Disappointment and Perspective
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Being disappointed is all about perspective. It took me a long time to
realize this. I was under the impression that if someone did something I
didn't like, or a situation evolved that I wasn't happy with, then I had
the "right" to be disappointed. Of course the disappointment always led
to me having the "right" to be upset, depressed, frustrated or even
angry. After all, the situation didn't turn out the way it was supposed
to, or a particular person didn't behave the way I believed they should.
Therefore, it was disappointing to me and I felt let down. I never once
thought it was just my perception of the matter that was causing my
disappointment and that I could control this!
What I slowly began to realize through studying myself, as well as paying attention to others
around me, was that those things that would upset me, would not upset
someone else. I also noticed that those things that appeared to be the
biggest deal to someone else, only made me laugh. So what was going on?
Obviously, it couldn't be the situation itself because that was the one
constant thing in each equation. What did change was who was interpreting
the situation. That was what was different. So I began to wonder if my
perception of a situation, any situation, was something I could control?
Could I change the way I perceived something, and therefore, change my
emotional reaction? I discovered, that yes it was possible. I wasn't
necessarily in control over what happened to me, or around me, but I was
definitely in control over how I responded to those situations.
I began to play with this idea a bit. I believe that the people in our lives
are great mirrors for how we think and behave, and therefore, can be great
educational tools. So I started to focus on the people at work, my fellow
employees as well as the customers. I began to pay close attention to what
it was they were complaining about and the reasons behind their getting
disappointed or upset. I would perceive the situation through their eyes,
and then I would force myself to step back from the situation and see the
bigger picture. What I always got from this exercise was a different
What I began to see over and over again was that when
most of us get upset it is for one reason and one reason only. The
universe is not behaving the way we believe it should behave. This could
mean that we didn't get the raise we believed we were entitled too, so we
become disappointed. If we had not expected a raise in the first place,
however, we never would have been disappointed would we? It could also
mean that someone does not treat us in a particular way that we believe we
should be treated. Or our dreams don't turn out the way we believe they
should have turned out. Or an investment didn't work out the way we
thought it would. Or someone dies before we believe they should die. It
can be as heavy as that. I am not saying it isn't sad, but at the same
time it isn't our choice to say how long someone is to live, now is it?
Those are our perceptions of what we want, of how we want the universe to
behave. When we get disappointed, we never stop and think that it is our
perceptions or beliefs that are wrong. We think it is the universe that is
wrong because of how we feel personally! That is a pretty grand stand to
take when you think about it.
So how do we change our perceptions? By becoming more aware of what your perceptions and beliefs are. You
cannot change what you do not understand. So spend some time looking
internally and when you become disappointed, think about what is
disappointing you. Is it really the situation or the person, or is it
because they are not behaving in a way you believe they should behave?
Then slowly as you do this, force yourself to look at the bigger picture
of what is going on. Force yourself to see the situation from a new
perspective and offer positive spins on what has happened. I believe that
the more you do this, the less you will be disappointed because you will
stop taking things so personally. You will also begin to realize that the
way things turn out are the way things are supposed to turn out, whether
they are in line with your beliefs or not. This will lead you to feeling
more in control of your emotions as well as of your behaviors and actions.
You will also be able to use any challenge as an opportunity to grow,
develop, and move your life forward, because you will not continuously be
knocked down by disappointment.
© Kim Eickhoff