Disappointment Doesn’t Ruin Your Life, and Other Truths.
You’ve Got to Feel the Big D to Heal the Big D.
This is what my very intuitive naturopath/wellness coach reminded me last week, in response to hearing my newly discovered, BIG, upsetting, hurtful news. She listened to me, and because we were on a Zoom, called me out on my knee-jerk reaction to brush it off because it was visibly clear I was really upset. I might have even been crying.
Why? That’s what she asked me to think more about. YES. The news I’d learned that morning about a family member triggered OLD wounds because it brought up the question of “WHY NOT ME?”. Not only the title of my first book, but the question that had been running through my head as if the answer to why I felt so sick might magically appear. Except this time, there would be no further explanation and it was all on me to process the disappointment in a healthy way. Hmmm.
We all have these moments when we wish things were different.
Those of us on the spiritual path with a belief in the higher power, divine timing, angels, and trust and hope and faith that all is happening FOR me not TO me, are supposed to know that this is a reckless strategy. Things that happened in the past, are in the past, so it’s on us to leave them there, as Dr. Wayne Dyer often said.
I’ve studied and read and meditated and prayed all about this. I know what is, is. Yet, that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to feel a deep sense of disappointment (and the accompanying hurt, sadness, madness) when people let us down.
There, I said it. I’ve been let down by people my entire life. Not in terrible ways that have ruined my life, but in ways that still trigger me to wonder what I did wrong that led to the disappointing course of action. And…lights, camera, nothing. It had nothing to do with me (most of the time!).
I can see this NOW as I take a few steps back from what actually happened each time I was disappointed. It started when I was just two years old and LOVING life as an only child, and then one day in February 1972, suddenly, I wasn’t. And then there were four. Yet obviously my parents didn’t bring home a baby sister to rock my world and piss me off, they simply wanted to expand our family. More on that in my next book, as I’ve spent a lot of time pondering why I thought life as an only child would have been better than the actual “party of four” childhood I was gifted.
Back to this emotion of disappointment as it’s one that can often disguise itself as anger and fear. It kind of feels the same. I was epic-level disappointed when I didn’t win a Hay House writer’s contest; and when my first love chose someone else. It sucked when my upgrade didn’t go through on the long flight after being promised it would; and when the fridge guy didn’t show up to replace the clattering appliance on time. And it was really disappointing to learn horrible truths like both parents had cancer, because that’s next-level disappointment especially when they die in their 60s, and it reverberates for years. Knowing I am an “orphan” is still surreal at times, and I continue to work through the grief when it shows up — wtf is the alternative? I choose to do the work, find a path to joy and not to live in pain.
And here’s the really annoying thing about disappointment. You never know when it’s going to show up next, but you do know there will be a next time! People are people. We disappoint each other throughout life, and sometimes, it is not on purpose. Sometimes it is, and that’s why we learn to delete what’s not meant to enhance our lives. The key to purging the disappointment is to add more of what DELIGHTS us, more of what brings us the joy, peace, fun, health, abundance and love that we strive to enjoy.
Delighted is a much better space to be in than disappointment, but after a few days of working through the “this really sucks” phase it’s a delight to freaking let it go. Today, I am delighted my favorite football team the Buffalo Bills crushed their nemesis the Pittsburgh Steelers. I am delighted my 14-year-old rescue dogs are wagging their tails and acting like healthy pups today. I am delighted my true friends know just when to call and check in on me. I am delighted the barista made me a perfect hemp milk mocha at a favorite new coffee bar. I am delighted I’ve not touched booze in 695 days! Habit-breaking at its finest, as social drinking and spiritual growth aren’t aligned. Not for me, anyways.
And, mostly, I am delighted that it’s Sunday and I’ve gone five full days without obsessively scrolling social media platforms. That shit was starting to really hurt my soul. Too much doom-and-gloom mixed in with bittersweet memories and a lot of news I really do not need pushed at me daily. Weird to cut it out completely, but it’s needed. My soul wants me to be at peace, and right now, that comes from writing and reading and listening to Anne Lamott audiobooks and drinking mocha lattes in Fairfax, CA and walking around Larkspur, watching football and playing with my pups.
Life is a series of choices. And choosing to feel the disappointment when it hits instead of trying a million ways to act like it doesn’t matter is next-level spiritual growth. In my world, anyways.
Have a beautiful evening xo Stacy Hope Small/Oct 9, 2022