— Jenny Neill

Disappointment

Disappointment. This is what my brother suggested I write about when I confessed I had no idea what to blog about today. All the clichés popped straight into my mind as I accepted this topic. It stings, doesn’t it? Disappointment. It’s that sinking feeling too. The feeling in the pit of your stomach that something didn’t happen the way you wanted it to.

No matter which way I come at this topic I find I can’t avoid another. Expectation. I’m sitting here trying to imagine how one can feel disappointment without first having expectations. And, I can’t. Even those times that it comes without warning, the truth is there is an unconscious or unrecognized expectation to blame.

Here is a case on that point: I set the expectation that I would write one post per day this month. I haven’t. In case you weren’t paying attention, I skipped on Saturday. I tried to talk myself into writing two posts on Sunday, a way to “make up” for not posting on Saturday. But I couldn’t cajole myself into it. I didn’t just let myself off the hook either. I told myself I would write an “extra” post, one for December 1.

It’s rather ridiculous, this sense of disappointment over not writing one post. When I started this, I knew I was setting myself up for not meeting my own expectations. It’s the main reason I didn’t declare a lot of goals to begin with. I don’t have to be disappointed in myself over this. Why do I choose to be?

Make that question more general and it treads into philosophical territory. Is being disappointed a choice? Can emotional states be chosen? And on and on. These are questions I’ve grappled with for a long time and I don’t think there is a simple “yes” or “no,” “do or be this but not that” way to answer them.

Of one thing I am certain, disappointment doesn’t have to be permanent.

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