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5 Steps To Overcome Disappointments In Life

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Disappointment… Ack. What a sharp thorn in the heart. As we know, it is a negative feeling rooted in unmet expectations, causing us to feel and think ill towards ourselves or other people.

Not gonna lie, but sometimes, disappointments can start with petty issues we needlessly amplify (especially when immaturity kicks in.) But at other times, let’s not discount how significant letdowns can also trigger panic attacks and leave lasting traumas.

When not dealt with, it lasts longer than you expect. The difficult part is when it grows roots in our hearts, and becomes a leading magistrate to our next decisions.

How To Overcome Disappointments in Life
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How Disappointments Can Control Our Life Decisions Negatively

Believe it or not, the sting of disappointment can greatly shape our thoughts, emotions, and actions. It can cast a long shadow, clouding our rational judgment.

A short story time:

I’ll take you back to my 18th birthday, my coming-of-age debut. Like a quinceañera, we celebrate the transition from adolescence to womanhood, only that it’s celebrated when we reach 18 in my country.

However, that day stood out in my life not because it was nostalgic. Rather, it was disastrous.

My mom forgot my big day — sort of. 

No one greeted me as I woke up. (I sounded petty, and yes, I was!) My mom only remembered after repeatedly scolding me and being reminded by our close neighbor mid-morning.

Oh, my poor 18-year-old heart. I cried all day at school, thinking, “I hadn’t even expected a party, but forgetting my debut?”

It was heart-wrenching.

Props to my mom, though. She texted me in the afternoon and tried to make up. She laid out a feast and encouraged me to invite my friends after school.

But that time? My heart was hardened. I’ve cried enough; there’s no way I’ll follow her requests. Out of anger, I chose to eat dinner with my friends at McDonald’s and went home later than usual.

My silent rage didn’t stop there.

When I went home, I continued to ignore everyone and everything – the cake, trays of homecooked fried chicken, pasta, egg rolls, noodles, and dessert, even going as far as to frown at my family.

For a few days, this went on. Despite several dishes stacked in the fridge, I left them untouched.

It wasn’t until I saw the food spoiling one by one and being thrown out in huge containers.

Then, the realization hit me.

We’re financially struggling, so how did she prepare for all that? The thought that she might have borrowed money and cooked them all made me cry again. The food and efforts all went to the bin… 

Long story short, my ungrateful behavior haunted me deeply to the point where I despised celebrating my birthdays until I was 24.

Dang. My disappointment towards Mom ruled my heart. Now, my self-disappointment ruled it again for six pitiful years. I punished myself.

This is how disappointment becomes a gateway to sadness, anger, revenge, and then shame. It’s remarkable how a small disappointment can snowball into something much larger, leading to regrettable decisions or self-deprecating thoughts.

If I may ask, do you let disappointments lead you like I did, or do you snap out of it?

I hope you’re doing the latter. But if not, then let’s explore how to handle these disappointments.

Ready? Here we go!

How To Overcome Disappointments

Step #1: Let it out; don’t suppress your feelings.

Unexpressed discontent, when lulled, grows into resentment. The voice in our head that says, “they’re the worst!” “I’ll never forgive them!” “I’m so useless” or “I’ll never forgive myself” is the worst impulsive lie that leads to our gradual doom.

If you feel that way, wake up! You have to let it out before it takes root in your mind. That’s the most important thing: pull the roots out.

  • Cry if you need to.
  • Grab a pen and paper to write your frustrations on.
  • Find people who would genuinely listen and rescue you from that pit of self-loathing.
  • Confront the person that disappointed you even though it might be scary.

Don’t bottle it up.

This is what I always tell my friends whenever they’re disappointed with other people (and themselves):

When you keep the disappointments to yourself, the burden is yours. You suffer.

But if you express it, disappointments eventually get solved and dissolved. So, don’t suppress. Reach out or gently confront people about your feelings. Not to assert you’re right and they’re wrong, but just to express and gain clarity.

Whether they dismiss you and sever the relationship, or they listen and strengthen the friendship, is all up to their response. At least, you will find a closure to the very thing hurting you.

You did your part. They have to do theirs.

I agree this is difficult advice. I’ve struggled with confrontations. But it isn’t a terrible one as it fixes the root cause of the problem.

What we can do next time:

Communicating your expectations is emotionally healthier than expecting someone to read your mind.

