How To Deal With Disappointment & Loss

Yo, what’s good world?  I know, dear readers that I haven’t written a blog post in like forever, and some of y’all have been checking for me on various social media, so I thought it was about that time to say something.

In summary, if you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, basically just handling my grown up business – working my corporate day job, dealing with life as a Mom to my son, paying bills and taking care of my household, and of course writing.  One other thing I’ve been doing, recently in particular that deserves special and separate mention, has been better organizing my house and my life.  In so doing, I’ve especially been taking inventory of my life – am I where I want to be in my life and do I have the right people in my life with whom to continue on my journey?

So in generally culling who I would consider to be my tribe, and otherwise making sense of who and what specifically needs to stay or be removed from my home and my life, I thought I’d share some insights here with you all.  Basically, the process has not been totally painless.  Then coming to the realization that some things and relationships needed to be redefined, replaced or even let go entirely, left me to consider, when things don’t go according to how we’d like, hope, plan or expect, how do we get over those losses and disappointments?  So here’s a list I hope will help you to keep or gain some perspective here too as you’re going through your own life and relationship transitions:

  1. Be mindful of your expectations.  Essentially, don’t ask anyone for any more than what he or she is actually prepared for and willing to give you.  And if you find that someone has over-committed or over-promised, but is consistently under-delivering, find ways to adjust your expectations accordingly.  This also includes setting reasonable and realistic expectations for what you can contribute to the other person’s life.  Be prepared because these expectations will change over time too.
  2. Communicate.  It’s essential that you don’t assume you really know and understand how someone else thinks or feels, or even how another person sees a particular situation, regardless of what you consider to be “the truth.”  Often times, conflicts and misunderstandings arise because people don’t share the same perspective on what happened, and there are lots of reasons for this.  Other than making up a story to explain something they don’t understand in their own minds (which may or may not have anything to do with what really happened), another main reason people have disagreements is simply due to missing context.  So be assertive and stand up for yourself without getting defensive in a conversation.  Yet also be willing to see if you can talk through a problem to understand the other person’s point of view, even before you share your own (seek first to understand, and then to be understood).  Know when to be silent and just listen, and not overshare or be judgmental in a situation as well.  However, keep in mind too that in some situations, the other person may never see an issue the way that you do, no matter what you say or do.  In which case…
  3. Know when to say when.  Much like knowing your limits for drinking alcohol, having very clear boundaries in place for yourself is critical and will help you know when to exit a situation or a relationship.  Like a hand of cards dealt in a card game, there are just some situations in life that will not be resolved as you would’ve wished, and you have to know when to be able to walk away.  Especially because some situations will only become more and more toxic over time if you don’t extricate yourself from them earlier on.  So don’t allow your fear of losing something or someone, no matter how important to you, control doing what’s right to protect your heart and mental health.  Basically, know when to swallow your pride and apologize and work it out when you can, but also know when to say enough is enough and just chalk the situation up, before you chuck up the deuces and move on.
  4. Expect betrayal.  While lots of times, we unreasonably and unrealistically somehow expect that life will go perfectly, and be smooth sailing according to plan all the time, that just isn’t how life works.  The truth is, no matter how much we try to deny or suppress it, ultimately we need to accept that heartache and heartbreak are part of the human condition.  Additionally, like my aunt says, “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and also, everyone is one (an asshole that is…).”  Unfortunately, free will means not always doing the right thing, and we all have days where we wish we could get a do-over for something we said or did.  So just expect that people will not always do right by you, as you’ve also likely transgressed against other people.  Yes, it sucks, but in reality, this is just the way it is.  Besides, like the old African proverb says, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”  So if you think of it this way, no matter how suck-tastic a situation is, we can always gain insight into ourselves and others, become more resilient, and otherwise obtain other valuable life skills as we deal with fundamentally painful situations.
  5. Get help.  Whether it’s from friends, family, a therapist, church or other community members, if you’re having difficulty dealing with a situation on your own, request backup.  Sometimes just even having any type of social support, or someone who can listen to how you feel about what’s happened/is happening, can give you comfort and possibly help you to cope with it more readily.
  6. Evaluate.  Spend time reflecting in retrospection on why you ended up with a certain undesirable outcome.  The goal isn’t just to figure out what went wrong, but also, to identify how and why.  A major question to assess here is: what can you learn from what happened so that you have different outcomes in the future?

So whether you’re going through a break up or even a divorce, a job change due to workplace conflict, a friendship ending, or any other major relationship life change right at the moment, know that eventually you’ll be able to move past the worst of it as, “this too shall pass,” and that ultimately, you’ll be okay.

I hope this helps, but if not, feel free to try self-medicating with chocolate… 😉



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