Often, I set myself up for disappointment.
I prepare my mind for the worst case scenario: “They’re going to cancel on me”, “They hate me”, “It’s really, really not going to work.” I think and think until I feel an awful panic in the back of my mind that what I think will happen. Usually, it doesn’t. Usually, if something happens, it wasn’t what I was hoping for but it was close enough to it: it isn’t a completely hopeless situation because there’s still something left. That’s what’s bearable, when things aren’t great but they aren’t the worst and you can content yourself with that. Your mind hasn’t proved you right so yet again, you can tell yourself that what you thought was illogical and it makes shit more real.
Sometimes, when I hope for something, I really hope for it even if it’s far off. I think of a bad thing that could stop it from happening but I let my mind ignore that; I let it go because I know it wouldn’t happen. Either that or I think it won’t and so it builds like a beautiful dream inside my head. That’s when I’m most happy and least anxious, although looking back that happiness is a frail thing and I don’t trust it; it’s almost wild. That’s because when or if it doesn’t work out, when it doesn’t even get close to working out, I shatter and can’t cope.
My issue is that when I don’t fully prepare myself for a bad situation and it happens to me, I get surprised. I then get angry, telling myself that I should have known, that I shouldn’t have hoped because hoping is useless. I don ‘that allow myself to think, “Actually, this isn’t the end of the world because you can’t prepare for every eventuality.” I just tell myself that of course, it should have been expected – that person hates me, that they wouldn’t ever want to spend time with me and how could I ever think otherwise?
It’s unpleasant and unhealthy, sending me into a spiral of unhappiness. I give up, slowly letting myself believe everything is terrible. If you couldn’t tell, I’m very good at taking emotions to the extreme. However, I don’t do this all the time: I only do it with big disappointments or when something I’d been hoping for for a long time falls through. It’s not everything but it’s to exhaust me and because of that exhaustion, I hardly ever talk about it.
Now that I’ve given you an idea of what I think, I want to tell you that I hate thinking like this. Friends have repeatedly told me that a mindset change starts with me but I’ve always been too afraid and felt way too fragile to even begin to start picking myself up. Outwardly, I often act utterly unbothered (unless it’s very bad) but inwardly, I get used to the feeling of plans not working out and of that crushing sensation you get when you have no idea what to do now.
The solution is not to stop hoping for things. Hope should be a driving force behind what people do; it’s what holds you up and it’s healthy when you don’t rely on it. Neither is the solution to stop dreaming of things that won’t happen: it’s good to do that sometimes because having an imagination is great but I won’t let that take over my life as it’s done before. I have trouble enough distinguishing between whether I’m lying to myself or not and I don’t want to constantly feel that.
Right now, I don’t know what the solution is. I can’t put it in place straight away: yes, I’m sick of feeling disappointed and like I’m weak with it but I can’t make that magically disappear in a day. It’s going to take time and energy on top of the time and energy I devote to other things. It won’t be easy but I’m willing to try.
Perhaps it’ll take days, weeks, months or years. Perhaps I’ll give up halfway through or not even know how to start before. Even though I’ve done that before, it doesn’t mean I’ll do it again so I have to hold onto that to stop myself from disappearing into a well of hopelessness. That won’t do me any good.
If you’ve had a disappointment recently, remember that there is always something else to pick you up and to let you hope again. One disappointment isn’t the end of the world; ten disappointments after one another isn’t either. Don’t give up on hope and most of all, don’t give up on yourself. Only you can get inside your mind and tell yourself that even if this one thing didn’t work out, one day, something will.
One day, you’ll be happy. One day, someone will love you and maybe it’s not the person you won’t now but now is not forever. It’s okay to dream and hope and wish, even when they don’t work because those hopes are part of you. Don’t let that fade away.
How do you cope with disappointment?
From Elm 🙂