“We would never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world,” wrote Helen Keller.
How I wish she were wrong. Disappointments leave us with the unpleasant task of squashing, crushing, and pinching lemons to extract any and all juice. Here, then, are a few of my techniques to turn sour into sweet, to try my best to overcome disappointment.
1. Throw Away the Evidence
Albert Einstein failed his college entrance exam. Walt Disney was fired from his first media job. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Get it?
2. Stay in the Mud
“The lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest and thickest mud,” says a Buddhist proverb, just in case you thought all crap was bad.
3. Make a Pearl
Allow your disappointment to form a pearl just as an oyster does when an irritating grain of sand gets inside its shell, but grab the pearl before the sand gets in your eyes.
4. Ignore the Critics
Success is one percent talent, 99 perspiration. Take it from a writer whose eighth-grade paper was read aloud as an example of how NOT to write.
5. Grow Your Roots
Although the bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on Earth, it looks lazy at first because there is no branching … just growing lots of deep and wide roots. At the right time, though, the evergreen is capable of surging as fast as 48 inches in 24 hours. So are we … if we grow strong roots.
“The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground.” –Author Unknown
7. Don’t Rush the Process
Only in struggling to emerge from a small hole in the cocoon does a butterfly form wings strong enough to fly. Should you try to help a butterfly by tearing open the cocoon, the poor thing won’t sprout wings, or if it does, its friends will make fun of it.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Apr 2010
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Borchard, T. (2010). 7 Ways to Overcome Disappointment. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/04/15/7-ways-to-overcome-disappointment/