Disappointment. It lingers long after whatever occurred has passed. Sometimes it can be an event that disappoints you, something as trivial as the weather. Maybe you were planning on going to the beach. The forecast called for sunny skies. But you wake up, and you can hear the incessant pounding of the raindrops on the roof above you. It sucks, but there’s always tomorrow to go to the beach. The worst form of disappointment comes from other people. The kind of disappointment that could have been prevented had they cared more.
You’re expecting a call from the new guy you’ve been seeing. It never comes. You spend hours staring at your phone, willing it to ring.
It’s your anniversary. You stopped at the pharmacy to pick up a card for your spouse. You left work a bit early to make sure you were home in time to have dinner prepared for when they get home. The sauce is simmering on the stove and the card is placed tastefully in the center of the table. Time goes slowly, slower the longer they don’t show up. They call you, they’re sorry they forgot and they’ll be home as soon as they can. Dinner’s already cold.
It’s Christmas. You decided to go stay at your parent’s house for the night so that you didn’t have to make the drive in the morning. Your whole family is there…except for your mother. Where is she? It’s the middle of the night, and the presents should have been put out for the kids, and yet, they aren’t. They’re with her, wherever she is. You call her. No answer. The anxious thoughts start swirling around in your head. Was there an accident? Is she okay? Hours later, still no answer. You think back to the times this has happened before. You think, “This is different. It’s Christmas. She wouldn’t stay out.” You’re wrong. She will stay out, because in the moment, she doesn’t care about anyone but herself. You have no presents to put out. What are you going to tell the kids when they ask why Santa never came?
This is the worst type. The kind that makes your emotions flip-flop, spiraling, circulating. You’re worried, and then you’re mad. Then you’re worried again. You’re angry with yourself for being angry, because what if something really is wrong? Stop. This is not your fault. There is nothing you can do. You gave him your number. You bought a card and cooked dinner. You showed up. You called.
You did all you could. This is on them, not you. Disappointment breeds hate and resent. Don’t let it. Know that you’ve done all you could, and understand that the other person, the one who disappointed you? They’re only human. Maybe they’re disappointed, too. Maybe, they’ve disappointed themselves. That’s punishment enough. Be understanding, and do your best to take control of the situation. Be gentle, but learn from the disappointment. Remember that it’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last time you’re disappointed. Give them another chance, or don’t. But don’t let those emotions fester inside of you. Don’t let it consume you. Pack up the meal you made, and eat it for lunch. Take yourself to the movies. Tell the kids that presents aren’t what’s important about Christmas. Tell them it’s about love, and about being with those we care about.