Sometimes you ask for what you want and you get it and it’s awesome.
And sometimes you don’t.
The cutie you were ogling from across the bar asks your friend for her number instead of yours.
You launch your new product that’s been in the works for over a year, and you hear crickets instead of cha-ching.
Your partner forgets your anniversary.
Your dream client passes up your bid and hires someone else.
When things don’t go the way you wish they’d gone, here are 5 ways to deal with disappointment:
1. Be in it
Skipping over feeling how bad it feels only leads to emotional festering. A good cry, a scream into a pillow, a tirade of choice words, or a few whales on a punching bag go a very long way. Give yourself permission to feel the disappointment. Trying to pretend you don’t feel the way you feel or trying to move past it too quickly isn’t kind to yourself, and it’s dishonest.
2. Tell Someone
I used to keep my disappointments to myself because I didn’t want to burden people or appear like I didn’t have it together. I found out that letting people in on my broken hearted moments created connection rather than separation. If your disappointment brings up feelings of shame, it’s even more important to tell someone safe. As Brené Brown says, shame cannot survive empathy. Shame depends on us feeling alone, so the quicker we bring it into the light and remember we’re not alone, the quicker it dissolves.
3. Follow your disappointment.
We’ve all heard that we should follow our bliss. But I think there’s a lot to be said for following our disappointment. When we’re bummed that something didn’t work out, it means it matters to us. I’ve had times when I was surprised by how upset I got over a disappointment. It pointed out that whatever that thing represented was really important to me. Then I knew to prioritize manifesting that thing in some other way. Similarly, you might notice that you didn’t get as disappointed as you thought you might over something. Good news! You can take that thing off your priority list because it probably doesn’t matter to you as much as you thought!
4. Say thanks.
I don’t think that every single thing happens for a reason, but most things do. You don’t get asked out by the cutie at the bar because you meet your soulmate the next day. You get passed over by who you thought was your dream client because they would have been a royal pain in the ass to work with. I find it peaceful to believe that there’s a greater plan at work even if I’m generally not aware of it daily. When something doesn’t happen the way I want, I decide that I’ve been spared some experience that wouldn’t serve my highest purpose. And so, after crying and thrashing, sharing it with someone, and noticing how important this thing must be to me, I say thank you.
5. Move on.
There’s nothing attractive about bitterness. No need to rush yourself, but move on when it’s time to move on. Dwelling on disappointment is a dream repellant. Once you’ve felt what you need to feel and learned what you need to learn, get on with attracting what you want.
Life is thrilling. Life is surprising. Life is disappointing. Life is unexpected. Life is satisfying. It’s all true.
Don’t let your disappointments derail you.
Instead, let them be a tool to get you closer to what you want.
Over to you:
How do you deal with disappointment? Share your tips in the comments – I’d love to hear them as I’m always adding to my toolbox!
Kate Northrup is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, mother, and founder and CEO of The Origin Company, which reaches hundreds of thousands globally. Kate is committed to supporting ambitious women to light up the world without burning themselves out. She’s the author of Do Less, the Do Less Planner System creator, and runs The Origin Membership, which helps business owners grow their business while doing less.