Finding Beauty, Self-Awareness and Growth in Disappointment
By Alexa Pellegrini, 04/28/2016
All of us have experienced that terrible sinking feeling that accompanies disappointment. It’s all too easy to fixate on things that don’t go our way and resent life for not giving us what we want. But finding freedom from disappointment is as easy as changing your perspective on what disappointment is and the purpose it’s meant to serve in your life. Instead of seeing the disappointments you experience as tragic or punishments, you can use them to increase your self-awareness and spiritual growth.
Lose the expectations, lose the disappointment
Feeling disappointed is almost always the result of having unrealistic expectations. If our vision of what our lives should be doesn’t align with reality, our hopes are dashed and our spirits are crushed. The easiest way to avoid suffering from disappointment is to nix all expectations and open our minds to accepting everything life has to offer — disappointments included. Accepting disappointment allows us to live in the now and appreciate the present moment. No amount of sadness or anger we express toward our disappointments will make them completely disappear. And if we insist on getting our own way and coerce others into doing what we want so we can avoid experiencing disappointment, we’re simply cheating ourselves out of learning valuable lessons the Universe wants to teach us.
Behind every disappointment there is a lesson to be learned
If you feel like it’s impossible to cope with , it’s time to stop demonizing it. Many of us cast our disappointments in a negative light and fail to see the beauty in them. Our disappointments are meant to help us grow on a mental, spiritual and emotional level. As an intuitive counselor, I’ve worked with friends and clients alike who have struggled with disappointment, and I’ve drawn from my own experiences when giving advice about making the most of them. I avoid being overwhelmed by disappointment by seeing the potential for growth behind it, and I always urge others to do the same.
For example: one of my greatest recent disappointments was submitting a few of my best poems to the Kenyon Review, an esteemed literary journal, and being rejected. After months of waiting for a response, I opened an email about my submission a few weeks ago and read that I hadn’t been selected. At first, I felt a sting of self-doubt and disappointment. The rejection even made me momentarily question if I’ll ever achieve my dream of being recognized by an acclaimed publication. However, I took a step back and saw that the rejection was merely a lesson meant to help me grow as a writer. I realized I was experiencing feelings of disappointment because I had expected being selected, even though my aims were unrealistic — I don’t have even a sliver of the experience of the background most writers have who submit to the Kenyon Review, a journal rooted in tradition. Instead of being swept up by my disappointment, I recognized that I need to slowly work my way up to avoid another incident of self-sabotage.
What you think you want isn’t always what you need
Disappointment arises when we ask for something and we don’t get it. However, it’s impossible for us to always know what’s best for ourselves. The greatest things that come our way in life are usually gifts from the Universe that we never asked for. While it’s tempting to believe we always know what’s best and can exercise complete control over our lives, the Universe is a powerful force that influences our existence in ways beyond logical understanding. Let’s look at relationships, for example: if you connected with your partner in one of your classes, at work or even through a friend, you never could have known your actions were leading up to you finding love. You didn’t sign up for a specific lecture or take a certain job with the intention of meeting your mate. Somewhere in your heart, you were finally open to the experience of love and embracing your worthiness, and the Universe responded to your vibrations.
Letting go of the desire to have total control over your life by recognizing the power of the Universe will allow you to free yourself from the prison of your expectations. The Universe gives us exactly what we need in the present moment so we can grow, whether it’s amazing gifts or challenging disappointments. Remember that what you want and how you think your life should be may not be what you need in this stage of your life.
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