On Disappointment…

I’m sitting here…with an urge to write about disappointment because I think it’s important to talk about. And yet…I can’t remember when a word left me feeling more vulnerable than the word disappointment.

Like the words loneliness or betrayal, the word disappointment causes a visceral reaction. My stomach knots. My throat tightens. My mind begins to kick harder at the current of that word in it’s attempt to pull me under.

My internal voice says that disappointment is an immature reaction to not getting my way. But it is ever so much more than that. So much more.

You see, I am not one of those people who expects very little from the world and those around her. Despite growing up in an environment that should have broken my spirit and fending for myself for the last 22 years, I am a person who expects good things. I have hope in almost all circumstances. I believe that the best will rise to the top with most people and in most situations. Even when there is no clear reason to be sure, I often believe that something will change and make things turn out okay after all. I have high expectations for good.

Maybe I also extend grace when circumstances are such that my expectations aren’t met but things are still pretty good. I am the person who moves to cover what could look like failure and helps to turn it into something beautiful. I’ve “bright sided” for the people in my life for so long that even something not quite good enough somehow manages to skirt the edge of expectations and be “good enough.”

But when disappointment comes…real, true, painful disappointment…I don’t seem to have coping skills. I resent disappointment. Disappointment has a dark and ugly stench. It is the demon that shrugs it’s shoulders and says “So fucking what?” when I cry out “But I did my best.”

To dissipate, deep disappointment must be observed, examined, sat with, endured. Even while you pick up the pieces…even while you take the necessary steps to move forward…even while you envision the future in light of the new information…even while you smile for others and say “All is well” , disappointment must be observed and given space.

Unobserved it has the ability to stay and impact your spirit. Observed, investigated, and felt, it has the room it needs to slowly move through you and into the ether with the other dark emotions that sometimes come to visit as we do this thing called living.

So as I sit here, trying to figure out how to talk about disappointment, I observe it in myself. I feel it in my chest. I watch it make me angry, resentful, and bitter towards the circumstances that have brought me here. And in the very next moment…with the very next breath…I extend myself some grace. I offer myself the tiniest hand of hope. I tell my disappointed self that she has room to feel this transitory emotion because my enduring loving self won’t change her mind about the beauty of this world,  the majority of the people in it, and the love of the Universal Force that created it all with me in mind.


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