“One’s best success comes after their greatest disappointments.” – Henry Ward Beecher.
When was the last time you faced disappointment from a certain outcome that did not meet your expectations?
It could be any event in your life, from a big set-back to a small mishap. Perhaps your meeting at work did not go as well as you anticipated. Your new job was not what you expected. Maybe someone you like did not reciprocate your feelings. Maybe your relationship did not work out the way you hope it would.
How did it feel? Did you feel like a certain sense of numbness and void inside of you? Were you despondent and dejected? Did it feel like it was the end of the world?
Disappointments are dissatisfaction’s that arise when your expectations are not met by outcomes. In short, a) you had an expectation b) things did not unfold against the expectation.
Every day, people deal with disappointments. Depending on how big the disappointment is and how you choose to deal with it, the feeling of disappointment may dissipate after a short while or hang over your life for an extended period of time. If not handled properly, disappointments can lead to depression and eventually apathy.
Why disappointments are good?
Contrary to what people may think, disappointments are actually positive phenomena, for two main reasons.
- 1. Passion toward a cause.
Disappointment is the reflection of your passion toward something, be it a certain goal, dream, desire or outcome. Wherever there is a cause, there will be an effect – in this case, the passion is the cause and disappointment is the effect. If you don’t care about something, you wouldn’t be feeling disappointed, would you? The very presence of disappointment suggests that this is something you care about so much that you would feel bad over it. The higher your disappointment, the stronger your passion for this is.
As Martin Luther King Jr puts it very adeptly, “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.” This deep love is what drives you toward your goals, dreams and desires. This deep love will be what fuels you in life, bringing you to places you have never been before. This deep love is what makes life worth living. Remember that disappointment is always a better emotional state than apathy or neutrality where the individual feels indifferent toward anything. I would much rather be feeling a negative emotion any day than feeling absolutely nothing. The ability to feel is what sets us apart from non-living beings. To feel nothing is to be an android, a robot, a machine.
- 2. Represents an opportunity for progress.
Disappointment also signals an opportunity for progress and growth. If you are disappointed in an outcome, it means there is actually a certain error in your framework of thought which need to be resolved.
Whenever you are disappointed, it means you have certain mental illusions about reality which you need to address. On the flip side, if your perceptions of reality are always right, you will never feel disappointed at all. By correcting your illusions and getting a more accurate picture of the reality, you are equipped with more knowledge. This knowledge is a source of power; power for you to act toward your goals.
Think of disappointment as a troubleshooting tool which helps you iron out the kinks in your perception of reality. By using the knowledge from your previous experience, you can act more accurately toward your desires. The more you deal with disappointment and learn from it, the closer you will get toward your goals and dreams.