We all experience disappointment. Whether it’s caused by broken promises, health issues, financial distress, or by family arguments, disappointment is a regular visitor.

Disappointment dampens our spirits with feelings of helplessness and futility when things are not as we would like or expect them to be. When we are experiencing disappointment, it is difficult to find happiness, be optimistic and look forward to each new day.

We’ve all had to deal with the disappointment of heartbreak. Relationships do fall apart and recovering seems to get more difficult as we get older. Whether we’ve lost a loved one through a break-up or their passing, the sense of loss and emptiness can be emotionally crippling.

When you’re older, you tend to think the person was our last chance at love, which makes disappointment from heartbreak more difficult with each passing year.

Could our unrealistic expectations of others be causing us so much emotional and intellectual turmoil?

Generally, we want to see the best in people. Perhaps we are too eager to give people the benefit of the doubt, putting our trust where it isn’t warranted. Some of us may be ignoring someone’s bad behavior, hoping it will miraculously go away.

We need to better handle disappointment so we can avoid or recover from it as quickly as possible. Here are 5 ways to better handle, deal with and understand disappointment:

Manage Expectations

We need to carefully manage our expectations to ensure that they are realistic, not wishful thinking and blind hope. We need to realize that outcomes may not be what we want and be honest with ourselves if we are being overly optimistic.

It is okay to expect the worst if the evidence points us in that direction. We can then be better prepared for the results and not experience so much disappointment when things turn out differently than hoped for.

Accept Reality

We need to take off our rose-colored glasses and see what is really there, and not see what we want to see. Often this is very difficult, as we do want to be optimist and see the best in others. Look back at what has happened, what may happen and what is likely to happen.

If someone behaves a certain way, don’t expect a change, unless there is evidence that they will behave differently. Just because you want them to act a certain way, does not mean they will.

We need to accept that the people around us are who they are. Don’t feel bad about knowing that someone will not stop smoking because they should. Don’t be disappointed in yourself because you couldn’t resist the Chocolate Lava Bomb for desert.

Accept that in certain situations, it is what it is. If you put a delicious dessert on your plate, you will eat it! This isn’t being negative. It’s being realistic.

Remove Dependencies on Things That You Can’t Control

When we depend on the actions of others for our happiness, we need to ensure we are not depending on others based solely on what they are saying.

Find some evidence to either support or negate their promises. In this way you are depending on what you have discovered based on the evidence. Intellectually, we know that if someone repeatedly demonstrates the same negative behavior, we shouldn’t ignore the evidence, but we often do.

We need to be confident with our expectations so we don’t beat ourselves up with “why did I trust that person/company/product” when disappointment sets in.

Have Alternative Plans

Always plan out how you will handle things. Don’t just have one plan, have a few for each situation, so you’ll know what you are going to do depending on the results.

By having a plan for both good and bad outcomes, you’ll balance your expectations. This could help mitigate the disappointment if the outcome isn’t what you hoped for.

For example, a plan for controlling your tendency to devour deserts could have you avoiding them as best you can. But if you do indulge, you also have a plan to cut down on your food intake for the next few days.

Be Positive About Yourself

Love yourself and do things that are good for you. This includes thinking good thoughts and seeing yourself in a positive way. This will give you the confidence to manage your expectations, accept reality and remove your dependency on what you can’t control.

Disappointment is part of life. There is no way around this simple fact. But we can handle and control it if we have a better understanding of what caused it. Having a positive outlook on life and looking forward to each new day keeps us happy, healthy, and able to enjoy ourselves.

It’s all good!

What advice would you give to a friend who is trying to deal with a disappointment in their life? When was the last time that you were disappointed and how did you deal with it? Please join the conversation.

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