Disappointment is one of the core feelings I experience in life, especially in my parenting.

This morning, getting ready to go out for my usual morning walk I realized that my jacket, which was supposed to be hanging by the front door, was still upstairs. 

As I realized this, a wave of disappointment rose up, like a little collapse in my chest, because I knew it meant going back upstairs and I was ready to be outdoors.

It was just a tiny moment, and yet it reminded me how often I feel a little burst of disappointment throughout my day in big or little ways. It’s such a part of the human experience, and yet I find it difficult to stay present when it shows up.

If you experienced disappointment in your childhood from your caregivers, when you didn’t take care of their emotional needs, there is a strong chance you’ll experience disappointment when your child doesn’t take care of yours. 

Disappointment awakens when something you want doesn’t happen, or when your child doesn’t do what you want them to do. 

I experience disappointment as a heaviness inside, as if something has gone wrong, so move away from it as quickly as I can.  How about you? 

If you organize your life trying to never feel disappointed, or have others disappointed in, you’ll  be challenged to set your healthy personal boundaries. Instead you’ll try to be perfect or focus on getting your children to act perfect. And yet, to avoid disappointment, you have to get more and more controlling, setting everybody up for an unrealistic expectation. 

Up for trying a different approach?

Try this:

Next time your child doesn’t do what you want, take a moment and pause. Notice your disappointment arising without attaching to a story about you or your child. Be with that feeling offering it kindness. Slowly, turn your focus towards noticing the sensations in your body.

Do you feel tightness in your chest? Numb or frozen? What happens with your breath? 

As you identify the sensations, Ask yourself, is it dangerous to sense this? It may be uncomfortable and yet is it actually dangerous to sense what is arising? Can you turn towards the sensations with kindness without putting meaning to them or acting them out? 

Instead of blaming your children for your disappointment you’ll reclaim it while holding yourself in love welcoming disappointment back home.

Listen to podcast Ep. 42 “Dealing with Disappointment”