How to Deal with Disappointment
I’m feeling unusually crestfallen right now.
For several weeks, I have been looking forward to spending time with someone very special. It was someone I have been in love with since I was a teenager. When I found out he was traveling to Phoenix, I moved heaven and earth so we could meet. Our time had finally come, and I knew it was going to be amazing.
I had come up with this scenario about how our time together would go. We would embrace. He would look into my eyes and say my name. We would laugh. He would ask me questions about myself. He would be interested in what I had to say. We would have a real conversation.
He would care.
After work, but prior to our date, I hurried home. I rushed past my husband so I could brush my teeth, curl my hair and refresh my makeup. I changed clothes and put on my most comfortable come-hither boots and jeans.
And then, we set off on our journey to see this long, lost love of mine.
Yes, my husband, James, came with me. In fact, he even drove me to the meeting place. James also was looking forward to seeing this man every bit as much as I was.
We had about a thirty minute drive in the car on the way to our destination. I was tense with excitement. I wasn’t sure exactly what I would say when I finally saw him, but I knew I would forever regret it if I didn’t make the most of our time together.
We arrived in the congested parking lot of our destination. The gods were smiling upon us, as someone pulled out of a spot almost immediately. We whipped right into it.
My husband looked at me and asked “Are you ready?” I checked my lipstick in the mirror one last time, took a deep breath and said, “Yes. Let’s do this.”
We walked across the parking lot to the lines in front of Tempe’s legendary Changing Hands Bookstore. There were hordes of people – women – who were also dressed in their best imitation 80’s gear. The jeans were ripped, the hair was teased, and the makeup was heavy.
Everyone wanted to impress Billy Idol as much as I did.
Billy has just written and released his new book, “Dancing With Myself.” I was there to get it signed. I was hoping he would autograph my chest, too. 😉
Anyway- back to Billy – to put it simply – I’m a fan. Billy was with me during some pivotal experiences during the twilight of my adulthood. He was with me when I got my first period, when I suffered my first heartbreak and during several nights of collegiate drunkenness. I still remember someone pushing me down the street as I rode in a grocery store shopping cart and we both screamed “Mony, Mony” at the top of our lungs.
In my world, Billy is (and was) a big deal. I wanted him to know just how much he meant to me.
I couldn’t believe my fortune when James and I found out we were “special” and wouldn’t even have to wait to meet our Idol. One of the store clerks escorted us to the front of the line. The very, VERY front. As we navigated through the maze of fans, my eyes were fixated on Billy.
Beautiful, beautiful Billy. Still bleached blonde. Still in black leather. He still appeared to be everything I thought he was for a majority of my life.
Once we reached the front, things happened very quickly. Neither James nor I were really ready for this. I wasn’t even able to get my camera out of my purse because before I knew it, the store manager was shoving books in our hands. He barked at us that we couldn’t take close up pictures, that we couldn’t touch Billy and that one of us needed to “Go! Now!”
James, always ready to take the bullet first, set off across the long walk to the table where Billy was sitting. It seemed like things were happening in slo-mo. I saw James looking at Billy. Billy was looking down at James’ book and signing it. I didn’t see either of their lips moving. Then, the manager was screaming at me.
Billy turned towards me. Our eyes met. He waved me over.
We maintained eye contact as I walked “the green mile.” I clutched my book to my chest. I smiled. I said “Hi, Billy!”
I reached the table, and someone snatched the book from my hands and gave it to him. I examined his face, covered in heavy makeup and eyeliner. He looked more wrinkled than he had from afar. In fact, he was so wrinkled, he looked something like a Shar-pei.
It didn’t matter. I still thought he was kind of cute.
My studying of his gorgeousness must’ve lasted a few seconds too long. As I opened my mouth to say everything I had been wanting to tell him for years, he had already signed my book and was handing it to me with a blank, bored look on his face. I flashed my brilliant whites one more time and said, “Thank you!” He didn’t say a word and instead, turned towards the next person in line who was getting screamed at by the bookstore manager.
I was crushed.
I had expected things would go differently.
I missed my opportunity.
Things just didn’t pan out the way I envisioned.
Maybe they would have had I been prettier.
Maybe they would have had we not been moved to the very front of the line. That would’ve given me a chance to “get ready.”
Maybe they would have…
Never panned out.
Dealing with disappointment sucks. Especially when you have your whole heart and soul set on a person, relationship, or opportunity.
How do you deal with disappointment when it comes your way?
I have some ideas:
1. Remember that disappointment is a part of life.
For everyone. Even people like Billy Idol. If you aren’t experiencing disappointment, you aren’t human. Learn to be at peace with that.
2. Remember that by exposing yourself to potential disappointment, you are also exposing yourself to potential joy beyond your wildest dreams.
If you aren’t experiencing disappointment, you aren’t fully living. If you are feeling as though you have failed at something (and are disappointed), that means you are taking risks and going out on a limb. That’s what life is about, baby!
3. Remember that disappointment is an opportunity to practice the art of acceptance.
There are just some people or things you cannot control. While you might experience anger, fear, or despair as a result of your disappointing experience, you also might experience something else: freedom. Freedom from any more worry because you know that you’ve done everything you can to get what you want. This freedom, however, only comes with accepting your situation as it is.
Be patient. This might take some time. That’s OK.
4. Remember that disappointment allows you to pivot and shift.
To make it in this world, you must be able to adapt to change. The more you practice you get at adapting, the better you become at doing it.
After a disappointing experience, sit for a bit and think about how you would like things to change. Then, remember that if you want things to be different, you must act differently. Get outside of your box. Think creatively. Do something new.
Shift your focus from the disappointment about what you didn’t get and think about how you already have everything you need. (You really do.)
5. Remember that you are lovable and capable.
Insist on being treated with the respect you merit. You deserve to have your heart’s desires fulfilled. You are a gift. Teach others to honor your divine nature by honoring your own divinity first.
You. Are. Loved.
In two weeks, James and I are headed back to Changing Hands to see Gene Simmons at his book signing. I can’t wait. I’ll let you know how it goes.