February 19, 2008

Dealing With Disappointment

Earlier
this
month,
I
made
a
decision
to
make
peace
with
a
major
loss.




As I've reflected on the process,
I decided it was worth summarizing.

How do you make peace with disappointments?

First, all disappointments should not be accepted. Sometimes a disappointment is a chance to overcome a very difficult challenge, re-set goals, or re-focus energy. A disappointment can be an invitation to get more help, more information, more resources, a different perspective.

Having done all of this, sometimes we're still stuck with not getting what we expected or are entitled to have. Then, what to do?

Here are the steps I followed:

First, choose to take the long view. Put your loss in perspective. Compare what has been lost to other accomplishments, achievements, resources, abilities, opportunities.

Second, re-examine the opportunities currently available. How can these be used? What unobserved options are here for the taking? Why didn't you notice these in the past?

Third, make peace with the pain. This is an affirmative process. How? First, affirm your personal ability to live with loss. Affirm the power of choosing a new (and possibly better) goal. If the disappointment involves the actions of others, affirm their right to have different priorities. Finally, affirm your obligation to move forward and not get stuck in disappointment mode.

These steps take time to identify and carry out. The process is worth it. Once you've worked your way through, the fear of disappointment will never again intimidate you into inaction, procrastination, or self-sabotage.

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