How Do You Handle Disappointment?

It had been two years since my last vacation and as June 5th got closer, I looked forward to getting away with my family (including my two dogs) for some much-needed rest and relaxation.

The requirements for this type of vacation were few.  A simple clean home with a pool, shopping close by, and a variety of restaurants to choose from for dinners.  The pictures online and description of the house in Marco Island checked all the boxes and more.

It was going to be a glorious, relaxing, without a pressing agenda week!  As the day for us to depart got closer, it was easy to imagine how relaxing my week away would be and how re-energized I would feel when I returned home.  This vacation had all the makings of a simple and peaceful getaway!

It would be totally worth it!  

I packed most of the day on Saturday and then spent Sunday morning loading our two cars.  I had forgotten how much stuff we needed when traveling with two large dogs. But all this hard work would be totally worth it once we arrived at our beautiful vacation rental on Marco Island.

We arrived early Sunday evening.  It took some time to unload the cars and get everyone settled, but we did it.  We were finally on vacation!  Everyone was exhausted, so we opted for pizza delivery and a quiet evening.  The next day (Monday), we would finish unpacking and go to the grocery.  After that, the rest of the week would be filled with whatever we wanted to do!

Monday morning, we woke up, and it was so good to be on vacation.  That was until the standing pool of water showed up in the hallway outside one of the bedroom doors.  Surely someone must have spilled water.  Right?  That would have been the easy solution, but that was just the beginning of a big disappointment.  The remaining time on Monday and all day on Tuesday, we opened the door to the property manager, plumbers, contractors, and water/mold removal service techs.  It was awful.  It was disruptive and it was disappointing.  By Tuesday evening, it was confirmed that there was a foundation leak in the home.  Water and mold had been discovered in the bedroom and kitchen walls.  We would need to leave ASAP.

Are you Serious?

Wait, this was my vacation.  I had planned and looked forward to this week for months.  But the truth was, it was time to repack everything and head back home.  What a disappointment!

Disappointments are a part of life!

Disappointments are rooted in our hopes and expectations toward something or someone.  The level of disappointment or the emotions tied to them depends on the experience relative to our hopes and expectations.

I’ll be honest, this recent disappointment was a challenge, and I needed to take time before I was ready to accept my own advice and start moving forward.

The first question I needed to ask myself was, “Were my hopes and expectations of a simple vacation unrealistic or too high”?

Next, I needed to recognize that I was feeling disappointment and name the emotions I was experiencing.

I also needed to give myself permission to feel the emotions.  Dismissing or minimizing the feelings would not help me to move on.

It was also helpful to talk with supportive friends who could empathize with me and validate my feelings about the experience.

Finally, it was helpful for me to see the bigger picture to find hope.  While my vacation was a disappointing experience, it does not mean that I should not ever plan another one.  After all, I can think of many wonderful vacations in my past!

Life reality is, we have all experienced disappointments.  Whether it has been with vacations, other people letting us down, disappointments in ourselves, or something else, disappointments are a part of life and as long as we live, we will likely experience more.

Are you experiencing  a disappointment or know someone who is?  Consider the following……

Check-in to identify that your expectations are realistic.

Recognize that you are feeling disappointed and name the emotions you are feeling.

Give yourself permission to feel the pain instead of dismissing or minimizing it.  Understand these waves of emotion will subside and pass in time.

Talk with supportive family members and friends about your experience.

Find hope in seeing a bigger picture.  This experience was disappointing, but that does not mean the next time a similar situation will work out the same way.  Chances are, a favorable outcome is more likely than a negative one.

Every day I get the opportunity to talk with others who are moving forward through challenges in life.  If you are facing a challenge and could use a safe and trusted person to talk to, I would love to have a conversation with you.

Your Life and Your Relationships always matter!

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