Everybody has “that” song for a situation, whether it be the all too famous Unbreak my Heart by Toni Braxton for your clearly tumultuous breakup or Lose Yourself by Eminem to get you pumped up for a presentation or event, there is something for each situation; or so I had thought.
I’m going to level with you, I had a very big life-defining moment go against me recently, and while I used the term depressed very loosely, I think I was just so disappointed in myself for not making things happen that I lost interest in a lot of things I’d usually actively participate in and, worst of all, I didn’t have a fallback song. This I must admit is unchartered waters for me and I’ve been flummoxed, to say the least- I don’t know how to rebound and get back on my feet. I feel like homeboy Snoop needs to look into this pronto, can’t be slacking off like this.
Before we get into the finer details, I’d like to take a second and address the difference between depression and disappointment. The first thing to note is that disappointment hinges on intangibles- sort of castles in the sky if you will- or to be more precise, objects that will not affect your life should they not come true. This could be a dream job that you’ve planned around but never worked out or any list of domino-like reaction that hinges on one positive outcome, but unless it is actually true, becomes irrelevant.
Depression, on the other hand, is connected to loss or grief from your day to day life or, in some cases, a traumatic experience that alters your way of thinking. The interesting thing about depression is that it tends to bypass disappointment- almost like a coping mechanism. The clearest example I have is when my father passed away and I don’t think I could honestly function normally- I needed time to stop, but it just doesn’t, this is undeniably the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn in my life. The demanding part is coming up with solutions as to how to move on when everything essentially leads to a dead end. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think you get over depression, you simply become more adept at covering it up or dealing with it as time goes on.
Disappointment though is something you can deal with, all you need is a 10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will –y’all know the rest I reckon. But seriously, you will need a dash of patience, a sprinkle of hope and desire, and a huge dollop of will – you really need to want it folks. The easiest questions to ask are the hardest to answer, but how do you rebound effectively from disappointment?
The first thing you need to be okay with doing is, before you get into your 5 stages of grief, showing emotion in whatever form you are most comfortable with – I am generally very patient and accepting but I am guilty of setting myself up for disappointment when I want something, and yes, I have a pillow I bawl into and I’m proud of it.
Now that you’ve had a second to process that crying bombshell you’re ready to deal with disappointment, let’s start with the disbelief – how did this happen, there must be some mistake or it’s not me, it’s you (that’s how it should really be, can’t sugar coat things all the time)!
Denial is usually a result of your imagination getting the better of your emotions. While it may be tough, you need to approach things with a sense of realism, its great building castles in the sky, but it means nothing without a solid foundation. The same way, if you build up to what you want or aspire to you’ll have less to rebuild if it doesn’t work out. This is very difficult to fathom because it’s literally that hope which keeps you going but moderation is the key- once bitten twice shy right?
The second is when your “logical sense” gets a hold of your emotions, it turns to anger. This is when you really just want to punch a wall, kick a dog- self slap babz, unacceptable blogging!! – or maybe even drive rashly and throw expletives to every human that crosses your path. This stage is probably a little dangerous to the outside world, might I suggest channeling it – I chose to drive rashly and swear at old people while listening to death metal, simples, but in my defense it was on my way to get a lot of comfort fried food that usually takes my mind off the harsher things in life. I’m sort of not really sorry.
I think when you’re emotionally charged you make bad decisions, but having something that makes you feel good, or even channeling your anger, is the ideal restitute. As difficult as it may be, constructive use of excess energy is a great de-stressor, maybe go to a shooting range or smash a computer- their feelings don’t count as much #computerlivesmattertonerds.
Now comes the difficult part- the chasm so to speak. When you start flirting with rationalizing yourself and your actions to suit the other outcome it all starts working out perfectly in your head. I agree, a lot of times this helps, but you also need to realize that sometimes things are not in your hands, and even though you will have several regrets, would you really change yourself or who you are to morph into what somebody else wants you to be? This applies equally to professional and personal life – it’s easy to blame yourself, but try not to be too hard on yourself. The uncontrollable part here is that it could so easily swing into fully fledged depression, this is where you start thinking about altering your life and the way you do things.
