Disappointment: 4 Actionable Ways to Deal with it

disappointment at work

In more recent years, disappointment has become a common shared experience of people worldwide. From canceled graduation ceremonies, weddings to vacations, and other events, it seems as if no one can catch a break. However, rather than allow disappointment to get the best of us in the face of adversity, we must remain resilient. Therefore, if you want to learn more about constructively dealing with disappointing scenarios, keep reading.

Key Takeaways

  • Disappointment is an emotion that happens when we experience feelings of unhappiness.
  • Arrival fallacy, external factors, and childhood experiences are the three leading root causes of disappointment.
  • Prolonged disappointment can lead to medical conditions that affect your physical and mental health.
  • This emotion can be both positive and negative. However, how you choose to deal with challenges determines your life moving forward.

What is disappointment?

Before learning how to deal with disappointment effectively, we first need to understand what it is. Simply put, disappointment is an emotion that occurs when someone experiences unhappiness when their hopes and expectations go unfulfilled. Therefore, it is the sadness we experience from these instances that we define as being disappointing.

What causes disappointment?

Furthermore, while disappointment appears to be straightforward at first glance, it is actually a complex emotion we, as humans, all experience differently. Additionally, similar to other difficult emotions, being disappointed is necessary for all humans to grow as individuals and survive throughout their lifetime. Accordingly, there are three root causes that can instigate feelings of discontent. Let’s take a closer look at these causes in more detail below.

1. Arrival Fallacy

Arrival fallacy is a type of disappointment someone experiences when they become overly focused on accomplishing their goals. As a result, rather than enjoying the process, individuals tend to overwork themselves to the point that they begin to experience intense feelings of unhappiness.

2. External Factors

Moreover, the next cause of disappointment occurs when we have unrealistic expectations in relation to our current circumstances. Therefore, if our expectations are not met or fulfilled, we can experience significant feelings of sadness.

3. Childhood Experiences

The last root cause of disappointment we can experience in life is our childhood experiences. For example, you may have lost a close family member or friend or experienced a traumatic event that now causes you to focus on negative aspects in your current life rather than making the most out of different situations.

How do you know if you’re disappointed?

Furthermore, as mentioned above, feeling disappointed can manifest differently for everyone. Nonetheless, if you are experiencing feelings of unhappiness due to something not working out the way you desired it to go, it is likely that what you are feeling stems from being disappointed.

Is feeling disappointed always a bad thing?

Moreover, now that we understand what disappointment is, you may be wondering whether or not this emotion is a good or a bad thing. And the answer to this question is that it can be both positive and negative. Yes, disappointment can be devastating at the moment.

However, the actions an individual chooses that matter afterward can be positively transformative. Therefore, if you choose to persist past your negative experiences rather than take your disappointing emotions at face value, then you can use these occurrences to your advantage in order to grow for the better.


What are some examples of situations where disappointment can occur?

Furthermore, disappointment can occur as a result of many different situations. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at some example circumstances that you may be familiar with.

Example 1: You study diligently for an exam you fully believe you are going to do well on. However, when you get your test score back, you learn that you have not received the grade you had hoped for.

Example 2: You have been working hard at your place of employment. As a result, your managers notice that you are going above and beyond. However, when it is time for promotions, your managers choose another employee rather than you.

Example 3: An individual bought tickets to their favorite artist’s concert. However, the day before the event, the artist cancels their show due to unforeseen circumstances.

Example 4: Someone works countless hours towards their extracurricular activities, so they can apply to their dream university. However, during the admissions period, they learn that they have been shortlisted and may not be able to go to school there in the future.

4 Ways to Deal with Disappointment

Moreover, if you’ve been experiencing disappointment in your life recently, here are some effective methods on how to deal with it in a healthy, productive manner.

  1. Confide in and get advice from your friends, family, or a licensed therapist, as it can provide you with a new perspective on what you are experiencing and allow you to reflect.
  2. Adjust your expectations and find new solutions to the challenges you face.
  3. Allow yourself time to grieve and then move forward.
  4. Focus on improving your overall mental and physical wellbeing through exercising, journaling, a healthy diet, and other activities that make you feel happy and fulfilled.

Want to take a personality test used by Fortune 500 companies? Take our free DISC assessment today!

What medical conditions can being disappointed lead to?

Furthermore, when we allow disappointment to linger in our lives, it can lead to the development of several medical conditions that can affect our daily life. These medical conditions include:

Should I look for help?

If you are experiencing severe feelings of disappointment that have now begun to interfere with your ability to live a happy and productive lifestyle, it may be time to seek the guidance of a licensed medical professional. By seeking professional advice, you can learn methods that will aid you in moving forward in life while learning from past experiences so you can become the best version of yourself.

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