One of the potential consequences of being one who is always looking at the brighter side of challenging situations, seeking out silver linings in dark clouds, setting intentions of looking for the good or positive and staying hopeful even where there is evidence enough to just move forward with experience-filtered lenses, eyes wide-open is the reality of disappointment. It’s real.
We go through life with expectations of how things will work out, how we will progress and move throughout our journey, and, what potentially is most taxing, the hope that those who we believe should treat us as valuably as we do ourselves, and them, will reciprocate. I mean it’s only fair that if we treat others as we seek to be treated that they would offer us the same respect, honor, love and basic human kindness. Reasonable. Beyond reasonable actually. And then there come those moments, multiple moments, where others fail us. When they fail to meet our expectations or more basically, meet us at least at our own level of giving, being, existing with and for them. Yeah, not everyone operates at the same level of this mindset that we do. And because of course our worldview, values and perspectives must be right, the door is swung wide open for the grand entrance of disappointment.
We all go through this. At one point or another, someone we’ve cared about, loved, been there for, you name it, is present and able to do the same for us but is actually unwilling….and flat out tells you or shows you so. Disappointment is actually defined as the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations. It is totally ok to have expectations of others. This is actually how we hold each other accountable and to a level of esteem that elevates humanity…at least to a degree. But if we’re honest about disappointment, it really has almost very little to do with others’ failure to meet our own hopes and expectations. Debatable yes, but what I think is less debatable is the truth that often, we refuse to let go of our expectations of others, consciously or unconsciously. Then, when we get to that final straw, we’re almost broken because we can’t even fathom the reality that when someone has the opportunity to simply show up the way we have for them, they wouldn’t. From there, we start to , if we’re brave enough, reflect back to other instances in which their behavior demonstrated the exact same thing you’re experiencing with them now. Quite frankly, as they’ve maintained more consistency in their failures to show up for you than not, they’ve don’t nothing “wrong”. But you still hold out hope.
We point to different things that would talk us into moving forward from distrusting and/or limiting our expectations of others, believing, surely he’ll do this for me…..of course she’ll support me in this….why wouldn’t they let me____? I let them do the same when they needed. And then their consistency shows up again…and the punch to the gut.
I shared the following recently:
What I would submit is that instances of disappointment are seasons for us to make a decision to stop giving folks opportunities they have absolutely no interest in. Accept it….productively. Don’t begrudge them…just move on, wisely. Refuse to
- offer your expectations as opportunities
- position yourself for frustration, unreasonable surprise…and disappointment
- keep investing in him…her…them…expecting a return that will never come
I’m not for the “this for that” mode of living with others but there is something to be said for moving away from generosity that requires unsuitable sacrifices around your logic and willingness to accept truth. It kind of boils down to the saying that “when someone shows you who they are, believe them.” I’d add to that, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them, and stop setting the stage for their encores….draw the curtains and get some tickets to another show. You’ll save a lot more in the end!”