Defeating Disappointment

June 9, 2021

by LaVerne H. Collins, PhD, LPC, LCMHC, NCC

Defeating Disappointment:  Strategies to Overcome Any Obstacle and Succeed

We’ve all been there. We think we’re well on our way towards a specific goal – whether it’s a new career or a new lease on life – when all of a sudden disappointment comes! We have a setback. Perhaps something you were expecting something that fell through, someone else got the job, or somehow your perfect plan just didn’t work out.


Disappointment is only human. However, knowing how to accept, manage, and strategize beyond disappointment is the real key to success! Here are some tips to help you stay on track, remain motivated, and defeat your disappointments so that you can overcome them and reap your success:


1.      Accept reality. Disappointment is a part of life. In order to experience success, every person faces setbacks or disappointment sometime in their life. The reality of life gives us the polarity of setbacks and successes to better appreciate our wins. Such setbacks also encourage us to strive harder to achieve our goals.  Overcoming challenges brings us the wisdom to reach even higher goals.


2.      Accept relativity. Facing up to the fact that life will always bring trials to overcome will help you beat disappointment in your current mission. Hindsight will inevitably show you that many setbacks are not as big as you thought they were. Realizing that life could have handed you a much larger disappointment helps you put the setback in perspective.


3.      Do not dwell. When you are hit with a challenge to obtaining your goal, it can be very easy to sink into disappointment. If you find yourself having a pity party, pull yourself up with some positive thinking. Above all else, do not dwell on the last snafu in your struggle to succeed. Dwelling on your disappointment will not change the fact that it happened.  Spending your time feeling sorry for yourself will delay your success as well as permeate your life with unnecessary pessimism and futility.


4.      Create realistic expectations. Like many people today, you may be harboring an unrealistic expectation of yourself. Perhaps you had this inspiring idea to change your life in some grand way. Naturally, you want to achieve your goal now and without anything less than stellar performance! However, realistically, you must recognize that achieving your goals may take some time. You can always adjust your expectations higher and higher as you conquer new goals!  Having unreal expectations of yourself will only set you up for dismay.


5.      Learn from your mistakes. When a setback occurs, you might be inclined to toss in the towel on the whole enterprise! However, a much wiser person bent on success will acknowledge the disappointment as a learning experience.  If you examine how and why the unwanted situation occurred, then you may be able to restructure your strategy for even bigger and better things than you had originally planned!


6.      Stay positive. “ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV)  Pessimistic thoughts can swallow you whole if you let them, forcing you to delay or give up your dreams altogether. Pessimistic thoughts can swallow you whole if you let them, forcing you to delay or give up on your dreams. Stay positive and follow through with decisive, confident, positive action.


Even though disappointment may creep into your life when you least expect it, you can take it in stride with these tips. Setbacks don’t define your life; it’s how you react to them that will determine your success. When you face disappointment, learn from the situation, deal with it positively, and confidently move forward toward your goal.