Handling Disappointment

During this past week I have been spending time thinking about disappointment. True, honest disappointment…the gut wrenching kind that comes suddenly and without warning. The type that often leaves you with the feeling of sadness or displeasure that haunts, when hopes, aspirations or expectations are not fulfilled.

When this happens I am usually able to pick myself up, wipe off my scrapes and keep on trekking following such a disappointment; however, not this time. Could it be because I am getting older? Am I used to being disappointed? Am I jaded? Or, have I had enough?

There is no two ways about it; we have all experienced disappointment. We’ve been disappointed in ourselves, others, outcomes, the weather, our job and just about anything else we can think of.

Most of the time I am proud to say I am able to overcome disappointment. I take it in stride. I try to find the good in every situation and move on, proving this basic quality of champions. Disappointment can break down the spirit of many people, and this past week I have watched it break down mine. This is life. In all of our lives, I have learned we each have to face our fair share of disappointments and setbacks. After all, that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? Or so I have been told.

For once I have decided not to list the many woes leading to the many disappointments I have experienced lately. Let’s just say they range from several medical setbacks, financial hurdles (my continual frustration with our ever declining Social Security disability system) and the people in life who are supposed to boost you up when you are down are the ones who continue to offer nothing but negativity — the toxic people who suck the life out of you.

The purpose of my blog was to tell the story of my spinal cord injury, the ongoing experience with Dr. Liar, the obstacle with my employer, countless doctor appointments as well as challenging other ordeals. However, I also wanted to help motivate others who are experiencing difficult times in their lives. It isn’t my objective to have a blog where I whine and complain. I want an inspirational, uplifting and motivational blog.  However, no matter what I do, the words on this blank page, are anything but motivational. I promise to do better and to work on my attitude and come back stronger. After all, I am only human. Maybe this is another way to experience some of what is going on in the world and to reach out to others.

To be honest, I try to only expose myself to positive energy. I seldom watch the news since it is only filled with heartache and silliness. However, there are times when I catch a glimpse of what is going on in the world. The madness in the political arena, the horrible storms, tornadoes and the sadness of more killings, neglected babies and abused children. While there are more people on unemployment, the government reports the statistics differently to favor what they want people to believe. Unemployment is at its highest and most people aren’t spending money, which is reflected in the declining economy.

Also, why is it professional sport teams seem to have unlimited budgets, but schools are cutting back on valuable educational programs and laying off teachers? While I consider myself one of the Philadelphia Phillies biggest fans, is it necessary to charge $100+ to attend a game? Does first basemen Ryan Howard need to earn $138 million over six years? That works out to $23 million per season although experts agree he is only worth $13 million per season based on his stats. Does he feel guilty for making the extra $10 million?

I must mention it again…to me, it seems as if somewhere along the way things have gotten a bit screwed up. Honest every day people are being laid off…my husband, our PA neighbors, my sister-in-law, just to name a few. How are people supposed to pay their bills? Have we gotten to be such a selfish society where no one cares? If we did, wouldn’t someone be doing something? That disappointments me more than anything…that we are a society that doesn’t care about one another.

Since I have been struggling with personal disappointment I decided to look for ways to best handle it. I found a few that captured my attention.

I found maybe if I viewed life as an adventure it would allow me to enjoy the greatest variety of experiences. I would still have the expectation of adventure, but I haven’t hemmed it into a preconceived package. Instead, I have made myself open to just about anything that comes along and my enthusiasm remains high. Life is always an experience. If I can do that, maybe I will enjoy the ride. Just maybe.

Secondly, there are valuable lessons in every experience we have. How do you feel about these life lessons? Truth be told, some of our most profound learning comes from situations that didn’t turn out the way we thought they would. Much of the time we get what we need rather than what we want. If learning and growing is a top priority, we will find reasons to appreciate a wide range of outcomes and experiences.

In the long run, it’s mostly up to us to decide what value we place on any experience. I believe if we are looking for disappointment, that’s what we are going to find. Things don’t always turn out the way we might like, that’s a fact we all live with. However, I can honestly say I didn’t go into my appointments looking for disappointing results or hoping things would change. They just did. So now I have to accept my fate and move forward whether I like it or not. One foot in front of the other. However, I must admit…it’s easier said than done. And, regarding this post, was it rather disappointing?…I hope not!

©My Unplanned Life and www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com, 2012.


