The past year and a half has presented many challenges, and if you’ve felt disappointed about something during that time, you’re not alone.
COVID has changed everyone’s lives and presented new roads for us all to navigate through during this period of the unknown. With the latest COVID outbreaks across the country, many children who have been sent home from school to isolate have missed out on important occasions such as school trips, graduations, or formals. Parents not only have to deal with their own disappointments, but also instil resilience into their children during this time – a task proven hard even for adults.
During the pandemic we have all missed a birthday party, had a holiday cancelled or, for some, missed significant events like a wedding that was planned and dreamt of for months or even years.
When we’re looking forward to something, no matter what it may be, and it doesn’t go how we had hoped, it can leave us feeling down and disappointed. But things will get better! Here are some tips on how we can best deal with disappointment.
Recognise that disappointment shows we really care about something
Disappointment is an important emotion and while it may sound strange, we need to recognise its value. It requires us to care about something that means a lot. Disappointments will inevitably happen as nothing can go the way we expect all the time, and these are life lessons are important not just during COVID, but through in life in general. Importantly though, we need to remember disappointments won’t happen all the time, and often things will go as planned and be amazing! During this time, we need to try to stay focused and positive about the little things we can get excited about.
Acknowledge disappointments don’t last forever
Feelings of sadness, anger or being let down often accompany being disappointed by something. Often, we perceive this disappointment as the worst thing ever, but we need to remind ourselves that these feelings will get better with time. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time to feel the way you are feeling, though if you find that something has left you feeling disappointed for a while, remember that is fine and normal. We do not need to ignore our feelings and move on straight away. We may often need to take our time to process these feelings and sometimes if we can talk them through it can enable us to move on in a healthy way.
See it as an opportunity, not a failure.
Often we need to see the opportunities that can come from disappointment. Nothing is ever a failure if it doesn’t work out how we want it to, and disappointments can often become opportunities for things to progress and develop in a new and potentially exciting way. Think of this with personal disappointments, like a test result or performance at a sporting event – if you’ve tried your best it’s not “failure,” it’s an “opportunity”.
Ways to make yourself feel better
Talking about how you are feeling to someone you trust, be it a friend or family member, can often make you feel better. These sad and angry feelings can be easier to manage and work through when we talk about them rather than keeping them bottled up.
Processing disappointment regarding the important event missed, whether it was the cancellation of your child’s school camp or your 40th birthday party can help. Asking yourself if the event is one that you may be able to have at another time, or plan with your friends for later may ease these feelings.
It may help to try and think of happy moments and how much you’ve enjoyed spending time with your friends in the past. If you can use this to focus on the fun that is ahead, it may help you refocus on the things you can feel enthusiastic or excited about now and moving forward. In life, there’s always another opportunity for us to experience fun and exciting events, even if we are missing one now.
Don’t take it personally
If we take it personally when things don’t work out how we wanted them to or had envisaged, it can affect the way we feel about ourselves. When we internalise these thoughts it fuels our disappointment and negativity. We need to recognise that if something hasn’t gone the way we hoped, it is often for reasons we had no control over. Sometimes things are simply out of our control!
There is no shame in finding disappointment hard to deal with and if you need some extra support, there are people who can help. Friends and family are a great place to start if you’re struggling with your mental health, and going to your general practitioner can be a great way to get some extra help if you feel you need it. Your doctor can advise you on what support is available to you, suggest different treatments and offer regular appointments to check in and to see how you’re doing.
Currumbin Clinic offers a range of treatment options, including day programs, which can help if people are finding disappointment is impacting on their mental health they could benefit from further strategies and support to manage to ease its impact. Contact 1800 119 118 to speak to our admissions and intake coordinator about how we may be able to help.
Most importantly, remember: you are not alone!