The only thing worse than being disappointed, is being disappointed by someone close to you. But disappointment is just a natural part of life and to be expected.
I often tell men, “We all have an appointment with disappointment. The only question is, how are we going to respond when disappointment shows up knocking at our door?”
But believe it or not, disappointment doesn’t necessarily have to be a buzz kill if you just take three cautionary steps:
Manage Your Expectations of Others
I have a saying, “Unmet expectations will lead to frustration.” But I guess I can add, it also leads to disappointment. There’s nothing wrong with expecting someone to keep their word, accept responsibility, and be counted on. But we must manage our expectations of them by realizing that they’re only human and capable of not following through. Then decide ahead of time how we’re going to respond before they disappoint us.
For instance, whenever I come home from a speaking trip, my wife almost always asks to pick me up from the airport. After giving her the time of my arrival and texting her before I’m getting on my return flight, my wife still manages to be 10-15 minutes late picking me up.
Am I disappointed? “Yes.” But in managing my expectations, I pre-plan what I’m going to do if she doesn’t show up on time: Maximize the wait. So, what’s the result? I avoid an unnecessary argument when she arrives, and I focus on what’s most important: making it home safely to my family.
Be Thankful For What You Receive From Others
When my wife arrives late to pick me up at the airport, I’m upset because I’ve been traveling all day: driving, flying, and waiting in lines. However, during that wait time, not only am I thankful to God for arriving home safely, I also intentionally go out of my way to thank my wife for agreeing to pick me up from the airport.
Because, honestly, having traveled all day, the last thing I want to do when I arrive home is get in my car and drive some more. So, even during my disappointment, I’m able to find something to be thankful for: my wife sacrificing her schedule to pick me up.
The truth is, no matter how much others disappoint you, if you search hard enough, you’ll still find something you can be thankful for in the disappointment. But you must look for it because if you’re not careful, disappointment can blind you.
Look at the Intention of Others, Not Your Feelings
Feelings were meant to help us, not control us. And when it comes to dealing with people, if you don’t take control of your emotions, your emotions will take control of you. And trust me, your feelings won’t care where you end up.
The Bible tells us that we should walk by faith, not by sight. And when it comes to disappointment, the truth is, most people are not intentionally setting out to let us down, betray us, or break their word. They’re just like you and me; they’re flawed, imperfect, human beings doing the best they can, the best way they know how.
So, when it comes to dealing with people close to you, focus on their intentions and their love and concern for you, not your feelings of them disappointing you.
If you remember these three tips, your next appointment with disappointment won’t be one you try to avoid but rather an opportunity you will take advantage of.