3 Coping Skills to Try When Feeling Disappointment

It felt really vulnerable and scary.  You put yourself out there, risked being seen, and the worst case scenario happened.  Maybe you tried for that job promotion, or you asked that cute guy at the coffee shop out.  Whatever it was, you took a risk and are now left feel disappointed, self critical, and a little ashamed.  

If you are a fan of Brene Brown’s work then you know that in order to truly live life in a way that is meaningful, you’ve got to show up and risk being seen.  Congratulations! Chances are if you are reading this you already did the hard part...you risked showing up and being seen. Part of taking any risk means that sometimes we are going to fall.  So how do you pick yourself up after a fall?

1. Figure out what the story is that you are telling yourself and the belief underneath that story.  When we are going through difficult feelings we can sometimes turn the situation inwards, blame ourselves, and feel embarrassed.  To work through those difficult feelings, the feelings of shame, embarrassment, disappointment you need to understand the story you are telling yourself.  Often times self talk, our inner narrative, masks a fear; I’m not good enough, people don’t like me, I’m a failure, I’m not lovable.

In my therapy practice I frequently meet with women who have recently experienced a break up or divorce.  When exploring their self talk it frequently sounds like “I hate them”, “I can’t believe I trusted them”, “I can’t trust anyone”, “I’m all alone”, “no one will ever love me again”, “I’m so stupid to think that anyone could love me”, “I should have never let myself care”.  

In digging below these statements what my client’s often discover in therapy is that they are afraid that they are not lovable, they are afraid that they are not good enough.

2.  Re-attribute the responsibility.  What are some other potential factors that contributed to the outcome.  

Using the example above, divorce or a break up, rather than buying into the belief that you are unlovable and that is why the relationship ended, ask yourself what are some other reasons for the break up?  Is it that the two of you grew apart, maybe your life started to take off and your partners life stayed stagnant. That will cause conflict in the relationship. Maybe your goals changed...he wanted kids and you never imagined wanting children.  Is it possible that alone you are great, alone your partner is great, but together the two of you are like oil and vinegar - you just don’t mix. Or perhaps no matter how hard you tried, you could never fully get to the point where the two of you were actually communicating.  

There are many things that contribute to an outcome.

3.  Focus on your success.  You took a risk, it didn’t pay off - no shame in that game.  Failure doesn’t mean anything bad about you. Failure doesn’t mean anything about the type of person you are.  Failure doesn’t mean anything about your future. Taking a risk, asking for what you want means that you are a courageous bad ass.  That’s something to celebrate, not feel bad about. When you catch yourself falling into the trap of judging yourself, feel embarrassed because you took a risk and showed up to life I want you to repeat this mantra “I am a courageous bad ass who deserves amazing things in my life”.

Want a little guidance moving beyond your disappointment? When you do therapy with me, Gwendolyn Nelson-Terry, I work with women who have experienced disappointment in many forms; job loss, relationships ending, loss of a dream like having children, putting yourself out there for a raise or promotion. Most of these disappointments are temporary but can have an emotional impact on your self worth and confidence. I can help you get to the root of what is going on, why you are feeling disappointment and I can help you move beyond that hurt, shame, and discomfort. Call 619-383-1900 to schedule a free 15 minute consultation today.