I don’t need to tell you that the world has changed.
We will change too. We have the opportunity right now to step up in every area of our lives. Our depth of relationship. Our coping with hard things. Our leadership in our families, our teams and our organizations. And one of the most important things we can face right now is our relationship with disappointment. Today I recorded a special live broadcast for all of us who are grappling with disappointment in this season.
Here’s an overview:
Disappointment is when expectations don’t meet reality.
Over the years, I’ve found that often disappointment is about unrealistic expectations, but right now, I think disappointment is about an unrealistic reality. None of us could prepare to have the many things we are tempted to build our life upon–our finances, our jobs, our kids’ schools, our routines, our relationships–be yanked out from under us, so completely and so quickly.
So yes, we are disappointed because even our healthy expectations have been crushed.
In this video, I talk about what expectations are and what to do when they aren’t met. Here’s the quick takeaways on how to manage your (and your family’s) disappointment in this season:
- Feel what you feel. Let yourself feel and express all the things for some time. A great time for journaling, art, music. Give yourself some time and give your children some time.
- Don’t shut down the feelings, even if they feel powerful or out of control. You can throw out a bunch of feelings from the feelings wheel to help name the feelings for yourself or your family. Avoid minimizing: “it’s not that bad” or deflecting: “you shouldn’t feel that way.” That only adds to the hurt. As a mom, I know it’s hard not to offer answers or tell your kids how they “should” feel, to tell them to “look at the bright side.” But the most important thing is empathy and presence at first. Also, remember that people deal with change very differently depending on their temperament and history. Give everyone room to cope the way that works best for them (that’s not harming or damaging)
- Expect to feel uneven. You may experience what seems like conflicting and simultaneous emotions: sadness and anger. Relief and anxious. Loss and fullness. Life actually becomes richer as you make space for what’s gray and uneven in your life right now.
- Continue to give yourself space to feel for at least a period of time each day or each week. If you don’t vent the feelings, they will come out sideways. But at the same time, you don’t want to drown in the feelings (but that level of depth is different for each person!) You honor your process by feeling, crying, emoting—and then rising up.
- Rather than “why did this happen?” Or blame, anger, ask yourself, “what am I learning from this?” “What does this teach me about what’s important to me?”
- Connect to your loss to the greater experience of humanity. As you experience grief, scarcity, or lack, you can connect what that feels like in you to the plight of many outside of this season. You might just find that this tangible experience of loss, isolation, and insecurity create a powerful future purpose when this ends.
One day, we will look back at this time with one of two lenses: through the lens of confinement and fear, or through the lens of connection and growth. How you handle these moments will change you in significant ways–will change all of us. Let us use this time to feel our true humanity–our limitations, our frailty, our disappointment–and come into new levels of connection and trust with our God and one another. ❤️