never lose hope
“We must accept finite disappointment
but never lose infinite hope.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
(each setback could prove to be a step forward)
“Rigid beliefs make disappointments seem unbearable, whereas realistic beliefs help us to accept disappointment and go on from there.”
— Eileen Kennedy-Moore —
“True hope dwells on the possible, even when life seems to be a plot written by someone who wants to see how much adversity we can overcome. True hope responds to the real world, to real life; it is an active effort.”
— Walter Anderson —
We all make plans, have dreams, and set goals. Will our plans materialize or end in complete failure? The only thing certain about life is uncertainty. So, our frail attempts may end in glorious victory or frustrating defeat. Such is the nature of life. We are destined to engage in a series of celebrations interspersed with a series of disappointments. Because of this, it is important to learn how to deal with disappointment. Martin Luther King, Jr. suggests one way of coping; mainly, by accepting it. After all, disappointment occurs in just one moment of time. And hope, or the understanding that future successes will follow, lightens its burden.
The word disappointment is made up of DIS and APPOINTMENT. DIS means separate, apart, or asunder. So, disappointment describes a feeling of dissatisfaction or anguish, which is experienced when we are torn apart from our expected appointment with fate. Yet, we don’t have to experience pain when things don’t go our way. The negativity surrounding disappointment exists not in the real world, but only in our mind. It is not the event, but our interpretation of it that causes pain.
Every time I take a walk with a friend, Will, regardless where we go, he always finds coins in the street and on the sidewalk. Mainly pennies, but sometimes nickels, dimes, and quarters. Hundreds of people walk by unaware of the change beneath their feet. So why is it that Will, who could use the extra money, always seems to find it? There’s no mysterious force at work here. Just common sense. Will finds the money because he’s looking for it! This is just a simple illustration of an important principle of life, which is WE FIND WHAT WE LOOK FOR. When things don’t go as I had hoped they would, is that bad? It is if I look for something bad. If I am slammed on the head by disappointment, is that good? Yes, it is, if I look for something good. We find what we look for.
“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.” — Joseph Addison
~Chuck Gallozzi in “Dealing With Disappointment”
I think it is possible to have a positive approach to disappointment. I don’t mean that it is a pleasant experience, but that disappointment can provide us with valuable information that we can learn from. … The best expression of this positive approach that I know is by Joanna Macy, a Buddhist social activist. Her approach is that disappointment is valuable because, “When you are disappointed you are not pretending.” (my paraphrase) This is true (though it applies to any other experience or emotion that we don’t withdraw from).
If, instead of avoiding our experiences, we embrace them, we find that we keep living and develop a resilience and sense of who we are. This gives us the sense that we are not any of our particular experiences — a sense of detachment from them. … If we can welcome, or at least acknowledge, our disappointment we gain a softness, a sense of our vulnerability (which is a good antidote to any ideas that we are ‘above’ suffering, or any grandiose thoughts that we may have). By welcoming our disappointment we can expand our compassion.
Here are some ideas I have that may help in times of disappointment, so that you can move to making disappointment a part of your experience and not something that overwhelms who you are — to gain some sense of detachment from it. I hope you find them useful.
1. Talk to your friends or family about your disappointment.
2. Find what the disappointment means to you.
3. Find the healthy desire.
4. Express your disappointment with all of you.
5. With a big disappointment, moving on means living differently.
~Evan Hadkins in “Disappointment”
[click thru for examples of the ideas]
“One’s best success comes after their greatest disappointments.”
— Henry Ward Beecher —
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