Disappointment. We all feel it even if we can’t define it. That nagging and negative feeling that if allowed can become a fire starter. It quickly becomes discouragement and frustration, that when not addressed, can result in bitterness buildup and broken relationships. This feeling is one that was common to me but I did not have a source for it until recently. It's an expectation issue.
Expectation: A strong belief that something will or should happen.
Disappointment occurs when expectations (of others or of ourselves) go unmet. In other words, we believe that ourselves, another person, a group of people, or an event should do or produce something specific and if it does not, disappointment results.
Expectations are always measurable. They are either:
Met or unmet
Set consciously or unconsciously
Placed on self or an outward source (person or situation)
Realistic or unreasonable.
Communicated or unspoken.
Expectations that are unreasonable or uncommunicated
CANNOT be expected.
This winter, my husband and I participated in the ReEngage Marriage Ministry, a couples group course with a Christ-centered focus where tackled topics included communication, forgiveness, expectation and overall intimacy in marriage. (Highly recommend if your marriage could use a tune-up).
Learning the direct correlation between the feelings of disappointment and unmet expectation in relationships was a game-changer. For someone that needs a plan, I was ready to tackle the disappointment monster.
1. Is there an expectation that is not being met? Evaulate emotions and think through what is going on around you.
2. Who or what have I placed an expectation on? Evaulate and identify whether it is yourself, someone else, or a situation.
3. Is my expectation unreasonable or realistic? If unreasonable, I have to own it and it needs to be reevaluated.
4. Was my expectation communicated? If the expectation is realistic but not ever communicated, it becomes unreasonable. Even if the expectation is unreasonable and includes someone you are in close relationship with, humbly communicating the unreasonable can also be helpful in order to reevaluate and make realistic.
Do you tend to place expectations on yourself? others? both? Can you associate the last time you were disappointed with an unmet expectation? Walk through the four questions with a past or present example.