Disappointment is painful. We have these expectations of ourselves, of life, of others…and then sometimes it all goes to sh*t. Things we had hoped would work out don’t and people we thought would be there aren’t. So many articles out there focus on how to manage disappointment, or what to do with friends that repeatedly disappoint…but what about if YOU are the chronic disappoint-er!?
Today I disappointed someone I care deeply about. And this feels nearly more painful in this moment than when I am on the receiving end of the news I don’t want to hear. I have let her down. And in all honesty, it is not the first time.
I have a couple of choices: One seems very familiar and includes the standard shame spiral I fall into which mangles and denigrates my own character and sense of self……a tempting option. The other is (well, there could be many, but for the purpose of this blog I am only naming one other) asking myself, was I kind? did I show up authentically? was I truthful? and if YES, allow her to feel what she needs to feel in the time she needs to feel it. And if NO, make that sh*t right and then allow her to feel what she needs to feel in the time she needs to feel it.
In this case (not all), I can safely answer YES to the aforementioned questions. I have been kind, forthcoming, and as honest as I can be about my situation and why I am making a decision that is disappointing for her. And with this, I will also hold that she is allowed to feel what she would like… even if it takes us awhile, if ever, to move through it.
Inevitably, to live life authentically we will have to disappoint. I have never met a person who can simultaneously play the people pleasing game AND live life authentically. In being yourself, you may not meet the expectations others had for you! <<Gasp! Sigh. Deep breaths…. >>And, with this shift in perspective, I can maybe work toward letting myself off of the metaphorical self-imposed hook of shame.
Dear reader (anyone? anyone?), where and with whom are you hooked? Can you shift your lens, offer yourself the grace and peace you deserve, and decide NOT to take another ride on the tilt-a-whirl of shame? Give it try. You may be impressed with yourself.