“It’s not people who disappoint us but our expectations.” This statement was made to me by a co-worker of mine a few years ago. Many days I reflect on this and try to weigh the truth of the statement. While we all have certain expectations which are typically based on our moral standards and principles is this the compass we use for other people? Why are we disappointed when people act a certain way? I believe we do set standards for people we interact with and when those standards are not met inevitably we are disappointed. Disappointment is a part of our life cycle but there is a way to avoid some of those disappointing moments. It has nothing to do with recalibrating our moral compass, but everything to do with acknowledging the difference between who we are and those who we engage. You can give yourself permission to have expectations of other people with the understanding that if those folks are cut from a different cloth, they may not be able to live up to your expectations. However, there are some basic things you seek to receive from people such as mutual respect, consideration and honesty. Probably one of the greatest disappointments you suffer is when people are not honest with you and have chosen to use deception rather than providing the truth of the matter. This is challenging for some depending on the subject, but it is always the right thing to do. Yet, people can struggle with being honest for fear of the consequences that may follow from the honesty extended. The truth about disappointment is that it can cause some people to form a wall where he or she will not allow people to get close and therefore be shielded from that emotion (so they think).
Perhaps one can set the stage for disappointment when the proper measures are not taken. I know you’re probably thinking exactly what does that mean. In my book, Poetry in Different Colors there is a poem entitled No Loss to Cut which speaks to how we romanticize who people are and allow them into our lives under a false perception. You can become entangled in a relationship and create expectations based on something that really doesn’t exist and subsequently think the person should live up to your inaccuracy of who they are. Admittedly people sometimes perpetrate and give false signals as to the character of who they are and if we don’t allow time to get to know the person we will buy in to it. However, with this poem it evolves on the premises of embracing the true character and acknowledging that the person may not be a good fit for you. You are probably familiar with the statement “cut your losses” however there are times when we walk away from a relationship and there is no loss to cut. Disappointment can be minimized in such an instance when you can identify you didn’t lose the prize because you are the prize, nothing disappointing about that at all.
The other poem in Poetry in Different Colors is Move Too Soon which paints a picture of a person in a hurry to secure the ideal person and has blurred vision about exactly who they are engaging with. A gambit of emotions arise from the experience and disappointment is implied through the writing, but to help counter the disappointment you take the lesson and use wisdom for future encounters. Maybe it can be said that disappointment has two sides to it, the emotion and the lesson. Obviously disappointment lends itself to how we feel, but the lesson from the disappointment should cause us to move differently going forward so that we can avoid the same or similar pitfalls. How we deal with our disappointments will always be determined by how we perceive them. When you feel disappointed take it as a whistle blowing which indicates get up, dust yourself off and keep going. Remember when you are disappointed wallowing in self-pity is not an option and that’s not even cute!