When someone disappoints us it kind of feels like you’re standing still and not sure what to do. Anger, fear and sadness mix together. Questions start popping up all over the place. “What did I do?” “Was this my fault?” “Am I not good enough?” “Do I tell the person how I really feel?” “Should I never talk to them again?”
It is very easy to slip into the role of victim here and point your finger at them in judgment. So let that be our first example of a route you could go down. It wouldn’t be that difficult to talk about them behind their back, stew in private and write them off.
I personally believe this would catch up to you. I am the person who believes, “treat others the way you would want to be treated” – I’m extremely patient – and arguably too forgiving (if that is possible). I constantly remind myself ‘we are only human’. We are capable of pissing some people off, breaking promises, lying, cheating, gossiping, etc. We are also capable of expressing our love and appreciation as often as we want, staying faithful, doing good deeds, forgiveness, trusting in others, not judging, etc.
That is where our loneliest spot on Earth exists – the spot where we can choose. I can’t nudge into that spot with you to help you out. Your parents and friends can’t. That spot is only for you and you can choose any reaction or course of action you want! Knowing all the while that you are the only one that will have to live with yourself for whichever decision you make.
If you decide not to speak with a family member ever again, ok. If you decide to go to college when everyone else in your family didn’t, ok. If you decide to stay in a relationship that fulfills you or not, ok. Others may make passing judgment, but you will inevitably live with your own judgment until you take the difficult road of rectifying the situation.
All that said, I am advocating you take a step back from the situation and really think about it before reacting. Take a few days if you need to. Think if you did do anything to cause this person to disappoint you. We all have a role. Is this person important to you? Have they shown up for you before? Why did this hurt you so badly? Ask as many questions as you can think of. Only then can you logically work out the core issues and figure out what your best course of action is from here. Most often, we are disappointed because we had high expectations. Sometimes people just do shitty things (but they almost never do it intentionally).
Another thing to consider in moment of decision… Can you imagine what the other person will feel like, or how they will react, to your next actions? I do not make a decision based on this, but I do think about it.
Once I feel I’ve really looked at the situation from all angles and perspectives, I may even phone a friend or family member and ask advice. This is normal when this is a major disappointment and there are strings attached. I’m not sure what to do or if I’m ready to separate myself from the situation. When seeking counsel try your hardest to listen objectively. Take what all sides say, then really think about which parts feel true to you.
After carefully reviewing the whole situation I’ll react. That could mean I send a letter agreeing with the breakup, but thanking them for the good times. I could react by letting the person know they really hurt my feelings with x decision or comment and I had to let them know in hopes of finding common ground once more. There are a million different routes we can go down.
I just try to be fair, always come from my highest truth and lead by example. If I do those 3 things, at the end of the day, I know I did my best. I did the right thing. And the other chips will fall where they may.
We cannot be all things to all people all the time. But we can stand up for what we believe in. We can admit fault. We are human.