So I’ve pretty much spent the last month beating myself up about how something I really wanted just didn’t work out. Disappointment is almost as hard to get over as a break-up or divorce and a million other things in our lives.
I’ve had a lot of time to think this week, those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that my littlest chap has had chicken pox. So we have basically been on quarantine. However, now is the time to pick myself up, give myself a shake and move on. These are the things I’ve done to help me come to terms with disappointment and to start to move on.
Firstly, let’s not diminish the effect that disappointment has on us. Especially when something we’ve worked hard for or looked forward to doesn’t work out quite the way we had planned. There are some people who can brush it off, just put it down to experience and move on, whilst there are others (me included) who really take it to heart. The immediate emotional response can sometimes mask a much deeper meaning for the disappointment, and so before you burst into that song from the film about the ice queen and the snowman, just take a minute to consider why a person is feeling the disappointment. Here are some things that have really helped me in the last few weeks to accept and start to move on from a particularly disappointing time in my life.
1 – I had a pity party!
So I allowed myself to wallow. I allowed myself to feel sad, defeated, angry, resentful, you name it I went through the whole damn catalogue of emotions. Then once I’d done that I could actually start to pick through what I was justified in feeling and what I wasn’t. This all took time though, and I decided that I wasn’t going to give myself a time limit. In society we like to give ourself time limits. For instance, how many times do you hear people completing compassionate leave and saying things like “back to work, so time to carry on and get back to normal now.” I decided to take a leaf out of my 5-year-old book, and wallow, sulk, tantrum until I was ready to move on, and not give myself one week, or two or six. I wanted to take time to work through it, feel it, and learn from it. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I was very lucky to be able to have that time and other people can’t, but none the less I think it’s important that you give yourself time within the limits of your life.
As I said this allowed me to really figure out what had gone wrong recently, sift through my emotions and reconcile them before filing them away.
2 – I took a step back!
As I said, I was lucky enough to be signed off from work for a number of weeks by my GP. This allowed me to take a step back, to get some perspective on my situation. It also allowed me to retreat and lick my wounds a little as above. Disappointment often results in our ego being a bit bashed and bruised, and so we retreat into ourselves. For me personally as an anxiety sufferer, I also had a set back with that and so it was very easy for me to just to hide in my house. However, once my pity party was coming to an end I could see much clearer the reality of the situation. The job I had thought would be the answer to my personal nursing crisis…..just wasn’t. It had actually been inconvenient, I’d taken on too many hours, my children had suffered, my house had suffered and importantly my mental health had suffered. It just hadn’t work out, it wasn’t anyones fault and especially not my fault. Sometimes jobs just do not work out. It was a simple a that. Taking a step back allowed me to see that, had I stayed in that moment I would have still been bogged down in the stress and probably wouldn’t have been able to see or rationalise that.
The black and white of the situation was that no one had died, it was just a job that had not worked out for me. Lots of people suffer this situation, and it’s not the end of the world.
3 – I accepted my situation!
So once I’d had my pity party, took time to look at the bigger picture I was much better placed to accept what had happened. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you, there are still moments even days, when I still feel angry or sad that things didn’t quite work out the way I wanted them too. However once I’d accepted that a) I couldn’t change things and b) it wasn’t my fault, I was better placed to move on and let it go. (Can anyone now read that phrase without singing it?!) Part of acceptance is also giving yourself permission to still have bad days. Whether, like me you are feeling disappointed or you are grieving, there will still be days when you can’t quite get a handle on your emotions. You are not a failure for having those days, it is just part of how we work as humans! It’s that old adage of two steps forward, one step back. Also when I see that my children are calmer and don’t seem so stressed themselves, when I am at the school gate most nights and I am cooking their tea, that’s when I am at peace.
In life we feel many different things. Hurt, loss, sadness, anger and disappointment are but a few. We have to realise that all those emotions are part of life, and we will feel them over and over and over again. Just because the boy I fell in love with at 16 completely rejected me, and the utter heart ache and pain that it caused, it didn’t stop me falling in love many many (ok maybe not that many) times as life went on. This is not the first time I have felt disappointment, and I will again.
4 – I made a plan!
As this new job didn’t work out quite the way I wanted, it left a little bit of a void in my life. I’m a planner, I’ve always had a 5 -10 year plan for as long as I can remember. That’s not to say I stick to it rigidly, but it goes some way to keeping me focussed and stops me stagnating in my every day life. Suddenly my current plan had been ripped up and thrown away. I needed a new one. Once I had some clarity in my thoughts, I could start the whole re-planning process.
Now at the same time as my job was not working out, my Husband also obtained a new position. He had a long notice period and he is due to start in a month or so. Together we decided that to give him time to really settle into his new position that I would effectively become a stay at home Mum. Now most people who I’ve told have wrinkled their faces at me and asked “are you sure?” I get bored, I mean really bored very quickly. When I get bored I become a bit self-destructive and that’s when my depression and anxiety really get their claws into me. So it’s not surprising a lot of my friends have raised their eyebrows.
So I am in the process of setting up my own little cottage craft business. I can run it around the children and (hopefully) it will bring in a little bit of pocket-money. I’m very excited about it, and I’ll be writing a blog on it at some point in the future.
So those are the 4 things I’ve done to help me over a little bump in my life. Maybe if you are in a similar situation, something like this will help you as well.