How to Handle Disappointment

I was recently disappointed by plans that fell through.   What made it worse for me was that when I called the plans we had made weren’t even brought up, just that the person was doing something else for the day.  So now I was disappointed and stuck.  My husband and I couldn’t do the work ourselves but if it didn’t get done it’d be a problem.  I made some calls and found that not only could someone do the job, they could come in an hour and at a reasonable price.  Wow.  They came, were quick, efficient, and friendly, plus my husband and I could finish the job and feel a sense of accomplishment.  So in the end it turned out great and a positive experience.

People mean well but struggle at times to follow through on what they say.  I can’t ask them to be on time and follow through if they’re unable.  I can’t change their behavior.  I can only control mine, which I knew but didn’t know how to respond to the emotions of frustration, disappointment, and even anger that churned within me.  How do you respond when people cannot be depended on?  How do you respond when you know they won’t follow through on the ideas and plans they make?

Everyone has their flaws and not everyone’s flaw is being unreliable.  So I need to find people I can rely on and have compassion and understanding for those that reliability is not their strength.  I need to let it go.  What does that look like?  Well the next time someone in my life says let’s do this, or we should do this…I won’t get my hopes up.  I will understand that they want to but that life will get busy and they’ll forget due to other priorities.  I’ll be happy if it does happen and I can even encourage a date to be set.  I will be happy where I am.  People cannot fill my void.  Only God can.  As Psalm 118:8 says “It is better to take refuge in the Lord, than to put confidence in mortals” (NRSV).  People will fail you; they’re human, but God never leaves us.  The peace that comes from God is whole and all encompassing; it is incredibly freeing.  You just have to let go of the hurt and let God heal it with peace.

Steps to take when you’re disappointed:

  • Accept the person for who they are if this is a common occurrence because it’ll likely happen again and you need to be prepared.
  • Give them the benefit of the doubt, understand from their perspective.
  • Be open to the idea of the person making up for the disappointment.
  • Make the best of the situation and find your own opportunity to fulfill your needs, wishes, or interest.
  • If this is a frequent occurrence, spend more time with people you can depend on and schedule time with the person who is unreliable.  Have a back up plan in case the person doesn’t follow through.
  • Forgive them if you can.  If you can’t, give it to God to help heal your pain.

May you find peace when you’re disappointed and hurt by those around you. 

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