Do you feel disappointed by unfulfilled expectations?
In life, you’re not going to get everything exactly as you want, exactly when you want it. Sometimes, your expectations are not going to be met, whether by you, others, or the universe and the circumstances it throws at you.
This epiphany can be disappointing, to say the least. You get your hopes up and hype yourself up, only to have those same hopes dashed. When that happens, how can you recover? How can you get back on your two feet?
Here Are 7 Ways To Deal With Unfulfilled Expectations
1. Don’t Be Ruled By Shame
Shame can hold you back, and disappointment can cause you to slip into patterns of shame and anxiety. So, what do you have to do to prevent disappointment from taking over you? It’s simple – admit that you’re disappointed.
When you try to deny and repress your emotions, which is what often happens when you end up allowing disappointment and shame to consume you, you wind up living in constant stress. Eventually, that shame will boil over, and even if it doesn’t, you’ll be carrying that heavy feeling around with you.
But how can you let go of shame? The first step is in admitting that you’re feeling disappointed. Talk to someone you trust and confess your feelings, actions, or situation. Hear their perspectives, listen to their stories, and even share and laugh over the circumstances.
Disappointment can hurt, and that’s okay. But if you try not to feel that pain, you’ll only end up hurting even more later. So let yourself feel it. Allow the pain to touch you. Process the emotions, think about them, and, when you’re ready, let them go.
2. Don’t Overplay The Importance Of The Situation
When you first face disappointment, it can be very difficult to manage it. Indeed, you may blow the entire issue very far out of proportion. You might even feel as if the world is ending for you or that your life is over, even though that one unfulfilled expectation is very far from ending your life.
Humans often tend to exaggerate the importance of specific unwanted or negative events, which leads to the death of any positive thinking that you could otherwise find in that situation.
Most things that happen to us don’t have a huge amount of meaning, but they gain meaning when we attach it to them. When you attach significance to something that shouldn’t have that much significance, you give it power over you. Remember that unfulfilled expectations are not the end of the world – they’re mere hiccups on a long journey.
3. Let Go Of Perfection
A lot of us don’t think we’re holding ourselves to impossible standards of perfection, but we still forget to reconsider if our expectations are, in fact, ones of perfection. Consider how you see:
- Your present
- Your past
- Your future
- Your job
- Your family
- Your friends
- Your home
Are you holding these areas of your life to ridiculous standards? Are things just never good enough for you? Are you driving yourself and other people too hard? Doing these kinds of things can have adverse effects such as:
- Bringing stressful negativity due to the impossibility of reaching perfection
- Ending or harming relationships, projects, and career opportunities
- Causing you to become stressed out due to fear or knowledge of the impossibility of your task
- Leading to an obsession with social media and the perfection shown on Instagram and other platforms
- Being trapped because of a fear of failure or disappointing others or yourself
Does this mean you shouldn’t have high standards? Of course not! Know your self-worth, know what you deserve, and go after what you want. But don’t expect yourself, or the people around you, to reach heights that simply aren’t possible to reach.
4. Don’t Be Selfish
Selfishness is often a cause of unfulfilled expectations, but it’s not a positive trait to maintain. In the same vein of expecting too much out of other people, when you’re selfish, you damage your mental health, trap yourself, and harm others. Here are some examples of selfishness and how unfulfilled expectations can bring out the worst in it:
- Some of your pain may come from other people. When this happens, do you think it is an intentional attack on you? This emotion comes from a wave of selfish anger; when you’re in pain, you become angry and want to direct that anger at someone. But you need to give others the benefit of the doubt.
- Sometimes, you may inflict pain on other people. When this happens, you likely recognize it as an accident or mistake. Tying into the previous point, this is also intrinsically selfish – why are other people’s errors intentional, but yours accidental? This mindset mentally causes you always to play the victim and expect perfection from others.
- When you’re angry, it can feel like your anger is all that matters, and you may hate that anyone else is angry at the same time. This outburst is because anger has a habit of telling you that you’re always right – and it also has a habit of blowing things out of proportion, so you believe that what your unmet expectations are the worst things in the world.
Your expectations may make you think you work harder than everyone else. Is that truly the case, though, or is that only your perspective? Or, perhaps, are your expectations so unreasonably high that they’re unhealthy, and that’s why no one else is meeting them but you?
5. Don’t Hang Onto Unfulfilled Expectations
It’s difficult to let go of the emotions and pain of an unfulfilled expectation. Yes, you have to process emotion and think about it to deal with it, and that is instrumental in moving on. But the whole point is that you need to move on.
When you don’t release that pain, you’re holding onto that feeling of disappointment. It can cause you to get stuck and even lead you to feel like there’s no way to overcome it. You replay the scene of the incident again and again, as though hoping something different will happen each time you imagine it. You obsess over what could have been.
So don’t hang onto these feelings. Understand that your goal is to process them as quickly as possible so you can let them go and release them. Focus on that goal and focus on the idea of overcoming these emotional difficulties.
When other people let you down and cause your unfulfilled expectations, it can be tough to move past that and mend the damage to the relationship. But forgiveness is important in overcoming your disappointment, and it can also have positive effects on mental health. Here are some tips for forgiving others:
- Instead of placing direct blame, put yourself in their shoes, and understand where they are coming from. While their motivations don’t excuse wrongdoing, it can help you to empathize with them.
- Remember that everyone is human. You’ve made mistakes in the past, and these people will make their own.
- Focus on kindness over correctness. You may be in the right, but that doesn’t mean you have to be cruel. Be kind and demonstrate gentle compassion without stepping back from your position.
- Don’t look for more reasons to be angry or offended. When you already have a problem with someone, it’s easy to search for and find more “reasons” not to forgive them. Stop. All you’re doing is trapping yourself further!
Of course, forgiveness does not have to be directly given to those who are unrepentant, who have severely traumatized you, or who have done very serious and intentional damage. It is your decision whether to forgive people in these extreme cases or not. But, in most situations, unfulfilled expectations are ones that you can overcome, and your forgiveness can set you free.
But forgiveness also applies to yourself. When you fail to meet your self- expectations or when what you hoped would happen just doesn’t come to pass, it’s easy to become discouraged. You must forgive yourself for what happened. Here are some tips for self-forgiveness:
·Admit your wrongs
Openly tell yourself that you’ve made a mistake or set your sights too high, or admit to yourself the severity or minority of your situation.
· Find the lesson
Okay, so bad things have happened – but what can you learn from them? What can you take away? Finding the silver lining in the form of something learnable can help you accept that this is for the best.
·Write an apology to yourself
To forgive yourself, you must first be sorry. Try writing out a letter to yourself. Imagine you’re apologizing to a friend or a family member. It can be quite cathartic, and it allows you to be kinder to yourself.
You’re going to feel guilty and terrible for a while. That’s okay. Forgive yourself for feeling this way.
7. Get Back Into The Swing Of Things
Get back on track. You need to shake off the negativity and return to your routines. Good, positive routines help you with overall mental health due to healthier sleep, especially if you prioritize daytime routines over nighttime ones:
- Advancing towards your goals
- Creating new art
- Applying for new jobs
- Working on your projects
- Making proposals for new clients
- Practice your skills more and more
- Try new strategies and angles
- Set new goals