Saturday, 7 May 2011

Disappointment

I cope with disapp-ointment fairly easily. Some disapp-ointments are harder than others, but they never turn into a festering grievance or personal hatred.

If I fail to get something I want, I tend to think, well, maybe it wasn't right for me anyway, or someone else was more deserving or better qualified, or it's an opportunity to change direction and try something else.

I very seldom blame other people or see myself as victimised or unfairly snubbed. That may well be the case, but it does no good to dwell over injustice. Yes, the world's unfair, I can't always get what I think is rightfully mine, I just have to walk away and knock on some different doors.

I've sometimes had stinging disappointments. The two times I was made redundant. The time I was disciplined by my manager for a very petty offence. Relationships and friendships that have crumbled. Houses and flats I wasn't able to buy. The constant conflict with my father. People who've let me down badly.

But that's life, I can only come to terms with what's happened and maybe learn some lessons about how to handle things better in the future.

I've known people who've eaten themselves away with bitterness and resentment, often over things that seemed quite trivial. They're obsessed with the person who ended their job or their marriage, they spend their days plotting revenge, reliving acts of cruelty or contempt, gloating over X's continuing bad luck or mistakes.

They seem unaware of how self-destructive they're being, of how all this scalding hostility is driving out anything positive, eroding their enjoyment of life.

They would say they can't help it, that it's a natural reaction to being so badly treated, that they don't just take things lying down. But being more philosophical about life's disappointments isn't turning the other cheek, it's being realistic and accepting that things don't always go your way.

Shit happens. Sometimes mountains of it. You just have to put your foot on the throttle and keep on trucking.

26 comments:

Rummuser said...

You are so rigtht. What other option is there but to keep plodding on? You can see some angst in my post on Conflict posted last Friday.

Nick said...

Ramana - Well, maybe not plodding but definitely carrying on despite the knocks.

Grannymar said...

Shit does happen and very often in 'Threes'! What doesn't kill you, certainly makes you stronger, so get up, dress up and show up.

Nick said...

Grannymar - Get up, dress up and show up, I like it.

Wisewebwoman said...

"Stronger in the broken places" is one of my mantras due to the abusive childhood issues I (and countless others) have had to deal with.
No I don't carry resentments either Nick, I think one ends up being a slave to them and not accomplishing much else.
XO
WWW

wendy house said...

nice post and comments too :-) It's a pleasure to read your posts and the comments. In combination that's a rarity :-)

Nick said...

W3 - That's right, you get enslaved to the resentments, they turn into a ball and chain.

Nick said...

Wendy - Gee thanks! Do I assume you agree it's best to sweep up the debris and just move on?

wendy house said...

'Sweep up the debris' = what can I learn from that and do differently next time. 'move on' Lets get on with it - Tally Ho! - and the like. I don't see any value in 'revenge' or picking at a carcus. But a bit of reflection is increadibly valuable.

Nick said...

Wendy - I agree, we need to reflect on why something didn't go the way we wanted it to and whether it was a personal failing we can correct.

secret agent woman said...

Oh sure, go and post this immediately after I post the only negative thing I've ever said about my ex in the five years I've had my blog. You're just mad because I leaked information about you to the press.

Speaking of exes, we used to have a joke where we'd say, "Maybe I'll just lie on the floor and moan and review past injustices." That first occurred early in our marriage when I couldn't get the sewing machine to work and I decided to do just that. We laughed hard then, and used it as a reminder to see the humor in bad situations. In my professional opinion, hurts and mistreatment must be acknowledged and honored first and then let go. You have to get to a place of peace and acceptance, but it's a mistake to discount what has happened to you.

Nick said...

Secret Agent - Oh, that scurrilous media story is dealt with. You'll be getting the libel writ shortly.

I agree, you have to acknowledge the hurt and anger first or they just stew away somewhere. But having done that, you have to let them go, and walk on.

Baino said...

IF you get disappointed enough, it's just water off a duck's back. No point crying over spilt milk . .

meno said...

Trying ever so hard not to be bitter. I hope i succeed, as bitter is an ugly quality.

Nick said...

Baino - I don't think it's ever water off a duck's back, disappointment is always upsetting. But perhaps it gets easier to put disappointment behind you.

Meno - It must be very hard, now you're going through an especially nasty split-up. But bitterness is incredibly destructive.

e said...

Good advice, Nick. Things are still a bit of a mess here but moving forward. Off to sleep. Tomorrow is another day.

Nick said...

e - Indeed, tomorrow is another day. A day in which to make new plans and put aside the past and its disappointments.

Liz said...

It's often very tempting to scream about injustice and the feeling that you've been hard done by is difficult to kick off but, as you say, if you can't let go the bitterness erodes you.

Nick said...

Liz - Once you've done all the screaming and shouting, it's best to let all the emotion go and get on with life.

tattytiara said...

I lost a lot of important people very young, and I think that gave me a lot of good perspective to grow with. Fairness and deservingness and all, well, great concepts. Nice when we can make them work. They are our own inventions, though, not life's, so it's best not to go around expecting either and just roll with what happens.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Excellent post, Nick. We all need to be reminded now and then.

Strangely, every time I turn on my car radio lately, I hear "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones. I have decided it's my personal anthem, and I'd better take heed.

wendy house said...

emotional expression helps us understand and relate to people more effectively. Think of the scientific style of writing, written in the 3rd person, removal of words that are emotionally evocative - generally more difficult, and less-engaging, to read. Scientists that write books in the first person expressing frustrations and joy are easier to read, relate to and understand.

So actual expression of what we are feeling is increadably valuable, should happen. People who only express a limited range of emotions (happies and variations on that) make me feel uncomofrtable, as if they are perpetrating some form of self (and other person) decelption in the hope that it may turn into reality.

SecretAgents comment sounds very healthly. I will stamp my feet when I'm having a miner tantrum, my colleagues at work normally laugh when they see it - and thier laughter moves me on....

Nick said...

Tattytiara - Good point, fairness and deservingness are entirely human constructs, they don't exist in nature, for sure. If we expect life to be fair, we're expecting the impossible.

Heart - Indeed, you can't always get what you want. And sometimes you get the exact opposite of what you want.

Nick said...

Wendy - You're telling me, that impersonal academic style of writing drives me nuts. As you say, emotional expression is essential to communication. Many men are still reluctant to voice their feelings, they think emotions are "unnecessary".

Macy said...

Nick - you're absolutely right re not dwelling on perceived (or actual!)injustices. God knows, I learned that the hard way.

Nick said...

Macy - I think I got a lot more steamed up about injustices when I was young. But it didn't put the injustices right, it was just a big emotional splurge.