Failure. Disappointment. Both are natural human responses. When we've tried and what we've tried do not work, it's natural and normal to feel as though we've failed and to, therefore, feel disappointed. So, don't let anyone tell you otherwise or try to make you feel guilty, abnormal, or weak just because that's what you feel. If you've invested time, effort, and resources, especially if you've invested lots of them, for what you hoped to be successful to only turn out opposite, doesn't it make sense that you're going to experience some sort of emotional response that's not thrill, happiness, or excitement?
The end result of disappointment may be the same for many of us, but what gets us there may differ. For you, it may be not getting a job you so wanted and just "knew" you would get. For me, maybe it's not getting a client that I zealously pursued for some time and at great length. For others, it may be a myriad of other reasons: not getting a well-deserved raise, bonus, or promotion; the seller of a house that's absolutely perfect for a family accepts their offer to buy, but the deal ends up falling apart; maybe it's not getting accepted into a college or university of one's dreams and the resulting disappointment for the student and their parents; or, yet, perhaps a failed relationship that seemed so destined to succeed. These are just a few, but no matter what the cause, we're left feeling very much the same: disappointed and as though we failed.
Whenever I reflect on my own feelings of failure and disappointment, I usually think back to an experience I had years ago when I was transitioning into the legal profession. I had heard plenty of stories about how difficult it is to not just land an associate's position at a top New York City law firm, but how slim the chances are to even be considered. When an opportunity, nonetheless, to interview for a prominent firm came my way, I decided to give it a shot. After a series of interviews and completing an extremely daunting writing sample, a memorandum of law, I was more than thrilled to learn that I made it to the final round of consideration. I was now one of four finalists, and only one of us would be selected, but I had been assured that of the four, I was the most likely candidate to be selected for the position. So, I had my final interview, I confidently answered every question thrown at me, and I came away knowing I had put my best foot forward. By now, though, I'm sure you know what happened. You guessed it: I didn't get the position! And not only did I not get the position, they had to nerve to tell me, of all days (albeit, unbeknown to them), on my birthday!
I don't believe anyone could have had any idea how disappointed I felt. Here I was thinking I'd receive the best birthday news ever, but, instead, I received the exact opposite. Not only did I have to deal with the overwhelming shock of it all, I could not wrap my brain around how I had failed at something I was almost assured of getting. My disappointment was so dark that I felt like there would never be another opportunity that I could or would ever possibly want as much as I wanted this. I felt at such a loss for where I missed it or dropped the ball during the interview. I felt like I had been set up all along to think I was a highly-viable candidate to only be rejected and rejected on my birthday. I could not recall too many other times when I felt so low, but as low as I felt, as much failure as I felt, as much disappointment as I felt, I had to eventually do what we all must do. Yes, we should grieve our losses, our failures, and our disappointments when they occur. And, no, grieving our pain versus having a pity-party are, in no way, the same thing. But, after awhile, even if very slowly, assuredly, the light will shine again, and when it does, how should we respond? Instead of doing whatever we can to dim the light that naturally wants to shine after a period or season of darkness, we should welcome that light and embrace it as the sign of hope that light represents. So, in spite of our losses, failures, and disappointments, eventually . . . after awhile . . . let's let light shine!
Like you, Katrina loves seeing people in healthy relationships (with themselves and others) that they genuinely enjoy and not just simply tolerate. This blog is dedicated to achieving that vision.