Lessons for Dealing with Disappointment & Letting Go

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“As for the future, your task is not to forsee it but to enable it.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Today I lost my job. There may not ever be a great time to lose a job that accounts for the majority of your monthly income, but this was a particularly low time to be told my services were no longer needed.

When I graduated two years ago, degree in hand, I kicked my feet up and waited for the job offers to come pouring in. Needless to say, they trickled — never poured — and the financial abundance I was waiting for never actually showed up.

I’ve always been optimistic, believing that if I trusted in my skills and power to attract the experiences and opportunities I desire, I could make it happen in BIG ways — right now.

But after a series of short-lived jobs and surviving on a less than meager income, I can easily say that my once vibrant brand of hope and faith are looking a little ragged and torn.

Yet, even today as I calculate my expenses and re-prioritize my budget, I recognize that each of these experiences individually has completely changed the way I see disappointment and transformed the way I deal with letting go.

Here are just a handful of the lessons I’ve learned — the one’s I’ll be repeating to myself until the next opportunity comes my way:

Lesson #1: Nothing is permanent

Part of the reason why we struggle so much when things are “taken from us” is because we tend to see everything as permanent — jobs, relationships, etc. We feel slighted because “that wasn’t suppose to happen.” But the very fact that it happened meant that it was suppose to happen — that particular experience or relationship was suppose to be short lived, whether that was our desire or not.

Life is fluid. Our ability to find happiness in the journey is directly correlated to how willing we are to let go and go with the flow.

Lesson #2: We can’t always see the bigger picture

Two months from now I could say that losing my job was the best thing that ever happened to me. But before I get to that place, I have to remember that this small change is part of a bigger plan — one I don’t have a full grasp on yet.

Shutting ourselves off out of anger or frustration when these things occur only keeps us from moving towards something greater and more suited to our passion and purpose. Remaining open to the possibilities is key.

Lesson #3: Sometimes we need to be pushed in the right direction

If I were to actually stop and think about it, the job I lost had very little to do with the goals and dreams I have for myself and my career. It really was just a stepping stone.

Sometimes the Universe has a way of stripping us down to nothing in order to get us to take on the tasks that we’ve been avoiding — the ones that might actually reap the rewards we’ve been dreaming about.

If we aren’t willing to make the hard decisions ourselves, like dropping the relationship that’s making us miserable or moving out of a place that no longer suits us, things tend to happen that force us to make those changes.

I wouldn’t have quit this job out of fear that I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills — but who’s to say this isn’t making room for something far more lucrative?

Lesson #4: A negative response only leads to more misery

It’s easy to fall into a downward spiral when our core is shaken by something we weren’t expecting. When I heard this morning that I had lost my job, I wanted nothing more than to crawl back in bed and do nothing for the rest of the day.

There’s certainly a time and place for that, but I knew that, in deciding to use my time productively, I could combat this feeling of being overwhelmed and build a positive foundation of hope for the rest of my week.

Go to that good feeling place. Do something that boosts you up instead of something that contributes to your sadness, anger and frustration.

Now here’s to BIGGER opportunities that are waiting just around the corner…

Photo by Helga Weber