Disappointment is, literally, failing to keep an appointment. Which is why I think it hurts a little more than the other bumps and bruises of life.
When you feel disappointed, you are feeling deprived of something you thought was already in motion. If you’re feeling like you have an “appointment” with a promotion or a successful presentation or a new love, having that thing not work out is especially crushing because it was kind of a done deal inside your mind.
And that old saw about “don’t get your hopes up, and that way you won’t get disappointed,” is the biggest bunch of hooey I’ve ever heard.
First of all, it’s a bad strategy because it plain doesn’t.
If something you want doesn’t work out, you’re going to be bummed whether or not you had anticipated the failure.
And missing an opportunity to have delightfully high hopes seems. . . churlish.
I understand the impulse to say, “I just don’t want to get hurt again.” But guess what? You’re here to get hurt.
We’re here to try again. and again. and again. We’re here to gain resiliency.
So I say go ahead — get your hopes up. Dream big, lush, vivid dreams. Imagine your ideal of success with the full knowledge that reality may never measure up.
Then when things do work out, you haven’t wasted one moment tamping down your enthusiasm. And if they don’t work out, well, then, you are free to feel the full force of your disappointment. Which may or may not be as bad as you had imagined it might be.
I bet that if you stacked up all your disappointments you would you would find that very few of them make you think, “Oh, I wish I hadn’t even tried that.” I bet you would mostly think, “Well, I sure learned a lot.”
And that’s the other thing we’re here for: our soul’s education.
Nevertheless, disappointments can leave deep scars. And some disappointments take longer to heal than we’d like, even when we know we “should be over it by now.”
(Over it by now? Says who? What is this mysterious global time frame on getting over things? Honestly.)
Disappointment is a wise and valuable teacher. It acquaints you with grief. Grief, said the Greeks, is the daughter of anger and sadness. These two powerful emotions need to be felt, explored, and lived through.
Otherwise we are only a living shadow of our true selves: pretending we don’t care about the things we care about most.
So there’s a time to cry and a time to stop crying.