixed message: it’s ok to behave this way – when inside it’s not.
It’s decision time. Do you want to grow with this person? How important are they in your life? When it comes to our partner, and children figuring out how to use your disappointments to grow together is the secret to a lasting healthy connection. With friends – we get to choose, and question – are we bringing out the best in each other or does this disappointment signal we’re growing apart?
We have less choice when it comes to the family we were born into, including the built-in ‘familiar culture’ of what’s acceptable, so this is where we can feel most disappointed because it’s here we often want, but don’t have space to be ourselves.
There’s no requirement that you have to spend oodles of time with your family. Sometimes saying no to family gatherings is a great choice, or keeping a healthy surface relationship is an option if they drain you!
But for the ones you choose to surround yourself with – the cost of holding back your true self when disappointment shows up is what shuts down the opportunity to grow together because you are choosing not to let this person into your soul – the heart of what matters to you.
Spiritual growth is the spark that keeps
your connections loving, alive and well.
Is there a safe space to share your anger? Your sadness? Your disappointment or is the reaction you’re getting (blame, and judgment) blocking you from communicating what’s authentic?
I ask myself: does this person believe in me? To what extent? Do they see who I am at my core? Have I done my best to communicate, and LISTEN in a way that was safe for the other person to share what’s going on for them? Do I understand what drives them, and what they stand for? Is it in alignment with who I am? The answers to these questions have helped me know when to walk away, distance myself, and consciously manage whatever space exists between us.
There’s a strong tendency to accomodate what isn’t working for us because anyone we care about can easily justify their behaviour, and we tell ourselves “its because I love this person, and need to accept them unconditionally – I can’t change them.” NO – this is not what it means to love unconditionally!
There a slight, but massive distinction between choosing to accept, and love what you don’t agree with, knowing you both face the same direction while trusting you have each other’s back no matter what ugliness shows up. We don’t necessarily grow at the same pace, AND we experience life differently, so instead of ‘putting up with’ or ‘accommodating with resentment’, the energy of unconditional love is one of serenity not sacrifice of what you cannot change (how someone else responds that disappoints us).
When someone disappoints you, and their justification is: “I do this because I love you. I think this way because I worry about you or I don’t worry because I trust you. I need this, and it will only take a moment!” Look deeper.
Answer these questions for yourself: Does love feel like that for you? Does worrying make sense in that situation? Is this a moment you are willing to give or are you being imposed upon? Check within – is this working for me? If not, speak up, and share WHY it’s not.
Feeling disappointed your partner is acting in a way you’ve talked about a hundred times? If it keeps repeating, the true feelings under the disappointment are not being addressed nor understood. Is it disrespect? Loneliness? Lack of connection? Something keeps getting stepped on.
Defining HOW you value something is critical when you feel disappointed. What are you not ok with? Defining the boundaries, and determining what’s reasonable is a necessary, but often painful process to walk through.
Rob & Kristen Bell in their new book “The Zim Zum of Love” provide a great perspective to hold during disappointing situations. Your partner gives you another set of eyes. Be in a space of gratitude for your different perspectives, and ask ‘help me see what I’m not seeing’.
I used to get frustrated, when my husband wouldn’t call me when he arrived at a destination during his business travels. It felt disrespectful because I cared about his safety. His logic was “unless you hear otherwise, just assume I’m fine! I forget or I was busy trying to get to a meeting etc.”
I pushed back, and kept reminding him because I’d explained my WHY, and now had expectations, which led to disappointment. So after many years of asking, and reminding, I stopped so I no longer needed to feel disappointed or worry about his safety. I gave into what worked for him even though it didn’t work for me. The cost? A part of me stopped caring, and became apathetic when he travelled.
I also stopped calling when I’d reach a destination, since it wasn’t relevant for him. Why bother letting him know when he assumes I’ll be fine? It worked for him, but there was a disconnect we weren’t addressing. One day I told him the truth, “I no longer miss you when you travel.” Was he OK with that?
It didn’t feel right within me – plus I was starting to get attention from other people I needed to feel connected so the real conversation began. Many more followed – a roller coaster ride – not just on this topic, but many others because how you do one thing is how you do everything. Today I get the text he’s not only arrived, but a “luv u” to top it off! Needless to say, we stay more connected during his travel days : )
To test a value, I will sometimes replace a situation of disagreement with our children. Would you be ok if our child decides not let us know when they’ve reached their destination? Would you be ok if our child started smoking occasionally in social settings, but not at home? Would you be ok if our child used that tone of voice with you?
With those closest to us, we’re invested in growing together, which means sharing your genuine emotions, and dealing with them head on. There will be times we must agree to disagree, and allow each of us to be ourselves without condemning one another, but now our expectations will match who they are, not who we want them to be.
Being willing to face your disappointments on both sides opens up what you both need. Listening to where we may be disappointing others without judging ourselves as wrong, and voicing what needs are not being met without making someone else wrong opens the door to grow authentically together.
You want to be loved for who you are not who you need to be for others. You also want to love someone for who they are not who you need them to be. This is the dance of unconditional love that your disappoints can illuminate.
Your greatest gift shows up here – a deeper love, and connection – emotionally, mentally, and intimately (spiritually, and with your partner – sexually!) because it allows you to fully show up in all the ways you can give, and receive : )
What are you willing to say you need? What are you not expressing that isn’t working for you? Share in the comments below.
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