It’s inevitable that people will disappoint you in life. It could be not getting that promotion that you’ve worked hard for or the breakdown of a relationship that you assumed was going somewhere. But we all know what it feels like when things don’t go to plan.
Disappointment is a completely normal emotion to experience when it comes to relationships – but it can hurt.
So, how should you handle it?
We'll take a look at how to effectively deal with disappointment to help you recover and move on.
Reasons why you may feel disappointed
First, let’s consider the factors that cause us to experience the emotion of disappointment.
Unrealistic expectations happen when you expect too much of yourself and other people. You set yourself up for disappointment when those expectations are not met.
Common signs that your expectations are too high include:
- Pinning your hopes on a particular outcome
- Obsessing over details
- Feeling like people let you down regularly
High expectations also stop us from appreciating what we already have.
The life experiences you go through have a direct impact on how you feel when you’re let down.
For example, if you experienced significant disappointment as a child. It’s likely that you will react negatively toward any subsequent situations where you are left to feel disappointed.
Unless you know how to deal with disappointment, your experiences can get in the way of regulating your emotions.
5 Coping strategies for when people disappoint you
Now you know the factors that can trigger feelings of disappointment. So it’s time to find out what you need to do to move forward.
Save yourself from hurt when someone disappoints you with these effective coping strategies.
1. Listen to your feelings
It can be tempting to avoid admitting that you’re hurt and disappointed. But the best thing you can do is acknowledge those feelings.
Let them in and don’t bottle them up or push them to one side as this can actually make your feelings stronger and become more of a long-term problem.
By listening to your feelings you’re accepting that they are there. Remind yourself that people will disappoint you and it’s completely normal to feel betrayed when this happens.
Emotions won’t just go away. They are like a wave that you ride until it passes.
2. Put things in perspective
Will the reason you feel disappointed matter in five years, or even five weeks?
Shifting your focus to the good things that you have in your life is a great coping strategy for when people disappoint you.
This can be the simple things that people often take for granted such as a home and food on the table. Being grateful for something will put your feelings of disappointment into perspective and help you move on.
3. Talk to someone
Whilst people will disappoint you and it’s a normal part of life, if you’re struggling to deal with your emotions and move on, it could be time to talk to someone, such as a therapist or a friend if you just need to vent.
Putting your feelings into words is extremely powerful when it comes to dealing with disappointment. Tell someone you trust about your feelings, or speak to a healthcare professional.
They can help you consider whether your feelings are appropriate to the situation. Or whether they are based on previous experiences.
4. Schedule some personal time
Being kind to yourself is a great healer.
Just because sometimes people will disappoint you doesn’t mean it’s your fault.
Here are a few easy ways to shift your attention back to what’s important – you.
We all know that exercise improves our mood by stimulating the chemicals in our brain that cause us to feel relaxed and happy.
Offering to help a friend move house or plan a party is a great way to make you feel good about yourself and forget about any feelings of disappointment.
Read a book or magazine
Reading is considered one of the best ways to stop feeling stressed. So grab a book, your favorite hot drink, and get cozy.
Sometimes, simply focusing on your goals can give you the time and head space that you need to recharge and get over the disappointment.
5. Move forward
Dwelling on your frustrations when someone disappoints you won’t change what’s happened and will only make you feel worse.
It’s ok to take a small bit of time to come to terms with your disappointment. However, when you find yourself thinking negatively about a time when you were disappointed, try to redirect your thinking to focus on the positive things that you already have in your life.
Take the disappointment that you feel as something you can learn from. Would you do anything differently next time if faced with a similar situation?
Thinking about how people will disappoint you in the future will stop you from being happy now.
How not to rely on other people’s validations and avoid disappointment
Let’s be honest, a little validation from our loved ones and people we admire is nice.
But continually seeking validation from others can affect our mental health and ability to make our own decisions and learn from mistakes.
Here are three ways to stop seeking validation and take back control of your life.
Be confident in your decisions
Nobody else is living your life, so they won’t know what your gut instincts are telling you. It’s not a bad idea to get another person’s opinion, but don’t allow them to make a decision for you. Ask for advice but make your own choices.
So how can you be more confident in your decision-making when people will disappoint you?
Being in the correct frame of mind is key. It’s much easier to make bad decisions when you’re in a bad mood.
Make sure you’re comfortable and all your basic needs are met before following what your heart is telling you to do.
Don’t assume that when someone disappoints you they don’t care
Most people won’t intentionally set out to disappoint or hurt you. If somebody you love continually leaves you feeling disappointed, it’s time to look at your relationship and consider whether it’s something you want to maintain.
But in most cases, if a friend disappoints you by changing the plans you had at the last minute, it doesn’t mean they don’t care.
People will disappoint you throughout your life. Don’t let a case of disappointment ruin your relationships.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Nobody is perfect, despite what social media may portray.
If you find yourself dealing with feelings of disappointment from comparing yourself to others online, unfollow those accounts.
Find another way to spend your new free time such as catching up with a friend or going for a walk. Limiting the minutes and hours of time you spend on social media sites can also prevent you from having unrealistic and high expectations for your life.
Surround yourself with friends that don’t make you feel envious instead.
People will disappoint you but you can react in a positive way!
With some practice and a change of mindset, our five coping strategies can help you manage your expectations of people and reduce the hurt you feel when people disappoint you.
And remember, people will disappoint you. All of us will feel let down at times both in ourselves and in other people.