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How Well Do You Handle Disappointment?
By Dolores G. Wix

I just knew it was finally going to happen. A publisher was interested in publishing my How to Survive and Thrive After a Layoff manuscript. They even told me that I would get a higher percentage of the royalties if I did most of the marketing myself. But there was only one problem. The manuscript was too short to be a print book, so I began feverishly working to expand the book. Upon completion, I submitted it to the publisher. Several weeks later, I got their answer – no.

If you live on this planet and interact with other humans, you are going to experience disappointment at some point in your life. There’s no escaping it. And since there is no escaping it, then the only thing we can do is to learn how to handle disappointment before it handles us.

The following are 7 actions steps you can take to overcome disappointments:

1. Get in touch with your spiritual side. If you don’t believe in God, then skip to number 2. I usually avoid talking about God, because I don’t want to offend anybody, but I couldn’t do this article justice without talking about the Creator here. There was a time in my life when I felt that if I died, it would not have mattered to anyone on this planet.

It was at that time that I deepened my spiritual connection to the Almighty because I felt that He was the only one who cared about me. Unfortunately, the true God has been painted as cruel and ready to zap us when we make a mistake. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have come to think of Him as a loving father who wants the best for us, and who wants to comfort us when we’re hurt and disappointed.

2. Fight feelings of self-pity. Feeling sorry for yourself is a natural reaction to being disappointed. However, if the self-pity is allowed to go on too long, it can drag out for days, weeks or even months. Think about all the projects you could accomplish during that “lost” time. If you must feel sorry for yourself, set a time limit. Tell yourself you’re only going to indulge in self-pity for 1 hour (or 1 day), and after that set time frame is over, move on to more productive pastures.

3. Start making new plans immediately. By getting busy and focusing on other things, this will help you tremendously in dealing with your pain.

4. Count your blessings. Focus on what you have instead of what you do not have. By developing a spirit of gratitude, it will help take the sting out of your present circumstances.

5. Believe in yourself. This phrase has been used so much that it’s almost a cliché, but believing in yourself is the only way you can overcome disappointments and reach your goals. What does it mean to “believe in yourself”? It means having confidence in your talents, skills, abilities, and all your other attributes. It also means thinking positively about yourself and believing that whatever is thrown at you in life, you can overcome it.

One person that I think is the epitome of belief in oneself is Mohammad Ali. First, let me say that I am not a fan of boxing (I think it’s violent), but I think that we can all learn from each other’s life experiences. One night my husband and I watched When We Were Kings, a documentary about the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” between Ali and George Foreman. Nobody believed that Ali would win the fight and regain his crown, not even people in his own camp. He tried to rouse them up in his unique talkative manner, but they were only half enthused. Ali did not let that deter him. He believed in himself. And, as you probably know, he won the fight. This provides an important lesson for us. It doesn’t matter if anybody else believes in us as long as we believe in ourselves.

6. Realize right away that something greater may be in store for you. Have you ever been disappointed by not getting something, but six months later you look back on it and was glad you didn’t get it? That has happened to me more than once. It’s easy to be glad that you didn’t get something six months down the road. Next time when you’re faced with a disappointment, try to immediately think that something better or greater is in store for you in the future.

7. Always have a contingency plan. Avoid setting yourself up for disappointment by always having a contingency plan. Always say, “If nothing prevents, I will do this or that…” Yes, I was disappointed that the publisher didn’t accept my book, but I had a contingency plan. My husband and I decided to self-publish it. (How to Survive and Thrive After a Layoff - available soon at and 1stBooks Library, ISBN #1-4033-9434-2 (Soft cover) and ISBN #1-4033-9433-4 (Electronic))

Unless you go off on an island by yourself, you are going to have to interact with other people, and from that interaction comes the high probability that someone will disappoint you. But by using the seven steps outlined above, I hope it takes the sting out of disappointments and you are helped to recover more quickly.

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Copyright 2009 Dolores G. Wix

Dolores G. Wix, is the publisher of the Potential Rose Newsletter and is the owner of a professional writing services business. If you need her services, please visit

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