“I’m disappointed….. I’m disappointed in you.” Most of the time the word ‘disappointed’ shows up in a sentence it’s a cover up for thoughts like “I’m really, really, ticked off”, or “I feel deeply sad at the outcome of this situation.” Our reaction to disappointment can range from mild annoyance to a mini-tantrum to full-blown rage. However you define disappointment, it never feels good. So how do we mindfully handle the frustration of disappointment without causing more suffering?
It can help to view disappointment as a kind of attachment, a desire even, to have things go our way. Once we couch disappointment in these terms, we can use our mindfulness practice to sit with the sensations of disappointment. Doing this may stop the suffering in its tracks. It will at least loosen it’s grip.
Disappointment, like all mind-states, changes, melts, morphs with time. Sometimes disappointment can even turn into a fortunate event- a positive circumstance we never dreamed of.
You can practice working with disappointment and attachment to outcome right now by conjuring up a time when things went “your way.” What was the outcome of that event? Did you find a few months down the road that your way was right for you? or did you notice that your way may have had some flaws? Next think of a time when you were disappointed. Does this disappointment still have the same fresh flavor that it had when the disappointment first happened? Most of the time it does not. Disappointment, like all mind-states, changes, melts, morphs with time. Sometimes disappointment can even turn into a fortunate event- a positive circumstance we never dreamed of.
If we can be mindful of the impermanent nature of disappointment, we can prevent ourselves from acting in ways that are likely to increase the disappointment.
Take a look at our posts on the mindful attitudes for more ideas for coping with disappointment.
How about you? have you ever used mindfulness to work with disappointment? What was the outcome? Let us know.
Download our printable worksheet, Watching Your Thoughts to Manage Your Mood for more tips on overcoming disappointment by becoming a mindful hub member.
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day.