Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dealing With Disappointment: Four Tips to Get You Through

Day 3 / Lost

So I haven't blogged in a couple of days.  I attribute the lack of blogification to a combination of apathy, expectancy, and not knowing what to say.  But I'm back, and I'm sad.  My waiting is over, and the results are in.

Let me explain.  Last week I interviewed for a teaching/family outreach job.  This job is in fact the exact same job that I left early this year (a decision that I now believe was the wrong one), only at a different school.  With this interview came the feeling that I had an opportunity to undo this past bad decision, to restart.  Since I left my old job, I've felt adrift in life.  It's as if when I was working at the old school that I was immersed in a current of direction, of purpose, of being in on something big with God.  Now that I've left that flow, I'm lost at sea.  I saw this new job opportunity as my rescue ship.

So I gussied up and went to the interview.  And -- it went great.  Really great.  I don't think I've ever had a more positive experience during an interview.  The principal of the school and I really had a nice dialogue, and the whole experience felt much more like a conversation than a question and answer session.  I left pumped, sure that I'd gotten the job.  After all, who could be more qualified than me?

Yesterday evening the principal called.  She told me that she offered the job to somebody else.  Somebody else.  I felt crushed.  The principal was very positive, saying that it was an incredibly touch decision and that a school would be lucky to have me and to not give up and so forth.  I tried to take her words to heart as I believe that they are genuine -- but I can't help feeling devastated.  Since my interview I had been seeing myself back in the teaching sphere, back where I should have been.  Now I'm still in the same place, only with a little more angst.

However, things aren't all negative.  Despite how I might feel, my life isn't over.  In fact, I've got quite a few good things going on.  For example, I'm teaching more hooping, such as at a fabulous dance studio I just discovered.  I'm also going to be hanging out with teen girls at a local community center once a week, hoops in hand, and that could be pretty darn awesome.  I have big dreams about combining hooping with eating disorder recovery.  Now I have space to see those dreams realized.

We've all been put through the disappointment wringer at one time or another, and we all have different ways of dealing.  Here are my tips on how to walk through disappointment:
  • Let it all out.  When I got off the phone with the principal last night, I cried.  At first I tried to hold back the tears, but then I realized that smothering my sadness wouldn't help anybody.  So I wept.  Feel what you're feeling, and know that it's okay to experience emotions.  Normal, even.  Gasp!  
  • Be realistic about the situation.  As I said above, I left the interview positive that I had snagged the job.  But a small part of me, the part that wasn't quite so sure, thought that if I didn't get the job my life would be over.  This is not true.  Obviously, because I'm alive and blogging from the other side of my disappointment.  When you experience disappointment, put things in perspective.  Yes, you are sad, but things aren't as dire as you might feel in the moment.  There will be other opportunities, other ways your hope can be realized.
  • Take stock.  Just because I didn't get this amazing job doesn't meant that I don't have other really great things going on in my life.  The same is true for everybody.  Take a look inside yourself, at the life that's happening in and around you, and appreciate the really awesome stuff that's taking place.  Make a list if it helps and post it somewhere you'll see it often.  
  • Hope, and keep on hoping.  Emily Dickinson wrote, "Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all."  Don't stop hoping.  Don't stop living.  You have a life that's waiting for you.  Plan, dream, create, scheme, hope, and keep hoping, no matter what.  In my opinion, hope is the fuel that powers our inner lives.  
I wish I had gotten that job.  Words can't express how much I wanted it.  But the fact is that I didn't get the job, and now I have to get on with things.  The eating disorder side of my brain wanted to hunker down for a "therapeutic" binge (as if there is such a thing) last night, but I didn't.  The depressed side of my brain wants to hide under the covers for the next month, but I'm not going to.  I believe that God's in charge here, and that my employment status has nothing to do with my worth.  And, if I really stop to think about it, that's a ridiculously huge blessing.

When was the last time you were disappointed in a big way?  How do you deal with disappointment and loss?


  1. Sorry that you didn't get the position, and this will sound lame, but it only means something better is waiting for you in the wings. Even if we don't know why, there's a reason for everything that happens. Tomorrow could bring something completely unexpected and turn your life around in any direction. The important thing is that you put yourself out there knowing disappointment is possible, but also knowing that something great will come of your efforts eventually. On that note, I get disappointed with odd things. I think it's important to acknowledge the feelings without judging them and making them go away. Deal with it and then figure out how you can do things different. If we're never disappointed, it means we're not trying something different. Plus, a little disappointment makes the reward all that much sweeter. Hang in there and chin up!

  2. Oh Beth. I'm so sorry. And I can understand your disappointment...because I'm in a similar position right now. I'm applying to all these internships, and none of them are replying. Not even a stupid "We don't want you" email. And that just is...crushing.But I remind myself who I am. I am God's precious daughter, and obviously He has a great plan for me. I know all I can do right now is leave my expectations and control in His hands, because disappointment really comes from us wanting a certain thing in our life...that may not be what God wants. As you said, God's in charge. And there will be NO disappointments in the things He works out for us. Because He always, always provides the best.Stick it out, Beth! Chin up, God is just preparing something greater for you. :-)

  3. Beth, You said you felt that this was your rescue ship, to undo the past bad decision. You can't undo the past. The past is done, past, already gone! The fact that this interview went so well, yet you still didn't get the position makes me "feel" like your past decision wasn't BAD at all. It was right. This isn't in God's plan for you. Surrender yourself to His plan, not the plan you think might be His plan, or the one that even "feels" right. It is what it is.

  4. And with THAT said, I still send my heart to you with warmth and compassion for feeling frustrated, lost, confused. It isn't easy at all and I can't understand exactly what you are going through. So please accept my reflective ponderings as well as my deepest comforts for how must be feeling...

  5. Stephanie (dancingwaDecember 11, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    Sending you love, hugs, and lots of good thoughts. I appreciate this post, and I appreciate, as always, how honest you are about your feelings and your responses.Steph


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King