I know your secret. (Don’t worry. It’s safe with me.)
You’re disappointed with your life.
It doesn’t look anything like you dreamed it would when you were a little girl, does it? No. Things have not gone according to plan. It’s not that your life is bad. It’s not. You love your friends and family. You’re blessed, and you know it. (In fact knowing how lucky you are actually makes you feel guilty for feeling dissatisfied, doesn’t it?)
Somewhere along your life path, you got the message that having disappointed feelings was not acceptable (or even ungrateful.) So when you encounter disappointments, you tamp those emotions down. You just put them in a little box and soldier on.
The problem with this approach (of course) is that your box can only hold so many ignored emotions. Sooner or later you’re going to run out of room. (And when the box blows it’s not gonna be pretty, is it?)
Worse than that, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. Which means ignoring your feelings is going to keep you stuck in disappointment-ville. And that is no place to live. Let’s move you out today, okay?
Your best days are ahead of you, and your disappointment can show you how to claim them. You can use it to direct you. In this week’s episode of GrooveTV I’m gonna teach you how to use your disappointment to create your best life. Press PLAY already. Let’s do your disappointment like we mean it.
Step 1 – Have a pity party.
When something hard happens, it helps to acknowledge it. It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself when you’re dealing with disappointment. The trick is to do it one time and with purpose. Then to move on. (Versus walking through life with a chronic sorry-for-yourself kind of feeling. Which is what most disappointed people do.)
When you’re in disappointment, one of two things is going on. Either you had your heart set on something you didn’t get, or you lost something very important to you. Either way, your disappointment has you stewing and obsessing.
In the moment, numbing, ignoring, or denying can look like pretty good options for dealing with it. But we need you to do better than that. We need you to look your disappointment right in the face, and grieve what you’ve lost.
That means you’re gonna have to feel.
Disappointment fuels a smorgasbord of tough emotions. Emotions are energy. They need to be processed and released when they arise, or they get stored in your body. Emotionally repressing hardens you. It keeps you stuck in discontent and far away from being your best self.
There is another way. Choose the path of feeling. It’s the path of empowerment.
I know it can feel scary to let yourself feel a bad feeling. We live in a world that tells us we’re not supposed to have those things. You get a ton of messages that tell you you’re doing something wrong if you’re feeling bad.
But that’s dead wrong.
Hard things happen in life, and bad feelings are part of the deal. You’re going to feel sad sometimes. Even when you’re doing life right. (This is called human.)
The trick is to let yourself feel your feelings as they arise. You can. Try something I call emotional surfing. You are the water (vast, powerful, life-giving, with so much to discover under the surface). The waves are your emotions.
Imagine you’re on the surface of the water on a surfboard. When the wave comes, ride it. Breathe. The emotion will not overwhelm you. (That’s what we’re all afraid of.) It will reach a peak and then subside, just like a wave. And it will only last for seconds. Stay on your board. ☺
When you’re first learning to do this (especially if you’re in the midst of a disappointment), it’s helpful to put a little ritual around it. That’s where the pity party comes in.
I have a formula for mine. I play soft music, light incense, and say a little prayer. Then I do my own emotional surfing by journaling about the situation. I play the What Is It game. (See Step 2 of this blog.) I let it all out on paper.
When I’m done, I burn the paper while saying a prayer of release. (Shred if you aren’t in a fire safe place.) Then I light more incense. (I use a ton of that stuff.)
For the cherry on top of my feel-sorry-for-myself-sundae I get myself some Ben & Jerry’s and hang out with my trusty friend Netflix for an indecent amount of time.
And I party the self-pity right out of me. ☺
Try your very own pity party. Feel those feelings. Grieve it out. And let me know what you come up with for your personal party formula. I love to learn new tricks.
Okay, all pitied out? Time to roll your sleeves up.
Step 2 – Get down to essence.
You’ve heard of getting down to business, right? Well getting down to essence is something like that. We want to get down to the bottom of your disappointment. It has something to teach you.
