Monday, July 30, 2018

Only one way to handle disappointment

Parent help is one of the highlights of my week. I love going into my son’s class to assist his teacher and other school staff. I love working in another school environment as a chaplain. And I loved helping in my daughters’ classes when they were children too.
It strikes me, the more I’m involved in school environments, just how holistic education is. It’s not just about the academic work or the ‘formative’ years. There is very much a social dimension to education that carries through beyond school, even, hesitant as I say this, into life as a 50-year-old. We’re always learning.
I was reminded of this as I watched my child interact in a class session on the mat. He wasn’t chosen to do something, and I glimpsed something remarkably human in his disappointment. I saw myself in his disappointment. And, thank God, not one iota of me sought to defend him.
‘It is what it is, son.
Acknowledge it and move on.’
That’s what I felt I heard God say to my spirit. It was both a personal Word from my God to me, His child, in my disappointments, and from me to my son, as I agreed fully with the truth God showed me in his disappointment.
Life is littered with disappointment. It’s inescapable. And we always feel as if we’ve been hard-done-by. If we’re not careful disappointment grows legs and runs full tilt toward bitterness and headlong into the eventual ‘prize’ of resentment.
As a five-year-old the disappointment seems obvious on the face, a heart that is momentarily rejected, but they seem quickly to get over it. But on a fifty-year-old that disappointment is often concealed in an ‘Oh, I’ll be fine… it’s really okay…’ when at times my soul is actually saying, ‘Gee, that hurt!’ And, ‘If I’m honest, I’m stunned!’
The point is disappointment stings. We don’t expect to not get our way. And it reinforces feelings of injustice (‘it’s not fair!’) or residual feelings of inadequacy (‘these things always happen to me’, and ‘why am I always the target?’) or one of a range of other not-so-good feelings and attributions.
Two things we can do about disappointment: 1) acknowledge it happened; that we felt the sting of disappointment, and that that is okay, without judging it, and 2) move on. That’s right, we just move on. We don’t give the disappointment that emerges any more attention than it deserves.
I didn’t like it when it happened,
but I’m not going to let it define me.
Hard as it is,
when disappointment happens,
it’s best to acknowledge it hurts,
take courage to feel it,
learn what you can,
then let go and move on.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.