How to Lift Yourself Back Up from Disappointment: 8 Strategies to Rise


Dis-appointment shows us where our appointments are not.

Whether it’s a relationship, a project we’ve been putting our heart and soul into, or simply the relinquishing of a dream, the realisation that the very thing we wanted is over, can be enormously disappointing.  For some, it can precursor a bout of depression.  Anhedonia, the loss of interest in the things we used to find pleasurable can set in.  We can feel detached from the world, adrift in the absence of a direction we thought, and hoped, we would be taking.  How then, do we manage the mind space we find ourselves in, and how do we pick ourselves back up when we are feeling lost?

The following is a list of thinking and actual behaviours that can prove enormously helpful in restoring our faith, our sight, and our vision of a life that will bring us happiness:-

    1. Stop what you are doing and sit down. This is a literal and psychological directive that can really take the stress off.  Often, when in loss, we can feel that we ‘should’, or need to make ourselves busy, to block out the realisation or feeling we don’t want to feel. But sometimes, getting off the self-imposed tread wheel of pressure, and allowing ourselves a minute to process all that just happened, is exactly what we need to do.  Sitting quietly in the garden, in nature, on the beach, or in a temple, is the restorative absorption that will enable us to calm down.  It’s the space that we need.
    1. Of course, you are breathing because you are reading this, but being aware that we forgot to take a deep breath in all the upset is common.  In loss or upset our chest can feel tight, or as is called in Eastern philosophies ‘sunken heart’.  For the moment we must allow ourselves the life given indulgence and easiness of a deep breath, not just to open up the chest cavity, but the back, stomach, and spinal areas, where the energy of disappointment can lodge itself into. 
    1. Don’t rush to find what’s next. Give yourself and Time time to mend and restore. Don’t rush to resurrect yourself too soon, especially if that means pretending you are OK when in fairness, you are dealing with a very real psychological and emotional experience of loss.  Or of feeling lost.  Moving on happens not because others tell us we should or because we feel socially obliged into doing so, but when we recognise we are no longer where we were before.  We are, by the process of time alone, a different version of who we are.  Perhaps better learned. Humbled maybe.  But hopefully, more accepting and mature.
    1. Enjoy simplicity. Slowing things down and going back to basics is something I personally love to do.  A hot coffee watching others in relative anonymity. A slow walk along a river.  Petting an animal.  Staring into its eyes.  Watching the leaves ripple in the wind.  Listening to the rain fall.  Sitting by a log fire.  Feeling the wind on our face.  Enjoying a quiet cup of tea. Keeping things simple means that with ease, simplicity nudges us on.  Seeking simplicity can then be applied to our diaries.  
    1. Do nice things and look after yourself. In line with the simple things listed above, taking time to prepare ourselves a healthy meal, taking a hot bath, smelling incense, brushing our hair, etc, are all ways to look after ourselves.  Consider what things always did and do make you feel nice.  Whatever makes you feel at ease and peaceful, do it.
    1. Do one small thing every day. Productivity feels good.  It is not being suggested here that we undertake another massive project, quite the contrary.  Making the bed might be enough.  Doing the laundry.  Clearing out a cupboard.  Or organising the wardrobe, are all small things that have a twofold positive influence on us.  The first being that we can be absorbed in a worthy job.  The second is that after we have finished it, we can enjoy the visual feedback of seeing the positive influence we have had.
    1. Ask yourself this question, is the dream really all over, or might there be a different way to obtain it, that might be better anyway? With the advancement of consciousness, we can think we know what or who is right for us, when if we stood back, handed the entire issue up to the universe, and asked for the right direction, we might see a glimmer of a better way flash across our imagination.  When a relationship is over, I’m an advocate of letting it be over – even if behind the scenes it takes a long while to come to terms with the ending.  The potential losses of putting up with, clinging on, pleading, self and sometimes soul-sacrificing, are never worth the personal cost.  If a project collapses, then maybe don’t throw the whole baby out with the bathwater.  Put it on the shelf for a moment, wait, and see what happens.
    1. Reflect on what you’ve still got. Counting blessings is advocated by many, but often it can be hard to count them when we are lost in loss.  Sometimes looking at the things we do not have to worry about can help.  If we have a roof over our heads, in our disappointment, at least we have somewhere to sleep that night.  If we have running water, at least we can keep hydrated.  If we have some food, we are much better off than many people in the world today.  When we have found some uplift in considering what we do not have to think about, we find a foothold on what we’ve still got.  And sometimes, that simple, slow and peaceful next step, is all you need to take.

In the face of disappointment, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and lost but remember that you possess within you, the natural ability to rise again.  Embrace the process of allowing time to heal you.  Find solace in the simplicity of life and take small steps each day to move forward.  Reflect on what you still have and consider setbacks as stepping-stones to growth.  Within each experience lies a lesson and an opportunity for a new beginning. By nurturing yourself, engaging in self-care, and being kind to your heart, you can lift yourself back up into a renewed interest for life and a steadier way of happiness.