That sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, doesn’t it? How can you possibly be happy with something that disappoints you?
Well, to answer that question, you have to delve a little deeper into what disappointment really is…
The dictionary defines it as “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.” Basically, it means we’re sad/displeased because we didn’t get the thing we hoped/expected would make us happy.
Which leads to the question: what if that wasn’t really the thing that would make us happy?
In my post “The Endless and Exhausting Pursuit of Happiness“, I talked about how we’re often so busy looking for something we believe will make us 100% happy that we fail to enjoy the things that hit the 50% happiness mark. And, when we never find that 100% happy thing, we feel dissatisfied.
How does this connect? Simple: disappointment can help us to evaluate our perceptions of the things that make us happy!
When we’re disappointed about something, it gives you a chance to look at WHY we feel that disappointment. There’s a very real chance the thing we’re disappointed about is something that we believed would make us happy, but in reality it won’t. We’re so fixated on something or someone that we feel that disillusionment when we fail to get it.
Next time you get that feeling, stop to examine what it is you’re disappointed about. Maybe it’s a “future hope” that brings more anxiety than is healthy, and you’ll actually be happier if you live in the present moment. Or it’s something you were 100% certain you wanted, but in reality you’re just as happy without it (once the initial disappointment passes, of course).
Disappointment is a negative feeling, but it can bring about a positive outcome. If you take the time to examine the thing that’s causing the feelings, you can discover just how wrong or right your perceptions, hopes, and expectations are. In the long run, that self-examination will lead to personal growth.