The Backbone of Disappointment And How to Tackle it
It is very likely that you know the feeling of being let down. You were just so sure of this person, you gave your all. Yet, s/he somehow managed to be a disappointment. You’re wondering how you lost track of your goal not to let people come close enough to you. Well, it happens. But it doesn’t mean it should. As a matter of fact, we constantly let other down as well, however much we try to be good to them, it really just happens.
But I’m heavily convinced that the issue is very personal indeed. We choose if we are let down or not. Not in the “I don’t care, do what you want” manner because that really doesn’t exist unless you’re completely insensitive, in which case you could be diagnosed with sociopathy. I mean in raising your standard as to when a person can hurt you or let you down. And the way to cure disappointment is to not expect.
We expect so much more from people than what we’re ready to do or give. This is just the norm, clearly, there are exceptions. However, usually, we just want the other person to be there for us and to care, whereas we want ourselves to have space to just be ourselves. “Just cut me some slack” is the usual phrase when we just want them to be okay with what we do.
But this perpetual cycle of expectations hurts us more than anyone else. Because obviously, no one can constantly fulfill all our wants and needs. As a consequence, we become somewhat resentful as if it’s the fault of the other person.
Of course, there are many relationships in which one person bears most of the weight, especially parent-child relationships where the child, however old, believes that the parent owes them the world but s/he doesn’t have to do anything.
But why does this happen?
There are several reasons to this but one of them is the way we create relationships. If our relationships are created for the wrong reasons, it makes them much more fragile. If you get into a relationship with a person because they constantly pamper you with gifts, you will always expect gifts and feel disappointment when you don’t get them. A lot of parents are completely in love with their kids and provide everything for them, hence the kid always expects their parents to do everything for them.
An exact illustration from my life is my partner coming to meet me but telling me he’s not here yet, then he’d surprise me by showing up early which would send me over the moon, make me really happy. But, then I would always expect for him to come earlier than he told me, and when he wouldn’t my mood would just drop. Although that’s no reason for me to feel bad, I still would because I had started to expect him to surprise me by coming to meet me earlier. Also obviously because I wanted to meet him as soon as possible (but that’s not the point here).
So, what do you do now?
There are several things to do to stop getting disappointed. I am working on them myself.
Become more realistic
This one is kind of tough when you are so used to expect the most from others. But just think about it and you will figure out how idealistic your expectations are. There’s no need for someone to always be there, comforting you in every situation (that is quite unhealthy actually).
Don’t Lower your overall Standards
I say this as a word of caution to my advice because I certainly am not advising you to lower your standards. Certainly, don’t settle for any relationship that doesn’t make you happy. At the end of the day, why would you stay in a bad relationship? But a happy and fulfilling relationship is not one in which the people involved are extremely clingy and needy.
You don’t need anyone to make you feel worthy. However, as I already said – be realistic. Have high standards in creating your relationship, but don’t have a need to constantly evaluate the people in your life. Don’t settle for something that makes you feel like less or sad, and certainly don’t allow abuse of any kind. It’s not the point of relationships to stick together despite everything. Because if you think that your feelings of disappointment are based on real and important issues, then you can always leave that relationship, no matter what.
This is likely the most important favor you can do yourself and the other person. Just don’t expect more than you would do for him/her. I understand that not all relationships are created in such equal terms and that most relationships have some divided roles, but I mean the magnitude of actions. If you wouldn’t be always available for someone, just don’t expect it from them. It’s not only completely unfair, but it’s just foolish. And yes, most people aren’t fair because it’s convenient. Sad.
There’s no better advice to give on relationships than to tell you to communicate. It is for lack of communication that we get most disappointment from. If the other person doesn’t know s/he is letting you down, they will never change their behavior. And also, if you don’t understand their situation and inability to do something for you, you will constantly remain in your state of disappointment.
Just try to be realistic and don’t expect more than people can do for you. Build your relationships on healthier grounds and communicate so you and the other person understand what either of you is expecting. As long as you have reasonable expectations, it’s less likely to feel disappointment, be it at work, family or in your romantic relationship. So don’t set your bar very high about how much you accept others, but don’t set it very low either. Expect to be loved, understood and accepted up to the level you are ready to commit to the other person in the equation.