Coping strategies

Handling disappointment

Being disappointed because the coffee is finished and you can’t get your first mug of coffee is not what I’m talking about. It’s falling short of a life-long dream or pushing hard for something you want and just missing it.

Recently I had two huge disappointments: I was passed over for promotion at work and we got another negative pregnancy test. I’ve worked really hard in my career for the pivotal moment when I would finally reach management level. I was so sure it would happen this time, but it didn’t. My husband and I have also been trying to fall pregnant. We will be married 10 years in 2015. I was so sure this time was the one. It absolutely tore me apart when the test came back negative.

So Life handed down the two lemons separated by a month. I’d like to think my reaction was pretty standard: I was in denial, I was angry, I bargained with God, I was depressed and I accepted it. But it didn’t happen in that sequence and it didn’t take a week.

When things that feel huge happen to you, there will be many anecdotes telling you to just get up and go on, become a stronger person from it or to learn from the experience and don’t let it get you down. When you are under the weight of it though, the view is different and you might feel like you have no idea how to even start dealing with the disappointment and/or anger inside.

One thing I want you to remember is that you are human. There is nothing wrong with feeling angry, disappointed or sad. It was a huge knock and you are allowed to take time to absorb it. Just remember this: it does not redefine your worth, it didn’t make you worth less than you were before it happened. You didn’t suddenly become a smaller version of yourself and you should not be beating yourself up because a dream failed. So somebody closed a door in your face. So you have to wait a little longer before it finally happens for you. Just the fact that you are still alive proves that you have the strength to pull through this too.

You lived through birth, you lived through primary school, you made it through your teens (or are making it through your teens), you survive in the corporate jungle every day without being eaten by a Boss-ious-terranicus or trampled on by a herd of bleating employees…you have been through so much in your life. This will not be the thing that breaks you. I know you are stronger than this.

Early last week one of my friends posted on Facebook that she is going through a rough patch. I will tell you now what I told her: I believe that when many bad things accumulate in a short period of time, it is Life’s way of opening a period of miraculous blessings. Life is made up of valleys and hilltops. You are in a valley now, but know that your hilltop is coming. It must. It’s the law of Life.

So chin up and don’t stop fighting and hoping for that big dream to be fulfilled. You are worth it.