When we face rejection and disappointment, it is easy to allow it to linger and manifest itself into depression. To not think of oneself as a loser because things don’t work out the way one would expect is difficult. The following piece discusses one person’s means of re framing her disappointments.
By Christine Stapleton
And again. And again. And again.
If there is one thing I do truly well, it’s disappointment. You would think that somewhere along the way I would have learned that expectations are premeditated disappointments. The way to avoid a helluva lot of disappointment is to stop expecting things to turn out my way.
Like, if you don’t expect to get roses on Valentine’s Day, then you’re not disappointed when you don’t. D’uh.
And if you don’t expect to get the promotion you really wanted, you won’t be disappointed when you don’t. So, why am I sitting here crying? Because I expected to get the promotion and I did not. Again. I’ve been turned down for this position twice in the last four years. I am pretty stubborn. Relentless. I don’t give up. I once ran the last five miles of a marathon without shoes because my shoes were killing my feet and I was not about to give up.
There are two ways to handle disappointment. The way I handled it before my last spectacularly awful major depression and the way I handle disappointment after my last spectacularly awful major depression. BD – before depression. AD – after depression. BD, I would have told myself that I am a total loser. I will never be good enough. I would have been pissed off at the bosses who chose someone else for the job and I would have been pissed at the person who got the job.
AD, I give myself some time on the mat before I get up. Today, after learning I did not get the job, I packed up my stuff and went home. I could have sat in the office, crying, explaining to everyone why I was upset but that would have upset me even more. So, I took care of myself. I packed up a bunch of stuff I was working on and went home. I had a good cry, talked to a friend on the phone and then worked from home. I get more done here anyway.
Truth is, I love what I do now. I would have loved getting the other job but the job I have now is pretty freakin’ cool. This is about my pride. Pride – one of the seven deadlies. This is about acceptance. This is about humility. Learning how to handle disappointment appropriately and take care of myself in these situations is the essence of good mental health.
What happened today will not take me down. There was a time – not too long ago – when it would have. I know now that it’s okay to stay down on the mat for awhile and catch my breath. When I get up I will be harder, faster, stronger and smarter than before. I will have a little more faith in my higher power – that if I let go of this disappointment, he will bring even better things into my life.
Then, I will get up again.