Disappointment is inevitable – Discouragement is a choice. Charles Stanley
When my sweet niece Laura was very young she would get quite upset when things didn’t go her way and would throw her head back and cry in desperation. Her mother called it a temper tantrum, her grandmother (my mother) who was ever so much more generous with her grandchildren than she was with her children would say – “oh – she is just disappointed”. We would shake our heads because I can tell you for certain that when we were young children throwing our head back “in disappointment” our mother would view it clearly as temper tantrum.
Disappointment is just a fact of life and we will all face it – disappointment is inevitable.
Probably the hardest disappointment to deal with is our disappointment in people. We have great expectations of people and so very often they let us down.
This will always happen in every relationship – even our closest and most trusted relationships – people will disappoint us because we are human. Most disappointments can be worked through especially in close relationships – it is a matter of understanding, communication and forgiveness. Sometimes this is easy as the offence in not great, and sometimes this is difficult. Michael Hyatt (and I highly recommend his blog which you can find here) wrote a post about this that touched me deeply. He talks about the ten difficult, but really important words to say when we disappoint people. These words are
“I’m sorry, I was wrong, will you please forgive me.”
As obvious as this may appear there are so many relationships that can’t seem to get to this place – these words are so difficult that they are never said and the relationship deteriorates to the point of complete breakdown.
Why are these words so difficult when in fact they have the potential to radically change the downward spiral of a relationship and provide healing?
According to Michael Hyatt saying “I’m sorry” takes empathy – you must put yourself in the other persons shoes and see things through their eyes. You must realize that it isn’t all about you – there is another person involved. This is not always easy especially if we feel we are right and the other person is not right. Seeing things through someone else’s eyes forces us to give up some of our rights to be right – and that is not easy. But relationship isn’t always about being right and quite often if we stop to see it through the other person’s eyes we can see that an offence has been made and that we have caused hurt.
I Was Wrong
Saying “I was wrong” requires humility – but it can be the best gift we can give to someone we have offended – an acknowledgement that they have a valid reason to be hurt – it is a game changer statement in the relationship. By acknowledging our part in their hurt we are telling them that we respect them and validate their emotional reaction – we care enough to want to participate in the reconciliation.
Will You Please Forgive Me
“Will you please forgive me” provides an opportunity to clear the slate – sometimes it takes time for people to be able to forgive but once it is offered with sincerity then the chance for healing can take place. If you keep short accounts of offences with people forgiveness comes easily because you have trust and open communication. It is when offences go unchecked for long periods of time that it is difficult to find your way back. My mother always used to tell us “don’t go to bed angry” – work it out. She was so right and I try to do this as much as possible but I’m not always successful at this – I am a work in progress.
Sometimes however, people will let us down and we are not able to work it through and this is where deep hurts are created and although we look for resolution sometimes there is none. This is where disappointment can turn into discouragement that can lead to depression. Unresolved disappointment or conflict can eat deeply into our emotional bank to the point of despair. Discouragement is a reaction to disappointment. We may not be able to control the disappointment but we can chose to not be discouraged.
If we have done all we can to reconcile the disappointment, we must stand tall and look to the future and not look to the past. We must remember that people are human and sometimes finding our way to reconciliation is not possible – it requires openness on both sides.
Perhaps this is the most difficult part of the process – accepting this truth.
And this is how we avoid discouragement. We look to the future for hope – we do not look back to the past as this will keep us “stuck” in despair and discouragement.
Discouragement is a choice – choose to have a clean and open heart – choose the path of reconciliation – choose the path of understanding – but most of all choose the path of truth.
Seeing clearly and accepting truth will set you free from discouragement. ‘Choose to see it and accept it quickly.
Disappointments will come – but discouragement is avoidable!