“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope,” said Martin Luther King Jr. Indeed, there is a difference between disappointment that moves to despair and disappointment that moves to hope. Either way, the sound of disappointment is real, though moving to hope is preferred.
Regardless of how much optimism or faith and hope you have, disappointments will come. The best noise reduction safety ear mufflers cannot drown its sound out. Thus, the issue becomes not whether or not you can thwart disappointment, but how you deal with it, even it is self-inflicted.
More often that not, however, disappointment comes in spite of our best efforts. That’s why it stings so much. So, what if you could transpose the sound of disappointment into a tune of hope? Here are three ways to do so.
#1 Face the Sound of Disappointment
Yes. That’s right. Look disappointment in its eye and listen to its sound. Then, determine that it will not be the last sound that you hear.
Whether it is a lost client or deal, a relationship gone wrong, a promotion you didn’t get, a negative review, a betrayal, something you failed to do . . . the list is endless, it seems. Whatever it is, face it. Denial is suppressed energy; energy that you need to make the transition to hope.
In facing and listening to the sound of disappointment, you will know whether or not you need to do something differently. You may also discover that you need to let go of something or someone. . This means that you will set yourself up to learn.
#2 Learn from the Sound of Disappointment
In each disappointment is wrapped a precious life lesson, like the pearl in the oyster. Remember that the pearl started out as a foreign object that was an irritant to the oyster. Even as you face and hear the sound of disappointment, listen for the lesson. Don’t allow the disappointment to remain as just another episode of pain.
Listen for what the disappointment teaches you about you, your actions, the effects of particular actions, people, and so forth. This includes the effects of your actions.
What is it you will do differently as a result of your disappointment? How will you relate to others? How are you growing through and from it? What does it take to for you to get back up again?
Get back up again you must. The option is not life-giving. You have a responsibility to those who are depending on you. Then, there is your commitment to yourself, to fulfill your unique promise and potential. Therefore, listen past the sound of disappointment. There is another tune.
#3 Hear the Tune of Hope Amidst the Sound of Disappointment
Alexander Pope once noted that, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” However, the sad truth is that hope can get drowned out by the recurring sound of disappointment. Thus, it is important to remember our opening quotation from Martin Luther King, Jr. Disappointment does not last forever. It is finite. However, there are many possibilities in the unfolding future. Hope moves toward the future. Thus, it is as unending as the future is.
The transposition to the tune of hope requires listening below and above the sound of disappointment. You need a stilling of your soul to remember the strains of long ago, before disappointment set in. Then, you listen again. This time, you listen to the song of the future hope.
In the Christian tradition, we hope in this life and also in the life to come. Our hope is eternal for it is founded on an eternal God and the life of Jesus Christ in us – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3 NRSV).
Whether you hold to this hope or not, you must admit that hope is future oriented. It sees the light ahead. It hears the uplifting tune of possibilities to be explored and opportunities to be taken. You listen, then you sing along and turn to the future as you leave behind the sound of disappointment and add to the new melody, the harmony of lessons learned. In this way, you get past the sound of disappointment.
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Dr. Claire is a spiritual mentor and coach who helps busy business and corporate leaders beat overwhelm and stress to increase productivity and improve their relationships.