Dealing with Disappointment

Dealing with Disappointment
Photo by Nik Shuliahin / Unsplash

Hi there.

It has been a long time since my last post. You loved my last post and thought 'is he finally going back to weekly posts?' but then I didn't. This must be very disappointing and that brings us to today's topic.

Side note: Just like when you throw a basketball at the hoop from well past the three-point line and get it in, I am going to play it cool and pretend that this was always the plan instead of it just working out that way.

I received some disappointing news this week. The origins of this news are not important for the context of this blog as this is not a place to discuss current events. I am most interested in talking about the process of processing because I experienced a new reaction that took me by surprise. For those who are really wondering if what I am talking about is the thing they think I am talking about, the answer is yes.

Now I usually have a go-to strategy when it comes to disappointment. I have a strong foundational belief that when things happen outside of my control, there is always something better for me. That was put to the test this week when on Wednesday I woke up with Covid. I was a Covid ninja for two years avoiding it even when my family got it. When they were sick I hugged them like there was no tomorrow and I did that during the two times they had covid. All of that time, I have kept my ninja skills until Wednesday when out of nowhere, bam - I was sicker than I have been in a good three years. I am still not feeling great.

The really disappointing thing is that I had a work trip planned for Saturday. Travelling to Paris, Rome & Barcelona to film. I had worked on this for weeks but had to cancel. This was so disappointing and I struggled to see how there was something better for me, especially when the costs of the cancellation keep piling up. I really hope my insurance comes through.

As disappointing as this is, it was something that directly happened to me. I am well trained for this, it was especially difficult this time but it's still more of the same. It's what happened later in the week that has been really confusing.

The disappointing news didn't affect just me but it affected a lot of people in all different degrees. And that is where the heart of the difficulty lies - I have no idea how to quantify the level of disappointment. I know that there are people hurting more than me and I can assume the opposite end of the spectrum is true as well. Whereas in my Covid case I could take appropriate action (in my case it was lying in bed and feeling sorry for myself for most of the day before taking the steps to postpone the trip), here I have zero ideas what to do in this situation.

My initial reaction was to err on the side of everything is ok. I am not a tough guy who doesn't feel pain, but I am definitely not a person who makes any situation be all about them. That is the last thing I want to do in this situation. So I thought I was fine until I was talking to my wife about a different topic and she said something that was three levels removed from the disappointing event - and I snapped. It was a small outburst, over quicker than it started, but my wife who is full of wisdom said calmly 'where did that come from?' The answer was, I didn't know. But maybe I wasn't ok.

And that brings me to now. It's Sunday and I am still sick (that is disappointing in itself) and I don't know what to do except to write this blog. Because I am starting to realise that there is no right reaction to some disappointment and putting an expectation on how I should feel isn't helpful. This isn't something that was planned, so it's ok if I am not prepared for this.

I think that is the new key I have discovered in this experience so far. There should be no expectations in how we react to disappointment, so we are empowered to deal with it without disappointment.