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Why Disappointment is not the End of the World

Updated: May 30

Spam Filter For Your Brain - Episode 61

This week I wanted to talk a little bit about why disappointment is not the end of the world.

Disappointment is just an emotion. And like any emotion, it is a sensation in your body that travels up to your brain and you have a whole load of stories attached to it.

I don't believe that it is the emotion of disappointment which is fundamentally a problem for most of us. I think the problem for most of us is that we feel disappointment and we tell ourselves that we're a failure and we have all of these stories attached to why we shouldn't get things wrong, why we are not good enough when we make a mistake. All of these terrible, terrible things that so many of us are prone to saying to ourselves whenever we make the slightest error.

And I just want to let you know that this is both very normal and also doesn't have to be the only story. It is really, really possible that you can begin to unprogram some of this mean narrative that we can play and play again in our heads every time we make a mistake.

But when we feel things like disappointment, and we add on this heavy burden of I'm going to tell you all of the other mistakes that I've made, and I'm going to judge you so heavily for all of the other mistakes that you've made, and I'm definitely going to judge you for the error that you've just made right now. No wonder disappointment feels like something to be quite frightened of because we are absolutely attacking ourselves.

And you probably have 100,000 examples from the tiniest thing like spilling a drink through to a mistake at work where someone shouted at you, and a billion other things I'm sure you can think of where you feel a little bit disappointed in some decisions that you made, but actually, it turned from a bit of disappointment into almost terror at quite how big the response and the reaction was that you gave yourself. And often, long after the mistake was made, we carry on telling yourself this stuff for hours, days, weeks, depending on depending on what it is and depending on your mood, probably depending on where the moon sits. It isn't the issue of disappointment that is the problem for most of us. It is this habit that we have got into of talking to ourselves in a really mean way whenever things don't go according to plan.

And that bit we can untangle, the more that we find tools to gently just notice where we're saying things to ourselves that are not gracious, that are not kind, that are not respectful, or just that old classic baseline of if you wouldn't say it to somebody else.

When you can start to notice that stuff, then you can start beginning to write a new story, weave a new path of where you could treat yourself with more humanity than disdain. And when you begin to do that. Things like making mistakes, things like feeling a bit disappointment, suddenly don't become so terrifying because you know that you're not going to be as horrible to yourself when they arise. And this also means that slowly, as soon as we can begin to start rewiring these paths in our brain, it could be possible for you to be able to think of disappointment being just one of the huge spectrums of emotions that life brings us when we're out there living, trying, experimenting, dabbling in things, getting curious, growing. Disappointment is a very valid emotion. It isn't an alarm bell that designates that you have messed up your humaning. It's just a sensation in your body that we have attached a whole load of judgment to.

And when we can learn to loosen some of the grip of the judgment on this, it will automatically loosen some of the judgment on a whole load of other things that we're telling ourselves too.

This is what I teach in But if you don't feel like you're ready for one of the courses yet or this doesn't fit or sit right with you right now, just noticing where it isn't the emotion itself that you're responding to, but all the stories that you're attaching to it will help you no end in just allowing yourself to feel human emotions to human experiences.

I hope that's useful for you, and I'll see you next week.


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