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How to Recover from Disappointment and Feel Motivated Again.


Unless you have a magic wand, you have likely experienced things not going your way. To varying degrees we have all experienced disappointment for one reason or another. As much as I like to be a "silver lining during the rainstorm" kind of person, I definitely dislike it when things don't go according to my plans. I love plans. I work hard at making them. Plan "A" is my favorite and the further down the alphabet I find myself going with my plans because they didn't go how I had envisioned, the grumpier I become. I want to make it clear that I am not talking about serious grief or trauma here. Think on the scale of annoying situations. Here are 3 things that I do to overcome disappointment and feel motivated again.

The first step is acknowledge and accept your emotions without judgment. Once you have experienced the disappointing event or situation, you cannot simply manufacture a fake feeling of happiness. Take note of your reactions and your feelings allowing them to flow freely. Call them out. Are you sad, annoyed, angry? The more you can name them, the easier it will be to work through them. Also explore why that is your emotion. Sometimes writing things down can be cathartic. Emotional avoidance, denying feelings or trying to bury them is not healthy. They will only fester and grow into something worse. Be at peace with your disgust. It gives you an indication of what you care about. Regardless of emotions, you want to make sure you are expressing them in a healthy way and not leaving bodies in your wake of disappointment. Pound out your frustrations in a good workout with loud music or curl up on the couch and watch a movie. Sit with and accept your emotions.

Once you have identified and labeled your emotions, find a trusted friend to vent to. This shouldn't be a day long session of complaining that brings someone else down. It's an opportunity for you to verbalize why you are upset. Make sure your friend agrees to this and make it clear what their role is. Do you just want an empathetic ear? Do you want someone to help you see the positive? What is your goal in the conversation? Making this clear in advance will save frustration for both of you. The intent is to dump your bucket of frustration out so that you can move one. Speaking things out loud can help us also hear our own feelings in a different way. It can give us a feeling of relief to be heard. I do suggest giving yourself a time limit so it doesn't turn into a day long whining session.

Now that you have identified and accepted your emotions and dumped your bucket, look for that rainbow. How can you take advantage of the change? Are their opportunities that you might not have had if things had gone exactly the way you had planned? It's time for you to put your energy elsewhere to seek solutions and pivot in a new way. It may be obvious what the benefit is right away or it may take a while. Even if it isn't clear, the point of this step is to move on and not wallow in pity. What can you learn from your disappointment that helps you become more resilient in the future. You wouldn't want to take dirty laundry with you on vacation. The same is true with emotional baggage. Holding onto the disappointment only hurts you in the long run.

Capture the wisdom you gain as you move through disappointing events in your life. If you find it happening often, you may want to examine why that is. Everyone seems to handle disappointment differently and some can take more than others. If you are finding your disappointment is due to other people in your life letting you down, you may need to upgrade who you hang out with. If deleting them from your life isn't an option, you need to find ways to set realistic expectations so you aren't constantly exhausting yourself in the disappointment cycle. If you are pushing yourself a lot to grow and taking big risks, you may experience disappointment at a greater frequency. You are also setting yourself up for some epic wins this way though, too. The more you can recover from your disappointments, learn and move forward the more resilient you become.

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