Expectations vs Reality: How to Manage Life’s Disappointments

In our latest episode on expectations, we mentioned how not meeting your expectations or those of others can lead to a lot of frustration and disappointment, especially when it comes to not achieving your goals or not expecting life to turn out a certain way by a certain point. Most of the time, life doesn’t turn out the way we anticipated and that can lead to a lot of disappointment, as well as feelings of self-doubt and low self-esteem. In this article, we will provide you with some coping strategies to deal with the disappointment that comes with not meeting the expectations you set for yourself.

Accept and Embrace It:

The first step to dealing with any kind of powerful emotion is to let it happen, no matter how uncomfortable or painful. Allowing yourself time to process your disappointment is the first step to acknowledging its presence rather than denying it happened. It is tempting to distract yourself from uncomfortable feelings, but that only makes things worse. Validating our emotions is a way to tell yourself it is ok to feel a certain way. You can also journal how you are currently feeling if that helps you process your emotions in a healthy way.

Surround Yourself with a Supportive Network of People:

Seeking help or simply talking about your experience with someone you trust or a professional is a good way for you to see different perspectives, as well as share similar experiences with others. This can help you further validate your feelings whilst gathering an objective point of view from an outside source to your situation. Their help and advice can help you understand what your next steps should be when dealing with disappointment.

Adjusting Your Expectations and Goals:

Many a times, disappointment comes from not achieving or getting something you expected to happen or receive. Adjusting your goals to be in line with reality by breaking them down into smaller, realistic steps is a sure way to avoid disappointment the next time around. Setting SMART goals is a good way to do this, as they encourage baby steps, meaning they are more realistic and achievable, increasing the likelihood of meeting your expectations and avoiding disappointment.

Be Kind to Yourself:

As a perfectionist, I completely understand how not meeting your expectations can make you feel as though your life is ruined if not everything you wanted to happen didn’t happened. It is important to release yourself of that perfectionism and this idea that at one point in your life, you will achieve everything you want and only then will your life be perfect. You are constantly changing and evolving, so your life is never going to reach a ‘perfect’ point. Embrace uncertainty and remember that disappointment teaches you a lot about yourself and what you really want out of life.

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