3 Steps to Overcome Disappointment


Watch out folks, its volleyball season again. I love watching my daughter play volleyball and I love all of the life lessons that feed my blog posts during this time of year! So, here’s one that happened this week.

Last weekend was consumed by tryouts for the local travel volleyball clubs. These tryouts are extremely competitive and almost unbearably stressful – for her and for us as parents. Thankfully, she made it through them and received an offer at the end of the tryout period. As we started to hear from her friends, four of her teammates from last year made her team, too. She was so excited to get to re-unite with her old teammates and started daydreaming about how the season would go with all of them together again.

Two days later we received a bittersweet text from one of the girl’s mom saying that three of those four teammates had been moved to another team. The exciting part is that they were moved up to a power team. The sad part is that they would not be playing on my daughter’s team. Our daughter was obviously upset and conflicted. She was so happy for her former teammates but so disappointed that they wouldn’t be together this year.

As we discussed the situation, three things came to mind to share with her to help her move through her disappointment.

1.       Come from a grateful heart

When you remember to approach every disappointment with a grateful heart, a beautiful, new perspective arises. Gratitude turns your attention to what you do have instead of what you don’t. And research suggests that gratitude may enhance emotional healing, including disappointment. Gratitude helps the brain fully process events, meaning grateful people achieve closure by making sense of disappointments so that they mesh with a generally positive outlook.

Even though she won’t be on the same team as all of her former teammates, she was reminded that she was on a team. A team that she was very excited to make even before she found out that any of her other friends might be on it. And she is very grateful that at least one of her teammates from last year is still on her team. And she’s pretty sure the two of them are going to rock it out this year.

2.       Don’t move into victim mode – look for solutions

It’s so easy to slide into victim mode when you experience disappointment. Victim mode is when you feel that life happens to you and that your circumstances are out of your control. This often results in you blaming others for what happens to you instead of taking responsibility for a situation. Responsibility equals hard work and most times it’s easier to blame others than it is to put in the necessary work.

My daughter’s former teammates weren’t moved to another team to punish my daughter. No one did this to her. As a matter of fact, I am 100% sure this had nothing to do with my daughter and everything to do with the fact that those three girls earned their spot. My daughter is not a victim here even though it would have been easy for her to play the victim. So, instead of allowing her to indulge in a victim mentality, we talked about solutions. She already has a strong bond with the former teammate still on her team and no one makes friends faster than my daughter. After all, she didn’t know anyone going into last year’s season and built such strong relationships with those girls that she’s now devastated not to be playing with them this year. Even though she won’t be playing with the same girls, she will still be able to build a strong bond and chemistry with this year’s team. It will take work, but it will be worth it.

You can read more about breaking the cycle of a victim mentality here.

3.       Control your attitude and reaction

You can’t control every outcome in your life, but you can control how you react to it. Choosing not to react to disappointment with anger, sadness, or a victim mentality leads to increased happiness and positivity while allowing you to regain power and control in your life.

After a few moments of pouting, our daughter has decided that new teammates mean new opportunities to learn, new friendships, and new experiences. She’s going to embrace these opportunities and use them to make her a better player. If she keeps working hard with these new teammates, maybe she’ll get moved up to the power team next year.

All of us experience moments of disappointment. Whether they are major instances or just an inconvenience, how we respond does matter. Embrace disappointments and let them make you stronger. Allow them to fill you with more gratitude and empowerment. Responding to disappointments using these three tips will let them enhance your life’s experiences instead of take from them.


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