The Shape of Disappointment

I’ve had many disappointments in the past couple of years and two significant ones in the past 48 hours.  Each time they come with their own nuances and timing which either enhance disillusionment or slide gently into the recesses of the heart and mind.  I’ve found that key to the effect of a disappointing occurrence is the importance placed on the action, individual or one’s general outlook.

I tend to have an optimistic, bordering on delusional, happy personality.   Because of this, or so some studies have suggested, I may suffer from what is termed the ‘disappointment affect’ .  Essentially the disappointment affect theory posits that optimists have less ’emotional cushioning’ and when they feel disappointment are less equipped to deal with it.  Such a theory would help explain my periodic forays into inconsolable fretting when I face unexpected and negative results.

Disappointments take many forms and no two are exactly alike.  The slippery ones are less personal and may leave only a residue of melancholy.  Others are bricks ‘thrown’ by strangers with no thought for their effect but leave bruises and scars that impact our willingness to interact.  Still others are arrows that cut into sinew, bone, and soul from which the mind reels and the faith in others disintegrates.  Although I will continue to experience situations that result in anguish I have found resources to assist me in my attempts to transcend human circumstances.

Prayer and meditation calm the mind and may lessen the depth of disappointment.   Another is reminding myself that a compassionate heart in insensitive surroundings is always an easy target and needs superior armor.   Such armor must deflect without hardening the wearer.  Reminding myself that there are things I can control and things I can influence but there are many things over which I have neither is certainly helpful.  But as I wrote this I found a wonderful piece that I will be adding to my patchwork armor.

This is the next step in my journey to not yield to my natural reactions to disappointment.  Perhaps if you are on a similar journey you will find something within my post or the one below that will resonate and become a stepping stone towards that transcendent destination.


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