My view on Disappointment continues with direct learning as I live day by day. I really want to eradicate this emotion and reaction from my life and to help others to do so too. It seems the only way of doing it, is to anticipate that it will catch you out and it is part of life, however once experienced it is all in the recovery time!
Disappointment is very clever because it invariable points the blame towards others and quickly pulls you down to ‘victim’ status.
The problem of Expectation
Recently, my family and I travelled to the US. From the start I wanted this to be a very special time, it was the first time in 19 years that we had planned this trip together and it was unique in that we were travelling as a family of adults. I wanted everything to be perfect including the airport experience. I had imagined we’d have time in the lounge and feel very special, spoilt and privileged while we waiting for the plane to be ready for boarding.
I had set up the arrangements and arrived expectant at the Virgin Lounge. The Virgin lounge was full and we were not allowed in. It took seconds for disappointment to flood in and I felt upset, cross and despondent that the beginning of our trip was not going as I expected.
Herein lies the problem – expectation. It set me up for my fall into disappointment, laughing at my discomfort as I topple into its trap.
My husband and my daughters did not have this problem, they were ok and reasonably happy to adjust the plans and explore a restaurant instead, because they had anticipated the lounge treat but not depended on it for their happiness.
Choosing between Expectation and Anticipation
Isn’t it interesting the differing emotions in which expectations versus anticipation can give? As I thought on, I realised that
- Anticipation whispers “what if” and “it could be …” whereas,
- Expectation tells, “this is the way it should and needs to be”.
The two attitudes are poles apart. Anticipation gives room for choice and wriggle room to make the best of a situation whereas expectation is closed, already measured in it “must be like this” and judged as “it should have …”
Other comparisons show:
- Anticipation gives a freedom of choice, may happen or may not
- Expectation produces an exact outcome and without it disappointment arises
My friend always like to have the window seat at a restaurant and expects this to happen on every outing. When it doesn’t, his disappointment reduces his and his guests enjoyment as he becomes frozen into a mindset of problems due to having to endure a table in the middle of a room!
- Anticipation has a surprise element
- Expectation has a predictable result
Is it possible to realise when you and I am setting ourselves up before disappointment is able to take hold?
- Anticipation is hopeful
- Expectation is judgmental
Why not examine your mindset towards a forthcoming event and check out if you are in an anticipation mode or a state of expectation? This may be particularly relevant with the Christmas and seasonal activities just around the corner.
Disappointment cannot change a situation and when fuelled with expectation only prolongs the agony of being frozen in an unchangeable position. When disappointment is tinged with anticipation, there are solutions and alternatives to your reaction. This allows you and I to become unfrozen and able to move forward again, albeit in a slightly different direction!
From the Bible
Looking at the Bible, the Jewish people were told of the coming of the Messiah. Could it be that those who expected this to happen had particular rules and standards including believing they had the answers to knowing exactly when and how this would happen? Consequently, they missed Jesus coming and they are still waiting… Whereas, those people who anticipated the coming of the Messiah were open to the possibilities of His arrival and were able to recognise Jesus when He came, in the way He arrived and how He lived His live showing God’s goodness.
Who is the most disappointed?
What has happened to you recently when you were plunged into a disappointing situation? Was it triggered by expectation? If you could revise your thoughts to anticipation, instead would this have made a difference? Drop me a line and let me know.
Life enjoys taking us on alternative routes and thumbs its nose at our attempts to take control. There is only One person in control and this is God who awaits in anticipation of you and I joining Him…
… Meanwhile, I await in anticipation of His return.
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am He.”
John 4:25-16 (NIV)
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