The key to handling disappointment more effectively

A mentor of mine, Dr Richard Bandler often explains that “disappointment requires adequate planning”. When dealing with situations that don’t go as we hope they will or that do go in a way that we hope they don’t, it is easy to feel bad as a result. How long that lasts and how tough it is to deal with depends on how you think beforehand and what you decide to do as a result.

First, I like to think of the mistake we sometimes make is that we make an appointment with feeling bad. We make it easy for ourselves by giving ourselves rules that dictate our emotions. If you think to yourself ‘if A happens then I will feel B’ you are hypnotising yourself to react emotionally in a particular way to something you know may happen. This ‘programming’ can mean that you become a slave to external events in that you give away any control you might have of how you feel to circumstance or external events.

Instead, the key is to become aware of the good things that could happen as well as the bad things and plan for how you will react to the bad things. By deciding this ahead of time you put yourself in a position where you are taking back control of your emotions. You need to be prepared to be okay regardless. This doesn’t mean it won’t affect you somewhat but it will take away a lot of the sting than might have existed otherwise.

Second, it is a good idea to avoid investing too much time dwelling on how amazing it would be if things worked the way you want them to. The more time you spend on this, the more likely you are to become attached to this outcome and any alternative just won’t feel satisfactory. Of course, consider it and enjoy the feeling and focus your mind on manifesting it and making it happen and believe it will. However, avoid spending too much time in a fantasy world where everything always works out perfectly.

Lastly, when the moment of disappointment arrives, focus instantly on what you need to do. Understand what there is to learn from this and then what is the best action you need to take and move on. I find two questions useful in this regard.

  • What can I learn from this?
  • What is the most useful thing to do right now?

Asking these two questions puts you in a position where you will find it easier to continue to move forward and avoid allowing disappointment to ruin your evening, day or week.


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