Disappointment: Best Ways To Deal With It

We’ve all been there. Numerous times. Disappointment has affected all of us. 

We feel impacted, lessened, that the situation is out of our control.

I think that’s the worst part of disappointment: that we don’t feel like we are in control. And when we don’t feel in control, we feel very, very vulnerable. 

People tell you to keep your chin up; get over it. But sometimes you just need to “feel” it for a little while first. 

Then you have to move past it. 

Here are some strategies for dealing with disappointment…

1. Try to put it in perspective

Is it really as bad as you think it is right at this moment? Because our judgment can be clouded with emotions. And sometimes we just can’t see the forest for the trees when we’re emotional. 

So try to step back and look at it from a distance. Better yet, put distance, literally and figuratively, between you and what occurred.

2. Try not to take it personally

Better said than done, I know. It feels so damned personal. But sometimes it will turn out that what happened wasn’t really directed at you at all. Sometimes it isn’t even about you. It just felt like it was. 

But because you’re hurt, you can’t see that right now.

3. Talk it out before you make a decision 

Give them a chance to explain. If your first reaction was indeed justified, then you have to decide if you want that person to still be in your life. 

You have to decide if you can get past it. You have to be realistic about what you can handle. And if you truly don’t think you can do it, then you have to walk away.

4. Distract yourself from the pain

I like to distract myself by getting myself involved in a project of some sort. Be it decorating or a craft, creating is the best medicine when emotions are roiling around inside of me. 

Maybe gardening, merely pulling weeds, will be sufficient to soak up some of your pain.

5. Do something special for yourself

Just because someone else didn’t treat us as we’d hoped doesn’t mean that we can’t make a positive decision to be good to ourselves. 

Do something you seldom do. Buy a pretty bouquet of flowers and lose yourself in the joy of arranging every single flower. Lower your face into the bouquet and inhale the wonderful scent that you’ve gifted yourself.

6. Do something physical

Exercise releases endorphins, which makes us feel better. 

Endorphins are morphine-like chemicals produced by the body that help diminish pain while triggering positive feelings.

So get moving.

Take deep breaths and focus on them. Do some yoga moves or stretches and concentrate on your movements.

7. Visit someone you care about

Talking with a bestie is sometimes exactly what we need. If it’s the bestie who disappointed you, then seek out a relative you’re close to.

Or visit a friend who can’t get out and around anymore. Someone who you know is less fortunate. 

It will help with gaining perspective about what happened. It’s good karma and will benefit both of you. 

8. Go out for a long drive

Sometimes driving out to the countryside restores our sense of self. 

Roll down the window and let the breeze caress your face. Let the miles be a psychological tool in distancing yourself from the pain.

Take your camera and take photos of livestock or wildflowers. It is a free gift that you might frame later to remind yourself that you’re a survivor. Not a victim.

9. Give yourself time to adjust
You will have to adjust your expectations of the person who disappointed you. Your feelings of trust will have taken a hit. So trust your instincts. 

If you no longer desire to have that person in your life, then let yourself grieve that loss. Because it really is a loss. 

They may be close in proximity and you may have to see them occasionally or even often, but they are no longer close to your heart. You will have to learn to see them differently in order to move on.

10. Try to learn something from the experience 

If you had to endure the pain, you might as well learn something from it.
Try to look at what happened from all vantage points. Try to find some
kernel of positivity to take away from the situation.

In summation, grieve it and then try to let it go. Look at the glass as half full, even if it’s very hard. 

Write down things that you are grateful for. Try to focus on those things until the sting of disappointment has abated.

You are a good person and you deserve better. But if someone else won’t treat you how you know you should be treated, then cut them loose and chuck it up to the experience of life.




  1. Thank you from me also Brenda for posting this at a well needed time…I think I will print this out and go over it every day for a while…and also try some suggested things..maybe eventually I will be able to open up and talk about it more…Hugs..

  2. Hi Brenda, funny you would write about this at this time…sure needed to read this…a tad disappointed in my sons fiancé. Thanks so much I may feel a bit better now that I read your post and comments. The one with once a warning 2x lesson that would be this situation. Have a nice afternoon! [email protected] Sweet Tea N' Salty Air

  3. Hi Brenda – The quote about when you realize you aren't as important to someone as you thought you were really hit home. We're coming out of (I think) a year and a half estrangement with some family members. It's been heartbreaking, but we've gone stronger in ways we wouldn't have otherwise. Like you mentioned, it was helpful to me when I felt gripped with sadness and disappoint to have a project – I remember painting with music on, just letting my mind wander, and also praying. It was a great way to work through some raw emotion. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom…

  4. This was a wonderful post; thank you. Not only did it come at a good time for me; but, it's perfect time for a couple of ftpriends I will be sharing with.

  5. Very good article. I think all of us have had disappointments that really affected us profoundly. One of my biggest was when someone I thought was a very special friend, whom I had helped a lot, simply discarded me like I was a stranger. But from it I learned a very valuable lesson.

  6. Great article, one I will read again and again. Point #4 is so important for me. Many years ago, when I went through a divorce, I confided in a minister. As we talked, he suggested that I take some time each day to get away from the worries and stress by doing something like taking a walk in the park. I thought he was nuts. In my mind, it sounded like he was saying I should just drop everything and go goof off in the park all day. That isn't what he meant at all but I was too stressed to understand. I did eventually start walking, and still do walk, but while it is good exercise, my mind can still mull over problems. With most hobbies and activities, my mind is still worrying like a hamster running on a wheel. The two things I've found that get my mind into another zone where I don't worry at all are to do pencil sketches in an art notebook, and to do traditional archery. At some point, my total focus is at the tip of the pencil lead or the tip of the arrow. It becomes like gliding underwater, where all sound and distraction are blocked out and I'm not thinking about anything else. Afterwards, I feel like my brain has had a bath and is cleaned of cruddy thoughts.

  7. A special thank you for such wise words! Very helpful. I will save this post for the next time I feel disappointment. I'm sure it will be sooner rather than later.

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