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In some little way, there are disappointments all around us. Maybe its as simple as the Corn Flake box is empty or my TV show didn’t record last night. With these, we have a way already to handle them – well, most of us do. Acceptance.

But how about with the bigger disappointments in life? How do you handle those? You know – you didn’t get the promotion you knew was going to be yours, the job you love just came to an unexpected end, a relationship ended that you thought would last a lifetime? Are you as accepting in those situations? Most likely not. If so, huge pats on the back for you! You are better at this than I am!

With the bigger disappointments in life, I think we need a different kind of recipe. The bigger ones reach us at our core and often rock our worlds a little. As some of you know, I recently had my own disappointment – and I’m still feeling it. This post is as much for each of you as it is for me.

Now, there is another level of disappointment that I don’t even wish to compare my loss to – no one in my life passed away and nothing has changed so much that it will impare my life forever. Just for a while.

In NLP we have a Presupposition that says the map is not the territory. In a nutshell, this one means that the map of life we have in our mind (our hopes, dreams, wishes, expectations) are not real – they are not already planned. When we can embrace this presupposition, it helps us to let go of our expectations and know that they are not part of our map. If we’re talking Corn Flakes this is a lot easier to grasp than a broken heart or lost job. However, disappointment, grief, anger, sadness and any other emotions that are happening as a result of the disappointment are useful to us. They are useful to help us rearrange our maps.

During this time of my life, I can’t even count the number of people who have told me in essence “get over it”. Yeah, if it were that easy, I would. I mean, wouldn’t it be great if a person could just go to bed after being passed over for the promotion of a lifetime and wake up as if nothing ever happened? Maybe some people can – but is it healthy? We’re really not talking Corn Flakes here!

I think the recipe for moving on after a big disappointment includes acceptance – acceptance of what happened, acceptance of our lack of control in a piece of the decision, acceptance of what was, and more importantly, what isn’t a part of the map.

In addition to acceptance, I think resilience is a part of the mix too. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. Some people actually bounce back stronger. I’m hoping for just a bounce – there is a little bit of Tigger in all of us, sometimes we just have to find him.

A few keys to resilience are:

  • Having a positive outlook
  • Having a support network to open up to
  • The capacity to make realistic plans
  • The ability to manage emotions (state management)

The final thing I would add to this recipe is time. I don’t know how much time it takes to rearrange our maps, but it takes time. Be gentle with yourself and with others when disappointment takes hold. Everyone processes information differently – if it is your disappointment, be sure to respect your own model of the world.

Acceptance. Resilience. Time.

Go, find your inner Tigger.

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