January 30, 2014

What Disappointment Can Teach Us. ~ Sandra Rea

Expectancy is pinning all hopes on one thing or situation when any number of variables might arise to change that situation.

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.”

~ Joseph Addison

Disappointment, in my view, is the expectation of a “desired” outcome and the occurrence of another “undesired” outcome. The question here is—what was desired? Why was it desired? Was the desire coming from a heart center or was it ego based? Is the “undesired” outcome really that bad?

Expectancy is pinning all hopes on one thing or situation when any number of variables might arise to change that situation. Nothing is permanent. Everything is in a constant state of change. No job is permanent, no possessions are permanent our bodies are not permanent.

That is not to say that we should give up and let life steer us to and fro with reckless abandon or to let go of goals and planning. We can go with the flow whilst all the time making slight adjustments and changes to keep us on course, allowing for flexibility along the way if something better comes up.

How do we adopt such a flexible attitude?

First, change is inevitable, we can stop fighting it. Change doesn’t necessarily mean changes for the worst; on the contrary all change should be, and can be, for the better. Even when a drastic change comes about such as a loved one passing on.

Let me explain. While it is difficult for us to accept death, it too is merely a change in energy. The persons’ soul leaves the body and passes to higher realms. They may not feel ready to leave their loved ones but ultimately they pass into a higher state of love, peace and joy, leaving behind emotions of fear, sadness or worry.

They can choose to help their loved ones from the spirit realm acting as a spirit guide or helper to family and friends if they wish; having a greater capacity to assist them from their spiritual aspect than they would have had if they remained in their physical form.

In the end, we are all reunited in spirit so any seeming parting or absence is an illusion as our loved ones are still beside us but in another form and we too shall join them once again in this state when we part our physical bodies through death.

Secondly, question everything.

We don’t just accept things life throws at us and let the ensuing emotion overwhelm us. We ask ourselves—why has this situation come now, at this time and what do we have to learn from it? Why are we feeling disappointed and can we choose a different emotion?

The answer is yes, we can always choose a different emotion if we so wish. No matter how we feel, by acknowledging the emotion (not stuffing it down) and saying “I recognise this emotion of disappointment and I choose to let it go. I choose to feel at peace with this outcome as I know that it is for my highest benefit.” Breathe and let go.

Emotions are normal and a part of life, they will come and go. We can allow them to flow or decide to wallow in them. When we choose the latter we become stuck. We feel sorry for ourselves and we haven’t learnt the lesson that the situation has presented to us.

For each challenge in life brings with it a lesson. When we learn and integrate the lesson we move forward. If we fight against it and treat it as a misfortune, something put upon us without our choice, we will have to re-encounter this lesson through various life challenges before we can integrate the teaching and move on.

A great way to become aware of this and allow ourselves to flow through challenging situations with ease, is to repeat the following affirmation each morning: “I ask that all my life lessons are gentle, that I learn and integrate the teaching the first time it comes about and I move forward with grace and ease.”

The third step is to be light hearted. We take things so seriously. Find the humour in every situation.

“You know, every situation always has two sides to it, a good one and a bad one. Imagine a coin. On one side there’s a problem, and on the other side there’s a possibility. How you perceive the situation depends on which side you chose to look at. The coin always remains the same.”

~ Claus Mikosch, The Little Buddha

So even in our disappointments there lies opportunity—in sadness there is happiness, in dark there is light. Our attitude determines which side of the coin we choose to perceive. When we approach life with a light heart, we always find the good in each situation. Fear and worry find it harder to penetrate our being and these emotions fall away like water off a ducks back.

With a light heart we are filled with purity of emotion, purity of heart. Ask yourself, even in the midst of your disappointment “where is the humour in this situation?” Sit in solitude for a few minutes to allow the question to ruminate. You’ll be surprised at the answer that comes back to you.

Finally, we talk to others, to loved ones or people close we can trust.

We explain what we feel and why; not in a bid to receive pity but to be open and to express our vulnerability.

We shroud ourselves all the time in a facade, a cloak of seeming protection that we allow ourselves to wear—but instead of protecting ourselves we are cutting ourselves off from everyone else.

We exist in our solitude of “protection” pretending to be something we are not—least we reveal what is beneath that hard outer coating, least we unveil our tender, true selves.

And while in our tenderness and vulnerability we feel that is where we will be most hurt, in reality, this is where our true strength lies—our light, our essence, our infinite power. Not in the hard shell that we choose to wear. Reveal yourself, allow love to flow from you and to you.

So yes, disappointments will arrive and we will feel their pain but the next time we will know that there too is beauty in pain when greeted with acceptance, not shunned.

There is learning in disappointment. Nothing is black or white.

Even our own emotions have such depth. We have so much more to learn and to explore about ourselves.

And you thought you knew yourself!


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Assistant Editor: Richard May/Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Jim Langford/500px.

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