About mswd

I am an individual living with a spinal cord injury. How the injury occurred, how I found out how severe my injury was and how my planned life suddenly became 'unplanned' is included in this blog. Also included is how the injury has tested my family and me. I believe you will discover it has been both a mentally and physically challenging ordeal and I learned a few lessons along the way. While I am still defining my life’s purpose since the injury, I have uncovered those who are injured, live with pain or have other obstacles to navigate are never able to escape. However, come with me as I explore ways to improve my life, learn to live with multiple neurological conditions, educate others and look for the silver lining. I believe with a little willpower, my caring family and God's guidance I will learn to forgive, hopefully forget how I was treated and dismissed by a doctor and uncover life's new purpose. I pray for painfree days and answers to questions that keep swirling through my mind. I also pray for a cure for neurological conditions and for the doctors to treat their patients with respect. Welcome to my journey. I would love to hear about yours!
This entry was posted in Depression, Disappointment, Dr. Liar, Medical Malpractice, Pain Management, Spinal Cord Injury and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Handling Disappointment

  1. neurovantage says:

    This was a great, great post. Your honesty and sincerity are inspirational enough. Being happy on false pretenses, or hiding your thoughts for the sake of “looking” good for others isn’t a good thing. Your authenticity is what keeps people coming back to hear what you have to say, and taking away from it a message that may affect their next life challenge.

    Remember, mswestfall? She went through that!

    • mswd says:

      Thank you so much neurovantage! I kept staring at the computer screen trying to write a ‘happy’ post when I wasn’t in a happy mood. I promised at the beginning of the blog I was going to be honest…good, bad, or indifferent. I appreciate your kind words and making me feel better about my post when I was feeling rather blue. Keep up your writing…really enjoying your posts and fingers are crossed for progress in the lab!

  2. Anna Southerington says:

    I agree with Neurovantage. Inspirational people are people you can identify with, in my opinion. People who face the same struggles and disappointments and yes, who experience disappointment. I once went to hear a lecture by an absolutely lovely Indian guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and he really was absolutely lovely. Happy, beaming, playful, joyful, dancing, even in the face of the toughest of questions and issues. Did I admire that? Yes. Absolutely. Did he inspire me? To be honest, no. Not really. His blissful state of mind was just so far removed from that of most of us, and it seemed completely out of reach and utterly unattainable for me, who had not spent a lifetime in Buddhist meditation. Quite simply, I was unable to identify with him, because he was nothing like me. Yes, I can strive towards reaching such a blissful state of mind… some day. But along the way, the people who inspire me are not the ones who are already there, but the ones who struggle just like me, and who experience disappointment and still carry on.

    • mswd says:

      Sweet, Dear Anna ~ you are such a joy and I am so glad we are back in touch (even though I am so overdue in sending you an email). Your own medical struggles are a constant reminder what can be done with a positive attitude. You faced your difficult situation along with family, friends and a fiery spirit and overcame it and are kind enough to help me. I think about you often and have read your messages many times. Thank you for your support and encouragement regarding this post. This wasn’t an easy week and I hesitated to even write a post. I thank you for sharing the story about the speaker and not relating since I have felt the same way. I gave your message a great deal of thought and agree we all have good and bad days and why not share a disappointing day (or days) with readers. I am human. I am in pain. And, there are days when life stinks. Ok…now, it’s how we face it that really matters. Now, I am going to read those great inspirational messages you sent me as I fade off to lullaby land. Hugs dear friend. Thinking of you often.

  3. Chatter Master says:

    MSWestfall….you do inspire. Handling disappointment, I think you do handle it by recognizing it for what it is, processing it, and deciding how to handle it. By writing. By screaming. By reshaping it in to a challenge. All of the above. Great post.

  4. mswd says:

    Chatter Master…when I am in a funk, all I need to do is to read your blog. Your writing is spirit-lifting! Your post today is priceless. I appreciate your kind words about handling disappointment and the ways to take it all in. You must have met me at some point. Prior to my injury, when faced with an abundance of nonsense, I was known to get in my car, drive to a remote location and scream as loud as my throat, lungs, voice, etc. would allow. When I was mentoring students fresh out of college I believe they thought I was nuts; however, one recently wrote to me and said it was her true escape and she thanked me for showing her my coping skill. I was so glad something useful rubbed off! I believe I must begin screaming again…but should alert the neighbors first 🙂 (gas prices as too high to drive to another location). Thank you again for your ongoing support — it means more than you know. XO

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