Character Creates Opportunity® – Our Turn with Disappointment: Thursday, August 6, 2015

Throughout life we will experience disappointment.

Sometimes we experience disappointment in the classroom, the workplace, our home life, and our community. These disappointments can vary in degree from the slight disappointment that rain caused the game to be delayed or our drive-thru order was missing some fries, to the significant disappointment that turns to heartache and despair when the dream of a close knit family is now facing the reality of a deep, challenging family conflict.

Although we all wish to avoid a great deal of disappointment in this world, the reality is that we all will have our turn with disappointment.  Most of us will find a way to move through it, some in silence and some with a loud roar.  There is no escaping disappointment.  Our well-worn path to address disappointment is to rally our own strength, perhaps we are fortunate to gain some encouragement from others and our faith, and we endure with the hope that we will continue to grow stronger through the experience.

Many times, our initial reaction when it is our turn with disappointment is to focus on our own our pain. Given the extent of the situation, it may be a very real and practical response to focus on our own psychological survival.

However, as we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, there are a few additional responses beyond focusing on ourselves that can bring about a positive impact when it is our turn with disappointment.

First, our personal experience with disappointment allows us the opportunity to build empathy towards others walking through a similar valley.  We can become a credible source of understanding to others with each and every time it is our turn with disappointment.  Those around us do experience a level of disappointment at certain times in their lives and we can effectively build an authentic and helpful connection with others through our own journey with disappointments.

Points of ViewSecond, our personal experience with disappointment allows us the opportunity to build humility in realizing that everything is not in our control.  We can keep our thought life strong, we can make effective choices, but we do not control the final outcome.  We can only control our response to that outcome.  It takes “two to tango” and there are often times a great deal of factors that can impact the outcome.  Make no mistake, we need to always take responsibility for the outcome. However, building humility in realizing we are not in total control of everything strengthens the opportunity to build genuine connection to others around the reality that we are stronger together than we are alone.  Despite the persona of how macho it is to “John Wayne” it all alone, we are much more effective in this world when we build a force of interdependence among families, partnerships at work and in the community.

Third, our personal experience with disappointment reminds us to be thankful for the little things.  Psychologists, pastors, and friends would all say that being thankful for the small blessings in life is a sure way to maintain our mental health throughout the inevitable chaos and challenge of life.  Whether it is enjoying a sunrise or a sunset along with the fact that we had one more day with those we care about most, gratefulness for the little things will help us when it is our turn with disappointment.

As we put effort into more effectively dealing with disappointment in our lives, we build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to have a positive impact on those around us.