Some of you may have heard me talk on 6PR about how to cope with disappointment, in light of the bitter blow Dockers fans were dealt when their team didn't win the grand final. I suggested that as with this disappointment and perhaps even more serious ones, there are 5 steps to follow:
1. Manage emotion
2. Don't take it personally
3. Review expectations
4. Take a bigger picture perspective
5. Try again - or try another tac
1. Manage Emotion: This step would be number one when dealing with any difficult and perhaps unexpected life circumstances. You need to experience your emotional reaction to the event and it's important to let yourself feel so that you can figure out what the event means to you. Don't be tempted to make any important decisions at this point or even to take action on your feelings. It may be a few hours or a few days before you reach a calmer state of mind; when you do, only then should you act.
2. Don't Take it Personally: So may of us are all to ready to attribute negative life events to our own personal failings. We say that we deserved it, or attracted it to ourselves or were not "good enough" to have a different outcome. The reality is, life will simply do what it does, whether you are there or not and in this instance, you happened to be present during the event, which actually had nothing to do with you. When you take something personally, it unncecessarily narrows your point of view and prevents the acquiring of wisdom, which is an ability to see life from a deeper, broader, more meaningful perspective. Instead of making it "all about me", allow yourself to "not know" by reminding yourself: "I don't know, I don't know". That way you can be available to a real understanding of an event when it arises and not one you just made up for the sake of expedience. You may eventually discover more about yourself and life but not within the time limits you set! Remember to just wait and that when it comes to insight, impatience is NOT your friend.
3. Review Expectations: When you take a good look at your expectations, you will be getting closer to a truer understanding of the event. Perhaps your expectations were unrealistic, or they could be adjusted a little to cope with this new reality. Either way, now is the time to question whether these expectations actually serve you or not.
4. Take a Bigger Picture Perspective: The ability to self-reflect is the essence of good mental health. Take some time to really explore what is happening for you around this event - what it means to you and what it has taught you about life. Talking to a therapist, someone who really listens and has your best interests at heart is very therapeutic. It can help you recover, reevaluate, gain insight and clarity that will surprise you and make you feel better.
5. Try Again - Or Try Another Tac: Having followed these steps, it's now time to make an important decision about what to do next and how to take action. If you genuinely think it's possible to succeed by trying again, then by all means have a go. Alternatively, the wisest course of action might be to try another tac. With greater powers of self-reflection, a deeper understanding and newfound resources in dealing effectively with disappointment, you are now more likely to experience success.
I've have created this blog to help you clarify and resolve pressing issues you are currently struggling with. I hope that you find the following advice useful but remember to contact your preferred mental health professional for help in implementing some of these strategies.