Drastic and dramatic changes are only good short term, be mindful of days to come- I know you’ve all seen that “NO RAGRETS” tattoo. If you are going to make these changes, try to do it to external influences in your life, maybe go balls-to-the-wall in the gym or even pick up a new skill like a language, or martial arts perhaps – healthy tangible changes as boring as they are, really help during the initial stages of disappointment.
Ok, phew now that we’ve successfully accepted reality and evaded all the sadness and depression unscathed, let’s rebound bit**ez! Pull out that scratch paper y’all we’ve got some introspection to do. The key to get over disappointment is to identify what you really want, now this can be hard but the easiest way I feel is to physically write things down, write down everything you feel and find commonality because there are bound to be overlapping sets. Think hard and long, this part is the marathon- iterate till you can’t anymore. I personally drew a web and connected dots and I discovered that what I was whimpering over barely scratched the surface of what I wanted and even though I still want it, I understand that there is a greater purpose to find.
To find this greater purpose though, is akin to finding Waldo – you need to be willing to look in the far reaches, make mistakes and learn constantly and don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone till you find him (let’s face it, we all have that hunch about where he is and keep going back there). This action could take you down multiple paths. I personally want to meet and interact with like-minded people and am taking risks on networking events and putting my name out there, end product or not. We know what Waldo looks like, and thanks to our educated and systemic approach to narrowing down what we want, we know what this looks like too – cue Babz sitting on an island sipping ‘ritas.. non-alcoholic obviously (my mom reads my blog).
You might have moments where you feel like crap, feel like you’re not worth it or feel like you’re not good at anything. Please remember this is temporary and just as they say if you enjoy what you do then you’ll never work a day in your life, you must find this passion and make it the center of your universe. I guarantee you will run faster, hit harder and think more quickly than ever before. We’re all destined for greatness, why spend time living out somebody else’s vision?
They say life is only as good as what you make of it, it’s the things that you don’t do that you regret the most. With that in mind I’d like you all to look at yourself in the mirror, once you’re done telling yourself how fine you are, look harder (Rafiki from the Lion King knows what I’m talking about) and see the person you want to be. Take a few deep breaths and although you can’t flip a switch and make the change, take small manageable steps and get to that goal- find your Waldo people!
In summary, life is full of twists and turns but as long as you pick yourself off the rubble that lays beneath you and keep going, nothing can stop you. Always try to use your experiences to leverage new opportunities, today's disappointment is tomorrow's victory and do it with a smile on your face, nobody wants to hang out with the Grinch.
- Don’t be afraid to express your emotions, we’re all human and do things in a certain way, go for it!
- Approach objectives rationally and understand that the journey is more important than the destination, make it memorable and no matter where you end up, you’ll always be happy.
- When emotions get the better of you, try to constructively orient it outwards to tasks or activities reasonably, again each to their own, but do what makes you comfortable.
- Don’t beat yourself up over it, sh*t happens and unless you make the same mistake twice, it’s always worth it. Don’t doubt yourself because things don’t always go the way you need them to.
- Concentrate efforts on finding commonality between all your passions, use a pen and paper and physically draw lines and trust me when I say you’ll learn so many new things about yourself!
- Put yourself out of your comfort zone, this adrenaline rush will take your mind off whatever it was that was upsetting you and give you something new to enjoy and look forward to (see, I’ve already forgotten… oh crap wait).
- Believe in yourself, we’ve all got talents beyond our wildest measure. Pardon my profanity when I say screw the naysayers- unless they’re horses (I crack myself up sometimes)
- FIND WALDO- I feel like this has been mentioned a few times!
I hope you’re having fun living through my journey with me, this is only the start and it is an ongoing process. I will fill you in as we move along.
I’m honestly very keen to know how all of you guys deal with disappointment, feel free to share experiences and stories with us!
Also, if you haven’t listened to unbreak my heart yet after reading this, you’ve got some additional introspection to do I reckon.
Till next time y’all!
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