When Disappointment In Life Breaks Your Heart, Do These 3 Things

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sad woman standing in hallway
Self

Disappointment will pop up in life now and again.

I will never forget the moment 22 years ago that changed my life forever. I was loading the dishwasher in my old house — it was late and the kids were already in bed.

As the door squeaked, closing tight, and I hit start, I asked myself a question, "Is there more to life than this mundane existence?"

The question seemed to come out of nowhere.

RELATED: If You've Been Majorly Disappointed, Here Are 6 Ways To Stay Positive & Move On

Disappointment in life can be minor or devastating.

Two days later, after work, I was picking up my four-year-old daughter from preschool, and while fastening her seatbelt, I noticed that her arms and legs were covered with nasty bruises.

It wasn’t like she was hurt — this was different. The bruises were surrounded by a halo of purplish rash and I knew that something was seriously wrong. And it was.

My baby girl, Jessica, was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), where her spleen consumed its own platelets, preventing the body’s ability to coagulate blood properly.

The prognosis was unpredictable. Either her body would recognize the "glitch" and self-repair, or this condition could become chronic, and her spleen would have to be removed.

The next four months were the worst in my life.

Yet, I would do them all over again because, during this endless night of devastation, I found an answer to my sudden "kitchen" question: Yes, there's more to life than laundry, dishes, and backyard birthday parties.

Sometimes, disappointment leads to liberation.

I’ve realized that when life pulls the rug of normalcy out from under you, and you fail to find security in answers because there are none, you’re forced to fall to your knees and dig within for an ounce of salvation.

Some people call this process soul searching, self-discovery, or awakening. To me, it’s an unfolding of self-liberation.

Once you dive into your psyche and learn a life lesson, such as forgiveness, your mind unlocks another level and off you fall, deeper into self. The process is eternal.

My most recent realization came this morning.

Since March, I've hated life. A mega-dose of bitter tincture of COVID-19 and politics finally got to me, and I emotionally shut down. I went numb, refusing to feel much of anything.

Then, a friend invited me for a hike and asked, "How are you?"

I shrugged, emitting a single syllable: "Blah." To which I added, "I don’t like what’s happening. I don’t like any of it."

I elaborated by referencing the endless fires in California, shutdowns, and looting.

To which my friend responded, "You can resist all you want, but life doesn’t care. You have no choice but to accept what’s happening, even if you don’t like it."

She turned sharply, hopping over a rock. As I opened my mouth to object, I tripped over that stupid rock, stubbing my toe. And as I emitted another single syllable, I realized my friend was right.

Maybe, in that sudden moment of pain, my mind froze, allowing the wisdom within to speak.

Resistance is futile in the game of life.

I saw that there’s no point in resisting life experiences — even the ones I despise — because I will lose every time.

My condemnation will not change life’s undesirable circumstances, but instead, it will prevent me from enjoying the things that are going well for me.

When my mind is focused on the bad and wrong in my world, I’m viewing life through a murky lens, so darkness is all I’ll see and experience.

RELATED: How To Reclaim Your Sense Of Innocence & Feel Safe Again After Experiencing Trauma And Disappointment

We determine our own mindset.

In the world of psychology, it’s believed that we cannot experience anything outside our mindset. And if our mindset is predominantly negative, then sadness, blame, anger, and resentment will be our main experiences.

And that’s unfortunate, because we miss out on the good things.

For me, those are my husband’s kiss, my kitty’s soft purring, the blossoming rose in my backyard. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small — there are always blessings.

When we practice focusing on our blessings, we develop the habit of feeling blessed — the healthiest habit of all.

Blessed people are the happy people.

Happy people tend to treat themselves well with good habits, such as healthy eating and lifestyle choices, and setting boundaries in relationships.

And they treat others in respectful and dignified ways, with kindness, compassion, and understanding.

Welcome discomfort and surrender to it.

When the discomfort is welcomed — be it physical or emotional — our minds unlock rational ways to deal with our problems.

By the end of our hike, I decided to give it a try and live my life in this way of practical surrender, accepting that life is a sequence of various moments — injured toe, tinkling of the brook beneath my feet, and me stepping into a dirt puddle.

I recognize that there's this ongoing, profound flow of contrasting experiences in life’s forever mysterious unfolding. Something we can never fully understand.

And so, what do you do the next time life comes at you, delivering a dose of nastiness and disappointment?

Here are 3 things you need to do when disappointment breaks your heart.

1. Allow the pain to saturate you.

...Even if it feels like your heart is shattering into a million pieces.

Don’t eat or drink your pain away. Instead, relax into it.

Take a walk outside and let the air fill your lungs, crawl into your bed, dissolving into its softness, or sink into a warm, lavender-scented bath.

Cry or scream if your body wants to release emotional pain. Notice that, in time, the heaviness in your chest will dissipate a bit, and you can breathe easier.

And maybe your mental outlook toward the horrible things that upset you will shift to a more positive, optimistic view. It’s as if a jewel of insight lies beneath your pain.

2. Don’t victimize yourself — empower yourself, instead.

Questions such as, "Why me?" will lead to self-loathing, bringing more suffering — you deserve better.

You're not a tiny speck lost in a stormy ocean — you're an equal participant in the game of life. You are the ocean.

Offer yourself words of kindness and positivity, because the words you speak mentally generate the way you feel:

  • "I am strong and capable."
  • "I can handle any problem coming at me."
  • "I am smart and resourceful."
  • "I will figure it out."
  • "I can always ask for help if I need to."

3. Pull a spiritual card out of your mental deck.

Trust that the illness, betrayal, or money problems are God-sent experiences for the purpose of your personal growth and evolution.

Personally, I hate this spiritual insight, while feeling in my heart that it is valid and true.

But still, in moments of severe distress, like watching TV and seeing people in my homeland of Belarus being harassed, tortured, and killed during peaceful protests, I could not care less about my soul’s evolution.

And, yet, there is a deeper, spiritual meaning to literal, human things. Usually, this awareness brings some kind of soothing, and just for a moment, it gives us enough hope that we will see better days.

And so, as you leave your house tomorrow, pissed at the world, remind yourself that there's more to you than your predicaments and daily chores.

Beneath your raging mind, there is a solid core of invincibility, the calm stability of your spiritual nature — something I discovered during my daughter’s illness years ago.

So smirk beneath your COVID mask, and yanking it up on your nose, acknowledge that there's power and there's beauty within you that is stronger than all the ugliness and challenges around you.

RELATED: 10 Steps To Regaining Self-Confidence After Disappointment

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Katherine Agranovich, Ph.D., is a medical hypnotherapist, holistic consultant, and author of Tales of My Large, Loud, Spiritual Family. As the founder of the Achieve Health Center, she helps people attain mental-emotional alignment and close the gap between where they are and where they want to be.