How often do you feel disappointed?:
- Once per day
- Twice per day
- More than twice per day
It’s my hope that none of the answer choices describe you. You see, disappointment is a product of expectations. And, if you recall, ‘expectation’ creates ‘frustration’. Generally speaking, if you’re disappointed about someone — or something — there is an underlying belief that leads to this feeling.
For example: Let’s say your husband or wife was supposed to pay some bills on time, and now you’re left with penalties for being late. There really wasn’t a good reason not to pay, outside of forgetting.
So, you “naturally” feel disappointed you have penalties to pay and you could have easily paid the bill. Your disappointment shows, saddens your spouse, and leads to more of the very same behavior.
Strangely, the response we give of disappointment creates an action-reaction scenario, where we are more likely to experience another version of this event. Instead, when we give less attention or focus to an issue, it is less likely to re-occur.
But, now that we are disappointed, let’s take a closer look at ‘why’. You see, the underlying belief might be something like:
- S/he always forgets.
- I never forget and could have or should have done this myself.
- If I did this myself, we wouldn’t have a problem.
- S/he is the problem, not me.
- I’m better than s/he.
As you trace disappointment back to belief system, it often results in the same statement: “I’m better than “x” person”. Yet, none of us are any better than anyone else; especially our spouses. That would be a failed strategy, and I know I certainly didn’t mean to marry someone I feel I’m better than. I know this feeling of superiority will lead to fighting, disagreement, resentment, anger, and possibly even feelings of jealousy.
So, in the end, this belief off “better than” isn’t serving me well. I’m going to choose to replace it with a new belief: “My spouse and I make a great team, because I’m able to remember important stuff when she forgets and vice versa.”
And, the next time a situation like this arises, I’ll remind myself of my new belief system, and I’ll integrate it into my life.
Again, there are three steps
(so eloquently taught to me by Matt Riemann):
1.) Identify the belief
2.) Replace the belief
3.) Integrate the belief
These three steps are the fastest way I know how to improve a relationship that showcases disappointment, disapproval, or resentment. None of these feelings lead towards a happy life with your spouse or loved one, so it’s better to identify you have a failed strategy, make a few simple changes, and live happier.
Today, we learned disappointment is an indicator of ‘expectation’, which we’re reminded leads to frustration. Anytime we find ourselves in this state of mind, there are three simple steps to follow: identify, replace, and integrate. By following these three steps, we can improve any relationship we’re in, and we can experience more positive emotional states.
I’m so grateful for you,
Originally published at drkareem.com on March 24, 2017.