Handling Disappointment

Life is full of disappointments.

Its not cheery, but its true. They come in all shapes and sizes and they matter.

I’ve been journeying through a few disappointments recently. Some of them big, some of them small, some personal and some relational.

As we grow up we learn so many practical and educational things but not many people grow up with someone teaching them to properly care for their hearts and handle their emotions. When it comes to handling disappointment I admit Ive never really known what to do. I guess Ive mashed together what I saw around me growing up with what Ive learnt from observing both the world and the church. The messages Ive received go something like this…

  • keep calm and carry on
  • have a good attitude
  • find the positive in it
  • be sad inside but don’t show it
  • but on a brave face in front of people
  • handle with humour, sarcasm and diminishment
  • toughen up and move on

Ive chosen to disregard most of those ways. They don’t work for me.

Im trying a different way, a more honest way, a more wholehearted way, a way that honours my story, reflects my faith, grows my character. A way that keeps me soft, open, willing to risk and try again. A way that I would advise others to do but struggle to give myself the grace for. By no means have I got this nailed but I’ve been trying this instead of the above….

  • Brutal honesty in prayer, there’s no point of sugar coating stuff with God…he knows what we really think and feel, and he resides in our reality not our denial.
  • Honesty with my family and a trusted few.
  • Acknowledging and owning my disappointment and other consequential feelings.
  • Catching and rejecting lies about God, myself and others that come up.
  • Allowing myself to fully feel the range of emotions that ensue.
  • Acknowledging that whatever it is matters.
  • Receiving love and comfort from the Lord.
  • Mourning what I’ve lost if its a big disappointment
  • Looking forward with gratitude and hope….I’m going to be ok
  • Seeing what I can learn from it

That sounds like a lot but considering most of this stuff happens in our minds and we think thousands and thousands of thoughts every day its not really. I want to give you an example of how this looks with a real situation to bring it to life.

I had a writing rejection last week and I was deeply sad and disappointed. When I got the email I knew immediately that it was a big moment, I felt the weight of it, I knew my response was critical. I could sense the love of the Father so strongly inviting me to walk with him right from the beginning, I knew there much freedom he wanted to teach me.

Its personal and raw but I want to walk you through it, because God walked me through it and it was hard, beautiful and worth sharing.

I got the email in front of Jon and Sophia as I read it out I tried not to cry, I knew instantly, this is worth tears…let them come…so I did. I wanted to harden up to protect Sophia but instead I was vulnerable in an age appropriate way, giving her permission to be sad when she is disappointed. I wanted to go inward and shut Jon out, but I softened and let him comfort me. It was so hard and so holy.

It was time for the school run and Jon offered to do it and take Soph. I wanted to say no, I hate feeling like a burden, but I didn’t I gave in and let him help me. It was so hard and so holy.

The dog needed a pee so I took him out in the garden, horrible thoughts assaulted my mind

‘Your a rubbish mum anyway, your not the right person to have written that book’

‘Your writing isn’t good enough’

‘Just give up’

‘Im totally overwhelmed, Im never looking at it again’

I wanted to agree with the negative thoughts, indulge in them, let them grow, allow in negativity and self pity. But I didn’t I rejected them and replaced them with truth

‘Im an imperfect writer and mum but I try my best’

‘I can cope’

‘Im not giving up’

It was so hard and so holy.

I went upstairs got in the bath and sobbed my heart out, I felt ridiculous but it was so releasing. I prayed, I read psalms, I journaled honestly about it all. I fought against ‘putting my best foot forward’ and ignoring what I felt, I let all my emotions pour out. This took a couple of days because Im a mum and my life isn’t filled with endless hours to reflect, but I found the time when I could. It was so hard and so holy.

I spoke to a couple of people I love and trust about it all. I wanted to sound super spiritual and say all the right things, I wanted to make jokes to lighten it all, but I didn’t. I let their words of love and encouragement come into my heart, I told the truth about how I was doing. It broke down my pride and faking it. It was so hard and so holy.

One of the most beautiful parts of it all was chatting it though with my kids. Letting them see me sad, inviting them into my process with the Lord, letting them see that I get affected by life too, and thats its ok to have feelings. Showing them we can be disappointed without giving up hope.

Finally I began to look forward with hope and honesty, trusting the Lord for my future. Im still figuring out all that Ive learnt through the rejection and disappointment, but one things for sure Ive learnt how to handle my heart better in disappointment! Im shedding off the false messages and destructive coping mechanisms. Im saying no to medicating, distracting and diminishing my pain, and you know what I feel good. I feel hopeful for the future.

Sorry for the long blog, it was a long journey!

As always I hope it gets you thinking about your own story

Love Emma x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. bringonthejoyblog
    Nov 19, 2018 @ 14:47:24

    This beautiful piece of writing, my dear, amazing, gifted, whole-hearted, tenacious, truthful, wise friend…this is why I absolutely believe your words matter and others need to hear them. On your team, all the way xxx

    Reply

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