I’m not suggesting you lower your expectations; instead, it’s important to set them as long as you communicate them clearly. This way, you and the others can adhere to a shared standard.

When one doesn’t meet the expectation, at least, you both know who and what went wrong, and it’s easier to find a fix.

Step #2: Reframe your perspective; find people or sources for guidance

Who/what can help reframing your perspective?

  • one, self-reflections
  • two, family and friends
  • third, guidance from credible people or sources

The Internet? Well, we could use them a lot. Read articles, ask forums, and join social media groups.

Find people who have overcome similar obstacles. Ask how they overcome it.

But some warning: you still have to evaluate the series of advice you get. Majority opinion doesn’t ultimately mean it’s the right choice for you. Rather, reframe the perspective to what brings ultimate peace in your heart.

Another story time how our surroundings can reframe our perspective:

First year in the relationship, I saw my partner as toxic and insecure.

It made me so miserable, so I sought opinions, and most of the advice I read from forums was to “Leave him!” “You deserve better!”

I was close to following their advice. They side with me, and I like it.

But on the other hand, I’m also a Christian so I always check what the Bible has to say. Without surprise, it tells a different advice – a description of true love, forgiveness, and walking away from the wrongs – which was a harder route to take because when I was in the situation, all I could do was loathe my partner for his actions! 

For over a year, I’ve blamed him, which was un-Christlike. Not proud of it.

Thankfully, the person who seeks will always find, so one day, I typed on Google, “signs of a toxic partner.”

And wow. Rather than finding faults in my partner, the list mostly described me. One item convicted me, saying I’m emotionally detached. At first, I denied that article. Duh, I have a whole other blog where I write about empathy; how in the world would I be emotionally unavailable?

But upon further self-reflection, well, I did find it in my heart that I was indeed stoic for the past few years.

From there, I dug into the rabbit hole and discovered something about myself: I was suffering from a trauma that began due to a dying loved one in 2021. 

To cope, I’ve consciously shut down my sad memories and unknowingly became “allergic” to heavy, sad emotions, making me reject the sensitivities of my now partner. Yikes. There, I thought I was just being mature because the “crybaby” in me cried no more. 

After the realization, I took steps to fix myself. All those times, I prayed to God to heal my partner’s insecurities, not knowing that I was a key contributor to why our relationship was in shambles. *Facepalm*

True enough, when I became more emotionally present, we became more secure with each other. The cycle of pain was broken. 

That’s how “seeking” can completely change our perspective, and it took me more than a year. Some issues can’t be solved on our own. We have to look for outside help and evaluate them, too.

Don’t stomp your feet and give up when you can’t find answers at the moment. But make sure to take the time to decipher your heart and others’ hearts. People, books, and credible sources can help us with that.

Step #3: Accept it happened; don’t keep a record of your wrongs.

Of course, our past memories are valuable. But if we consistently live in the past, it’s like living in our own prison.

As mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:5, love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.

That’s how self-love and love for others work.

Out of love, how do we accept those disappointing memories?

  • One, drop the pride and apologize to those we’ve hurt.
  • Two, forgive those who’ve hurt us.
  • Third, forgive ourselves. Do not — I repeat — DO NOT keep a tally of your mistakes.
  • Fourth, if people keep hurting you, express your disappointment and try to reframe your perspectives first. But if all things don’t work, be not afraid to distance yourself. Let them be, and be sure not to take resentment with you.

I tell you, when we free ourselves from the shackles of our past, we gain the clarity and freedom.

Step #4: Capture the lesson; not distrust in yourself

At this point, we must stop talking about our disappointments as if it’s the best tear-jerker movie, but speak about it as a source of knowledge and wisdom.

All these experiences make a gold mine of wisdom, especially in the future years. Wait, and you’ll see. It’ll all come to place. 

Step #5: Let’s try again!

When you’ve truly come to terms with the disappointment, have left the burden, and truly learned the implications of those setbacks, the most beautiful thing you can do is try again.

It’s like playing your favorite video game. When you lose, you try again and level up. There’s nothing you can’t learn as long as your heart and mind are willing to push forth, and no past is holding you back.


In conclusion, let’s keep this in mind: setbacks happen, but they don’t have to knock us down. Every setback is a chance to grow.

If you’re disappointed, forgive yourself and the others. Let the emotions and painful past go, capture the lesson, and know that these are all lessons you need to move forward in life!

That’s it. Thanks for reading!

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