Care2 will go offline for site maintenance July 31 at 9pm PST.
START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

It’s Okay To Disappoint People

It’s Okay To Disappoint People

By Mike Robbins

How do you feel about disappointing others? How about being disappointed yourself? I’ve recently noticed how much of my conscious and unconscious attention is focused on not disappointing others, while at the same time protecting myself against being disappointed.

As I’ve been looking at this more deeply, I’m amazed by how much stress, fear, and worry I experience in my attempts to avoid the disappointment of those around me – family, friends, clients, and others. At the same time, I can see that much of this comes from my own deeper fear of being disappointed and let down. The irony, of course, is that no matter how hard I try to avoid disappointing others or being disappointed myself, it happens anyway.

By actively avoiding disappointment (of or by others), we set ourselves up for failure and pain. And, as I’ve seen recently, this makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to speak our truth, be ourselves, and live with a real sense of authenticity and peace.

Embracing Disappointment

What if we embraced disappointment instead of avoiding it? It’s inevitable that we will disappoint people, especially when we live our lives in a bold, authentic, and passionate way. Speaking up, going for the things that are important to us, and taking care of ourselves are all things that at times won’t align with others and in some cases may even upset them. It is possible for us, however, to be mindful, empathetic, and aware of others, and still be true to ourselves – these things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Asking for what we want, counting on others, and trusting people – all of which are essential for healthy, fulfilling, and real relationships – do make us vulnerable to being disappointed and even hurt by the people in our lives. So what! We end up getting more hurt and disappointed in the long run by withholding our desires and expectations. We might as well live out loud and be honest about how we feel, what we want and what’s important to us.

As Dr. Seuss so brilliantly said, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Disappointment, as uncomfortable and even painful as it can be for me and many of us, is essential and important on our journey of growth, self discovery, authenticity, and fulfillment. Making peace with disappointing others allows us to release our erroneous demands for perfection. Letting go of our fear of being disappointed by other people gives us the ability to take more risks and ask for what we truly want.

When we’re able to embrace disappointment, we create a sense of liberation and space that frees us up to be who we truly are and let go of our attachment with other people’s opinions. This is not always easy, but is so powerful and can be transformational.

Here are a few things you can consider and do to expand your capacity to embrace disappointment in your own life:

  • Take inventory. Take an honest look at some of the most important relationships and activities in your life. How many of your actions, thoughts, conversations, and more (or lack thereof) have to do with your avoidance of disappointing others or being disappointed? Also, take a look at your relationship to disappointment in general – how do you feel about it?
  • Practice saying “no.” This is a great practice, especially for those of us “people pleasers” who find ourselves saying “yes” to stuff we don’t really want to do. While there is great value in being someone who is willing to say “yes” in life, there is also power in owning our “no” as well. See if you can practice saying “no” to people, even if it’s scary or uncomfortable. Be real and vulnerable about it – with yourself and others. And, see if you can expand your capacity to decline requests of things you don’t want to do, remove things from your plate or schedule that don’t serve or inspire you, and make peace with yourself about it. As author and coach Cheryl Richardson says, “If it’s not an absolute ‘yes,’ it’s a ‘no’.”
  • Expand and express your desires. Make a list (mental or written) of some of the most important and vulnerable desires you currently have – the things you really want, but maybe have been afraid to admit (due to a fear of being disappointed). Many of us, myself included, don’t ask for things, go for things, or express things unless we’re pretty sure we can make them happen, get them, or be sure people will respond to them in a positive way. While this makes sense, it’s also quite limiting. When you allow yourself to tap into and express your authentic desires, even if what you want doesn’t seem “possible” at the moment, you give yourself the freedom to ask, dream, and create. One of my favorite sayings is, “The answer’s always ‘no’ if you don’t ask.” Start asking!

As you delve into this, be kind with yourself. This is a big one for me and so many people I know and work with. We all want to be loved, valued, and appreciated in our lives. And, most of us have had painful experiences of disappointment in the past, which have impacted us in a deep way. However, if we can alter our relationship to disappointment – we can transform our lives and our relationships in a profound way!

How do you feel about disappointing others? How about being disappointed? What can you do to make peace with and embrace disappointment in an empowering way? Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more.

Mike Robbins
www.Mike-Robbins.com

Read more: Life, Relationships, Spirit, Stress, , , , , , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

51 comments

+ add your own
1:27AM PST on Jan 25, 2013

Why is everyone so hellish about simplicity?

6:25AM PDT on May 27, 2012

I try very hard not to show my emotions, but sometimes they slip out. I guess I have too low an emotional intelligence quotient.

6:23AM PDT on May 27, 2012

No, Turid, you're totally wrong. Emotions should never be shown openly.

5:41AM PDT on May 27, 2012

True, I do it all the time.

11:28AM PDT on May 24, 2012

Yes!
Emotional honesty does not hurt others in the long run.
With respect and tenderness we can express how we feel and tell about our deepest needs.

2:41PM PDT on May 21, 2012

Pleasing others should not be our goal in life.

9:44PM PDT on May 15, 2012

relief for all passive-aggressive types

8:21AM PDT on May 14, 2012

there's only been a few times, when I was much younger, that I let someone talk me into something I didn't really want to do, mostly because I felt unqualified, I knew the attention would interfer with other obligations, or I just plain wasn't interested.The person who pushed for this was used to getting her way with organizeing people and she would just keep at it till they caved.I read that as no respect for personal limits.So when someone asks you to do something and you have resistence to it, you probably have some good reasons for it. Let them go on to find another who does want to help in the way that is requested. Everybody will be happier with the results all around.

7:22PM PDT on May 13, 2012

thanks

12:40PM PDT on May 13, 2012

I really really need this reminder, thanks!

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Good article,thanks for sharing

I agree with this 100%!!! When my friends tell me that they don't have the money for the healthy exp…

So cute. Thanks for sharing.

If this helps, I will be one happy 'elephant'!

That's "MANY schemes. Sorry about that.

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.