It’s never the thing you think you want that you’re actually shooting for deep-down-inside. Deep-down-inside, what you’re really going for is the feeling you think you’ll get once you have that thing you’re going for.
- The BMW will make you feel successful.
- The savings account will make you feel safe.
- The marriage will make you feel valued.
- The job will make you feel significant.
- The accomplishment will make you feel good enough. (If only for a minute.)
Our goals have layers. Think of them like an onion, (preferably without the tears). Let’s use the BMW for example. You set a goal to buy a new BMW. If you peel your onion, you’ll see that it isn’t really the BMW you want. It’s the feeling of success you believe owning the BMW will give you. Make sense?
At their essence, all of your goals are about how you think the thing you’re seeking will make you feel once you have it. That feeling you’re seeking is your essence.
I have a coaching game that can help you get down to essence. Remember, we’re peeling your onion. The game is called What Is It, and it’s super simple. You’re just gonna ask a few questions.
Think about your disappointment, and give this a shot.
- What is it you think you missed out on when you didn’t get X?
- Now, take your answer and ask the question again. What is it having X (your last answer) would have given you?
- Again take your answer and ask the question. What is it X (your last answer) would have given you?
You can usually get down to essence with 3 to 5 onion peels. Once you do, start thinking up new ways you might bring that essence into your life. There are many paths to get what you want. You can still have it.
You just need to find a new route. (Think of your disappointment like a route that didn’t work, and learn from it.)
Getting down to essence turns your resourcefulness on. You’re gonna be amazed at just how resourceful you become once you start focusing on essence.
Okay, home stretch. This step is my favorite.
Step 3 – Embrace redirection.
Sometimes you don’t want enough for yourself. Thankfully your Creator has big picture plans for you. There is a reason you are alive at this moment in time. There is purpose on your life.
If you get off course from that purpose, you will be corrected. (And you’ll keep getting corrected until you get back on track.) The correction is actually FOR you. But what it feels like is a big disappointment.
Sometimes not getting what you want is a blessing in disguise.
Nature taught me a great lesson about redirection last year. I was dealing with an enormous disappointment. (Think belly flopped on the ground, with a mouthful of mud.) I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, so I went in to take a hot soothing bath, (which is another one of my pity party strategies).
There was a lizard in my tub. (Which makes it kinda hard to take a bath.) I had to get him out, so I reached in and grabbed him. (Yes. I am one of those crazy animal people.)
Long story short, he wasn’t on board with the me-holding-him plan, and as I carried him outside, he struggled like it was his last stand. I calmly walked him to the door, and found myself whispering to him, “It’s okay little guy. I’ve got you. I’m just trying to help you. That’s not where you belong.”
As I let him loose, it dawned on me. What if my disappointment was FOR me?
What if I’d been off-track, and needed to be redirected? What if the particular set of circumstances I was resisting was the best thing that could have happened?
What about you? What if your disappointment is FOR you? Could it be? What if it’s redirecting you?
Certainly this isn’t always the case. But sometimes it is. It’s worth asking the question, don’t you think?
Take a deep breath, and imagine your Creator saying to you, “It’s okay my girl. I’ve got you. I’m just trying to help you. That’s not where you belong.” Smile. Know that your life has purpose, and you can handle whatever’s coming.
That’s it for the week. Remember that I never want you to blindly take my word for anything. Only you know what’s right for you. I just happen to have a few coaching tools that can help you get closer to that wisdom. Give this lesson’s advice a test drive in your life, and let me know how it goes. There are three ways for us to interact.
- Comment in the comments section below.
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- Email me if you have something more private you’d like to ask. My personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m the only one reading your messages, and it’s always me answering them.
My mission is your empowerment. That’s why I’m here. If you haven’t already joined my community, please do it by entering your email (www.kimberlyfulcher.com). Until we meet again, know that life is happening for you.
And you got this!