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Dealing with Disappointment

ELLINGTON FIELD JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas -- Everyone faces disappointments in life, both big and small. It's important to acknowledge our disappointments and not just ignore them, but how do we do it effectively?  The answer lies in learning constructive ways to acknowledge disappointments.

Disappointment can build character and patience if you allow it to. Learning to deal with your disappointments constructively can make you a stronger person in the end.

The first thing you need to do in learning to deal with disappointment is recognizing your old coping strategies. Everybody has them.

Do you reach for that pint of ice cream or withdraw into a room all alone? Do you get drunk and try to forget? Once you recognize that your old strategy isn't working, it's time to create a new one.

Here are 5 tips for effectively dealing with your disappointments:

1. Acknowledge what you're feeling.

You can honestly express the emotions you're feeling without blaming or punishing others. This is about how you feel about the situation, not others.  Articulate your feelings without attacking others. Always be respectful, but don't be afraid to let them know how you feel. There isn't a right or wrong way to feel. Your feelings are valid and if you don't voice your opinion then you'll harbor resentment and stress yourself out. Be honest with yourself about how you really feel about the situation.

2. Put things in perspective.

Even small disappointments can seem monumental at first. But once you've expressed
your hurt, frustration, or anger, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. How much of an effect is this disappointment going to have on you tomorrow, next week, or next year? Take a deep breath and go for a walk to put your disappointment into perspective. Taking time to reflect and step away from the situation will help calm your nerves so you'll be better able to handle the disappointment.

3. Refuse to doubt yourself.

Sometimes disappointment can make you feel like a failure. You may wonder why these things happen to you or you may think you were stupid to get your hopes up in the first place. But none of that is the truth. Don't allow yourself to give in to these negative thoughts! Disappointment is not unique to you. Everyone has been disappointed at some time in their life. Instead of getting down on yourself, think about what could have been done differently and learn from the experience.

4. Look for a solution or compromise.

You can't have your way all the time but sometimes there may be a second option that's agreeable to each party. Take a few deep breaths, relax, and look for the "silver lining." It's possible to find something positive in almost every situation.

5. Re-evaluate and make changes if necessary.

Sometimes when we experience disappointment, it may be a sign that we need to re-examine our priorities. Depending on the degree of disappointment you're facing, you may need to make minor or major changes to your life. Learn to be flexible. Refocusing your attention on your new goals will help you forget about your disappointment.

Don't Give Up!

Any person who has had even a small degree of success in life has faced disappointments. Winners simply don't quit. They learn from their failures and disappointments and go on to achieve their goals. You can become your own biggest motivator! Don't underestimate the power of encouraging yourself by saying, "I can do this. I can make it. I will get through this and become a better person!"

You don't need to allow disappointment to lower your self-confidence. That's not to say that you need to gloss over your feeling, but you can simply learn how to deal with your disappointments effectively, then move on to bigger and better things.