Reading this definition in Rising Strong, by Brene Brown, gave me a small breakthrough today.
Disappointment is unmet expectation, and the more significant the expectations, the more significant the disappointment.
It dawned on me that this is exactly why I’ve been dealing with disappointment lately. When I was a kid, I had set the expectation for myself that I’d be traditionally successful by being into my career right after I graduated from college. Somehow, I expected myself to have this story line because that’s all I knew. I was never informed about the necessity of patience in adult life and the years it takes to build yourself up. Two years after graduation, I know I’ve failed to meet my own (unrealistic) expectations. My disappointment in myself has had me depressed about my work life. Since graduating, I’ve fallen into comparing myself to others too often and then thinking of myself as a failure. Thinking this way and comparing will not help me meet these expectations after the fact either.
I’m trying to accept I’ll never meet those expectation I had for myself (widely career driven and traditionally successful). I can’t go back in time. I’m grieving the loss that I won’t be the person I thought I was supposed to be. Now, I can move forward with who I am and dream of smaller, realistic expectations. If I’m achieving these small wins, I won’t disappointment myself again. Instead, I’ll just be happy with who I am and do my best to be patient for who I will be.