August 11    

Today's quotation:

Why do we so frequently, and predictably, experience disappointment?  The answer probably lies in another question that we need to ask ourselves:  Why do we want things to be a certain way and not the way they are?  Is it because we are convinced that our way is the only way, or the only way for us?  Is it because we are too fearful to consider any other way?  Is it because we are reluctant to accept things as they are?  As long as we carry an idealized version of how things and people, including ourselves, should be, we are likely to continue experiencing disappointment in our lives.

Lucy Lopez

Today's Meditation:

I used to be disappointed a lot.  Nowadays, I'm almost never disappointed, and the change is due to a big change in the ways that I see things.  I came to realize that most of my disappointments were the result of artificial expectations that I had of other people and situations, and once I learned not to expect things to happen the ways I wanted them to or the ways I thought they should, disappointment ended up waiting outside the door instead of coming in and making itself at home.

Lucy speaks of an "idealized version of how things and people should be," and I think that's a great way to describe what goes on in our minds.  We spend our lives expecting things and people to be certain ways, to happen or act in certain ways, to relate to us in certain ways, and it's those expectations that lead us to disappointment, not the things or people themselves.  When I accept someone just as they are, that means that I also accept the fact that they do things that I wouldn't do, or that they act in ways that I wouldn't act.

Of course, there's a side to disappointment that isn't as straightforward.  If I'm a boss and someone who works for me does work that doesn't meet the standards that I know he or she could easily meet, then I'm more than likely to be disappointed.  But am I disappointed in the person or the performance?  Or both?  And that disappointment can be the catalyst that leads to helping the other person to do better, or replacing the person with someone else whose performance meets standards.

Charlotte (below) speaks of disappointment as a gift, something that causes us to improve somehow.  If I run a race and I'm disappointed with my time, that feeling could cause me to train harder for the next race.  But I have to be careful to keep my disappointment limited to the performance, and not be disappointed in myself as a person.  If I cook a meal and it doesn't taste like I want it to, then next time I'll try harder or try something different to improve it.

As with many things in life, disappointment can be either a curse or a blessing-- it's up to us to do with it as we will so that it will help us and not hinder us.

Questions to consider:

What are some things that cause you disappointment?  How much of that disappointment is due to your expectations?

How do you change how you treat people if you're disappointed in them?

What kinds of disappointment might be a gift to you?
For further thought:
The moment of disappointment in life is an incomparable gift that we receive many times a day if we're alert.  This gift is always present in anyone's life, that moment when "It's not the way I want it!"
Charlotte Joko Beck

more on disappointment



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