Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

August 16, 2009


Best way to handle a disappointment: just get over it


      No one gets through life without having to endure bitter disappointments. We all stumble. We all fall. We all get our feelings hurt. We all have friends who let us down. And we all sometimes shoot ourselves in the foot.

          In such miserable moments we experience anger, frustration with others, and even disappointment in ourselves. We want to kick ourselves. We should have done better. We may even wish we could die. Glum envelopes us like a cloud. Sometimes we have an overwhelming sense of embarrassment. We want to run and hide and never have to look another person in the face.

Since there is no way to undo the past, we have to find a way to handle the wretched feelings that come with our disappointments. We have to find a way to move on and regain some degree of normalcy.

The best solution is this: Get over it!  Worry will not change anything; it actually makes matters worse.  Bitterness will sour our spirit. Regret is useful only if it shows us ways we need to change.

To get over a bitter disappointment, whether in myself or someone else, it helps me to face reality. I must admit it if I have done wrong. I must ask forgiveness if I have offended someone. I must take responsibility for my own actions.

If I am embarrassed, it helps me to admit that I am a human being and thus capable of doing and saying stupid things. I can make amends. I can try again. I can improve my people skills and try to become a more sensitive, caring person. I can try to offer to others the kind of support and encouragement I wish they would offer me.

          The death of a loved one brings on profound disappointment. We experience not only sorrow but remorse about what we failed to do before the person died. Such remorse can result in serious depression.

While grief is a normal and understandable occurrence, we must eventually get over it.  Life does not stand still; it moves on. Sadness must give way to joy if we are to move on in a meaningful way with the flow of life.

          In dark days we can learn to look for light where we can find it. The words of Thomas Carlyle are helpful: “The eternal stars shine out as soon as it is dark enough.” If we will gaze up into the dark sky long enough, most of the time we will soon see the stars shining. They are there, waiting to be seen, but it is hard to see them through our tears.

          Realism demands that we admit that life is not all sunshine and sweetness. There will be sad and lonely days, but we have a choice; we can choose to overcome and get beyond our misery. The great American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow understood this reality:

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining,

Behind the clouds the sun is shining;

Thy fate is the common fate of all;

Into each life some rain must fall, --

Some days must be dark and dreary.

          Adversity is a great teacher. We learn more from our failure than our success. Success often leads to pride, and pride causes us to stumble. “Pride and weakness,” Lowell said, “are Siamese twins.”

          When we fall, we need to ask what caused us to fall, and resolve to improve wherever improvement is possible. Only a fool continues to make the same mistake repeatedly. We can learn not to do certain things again. Unless we do, we will never be able to “get over it.”

          Some people get ahead by stepping on others on the way to the top. It hurts when someone else gets the promotion you thought you deserved. When that happens, you have a choice. You can stew over it and complain bitterly. You can scream and cry that you were wronged. None of that will help.  It succeeds only in making you miserable. The best response you can make? Just grab yourself by the nap of the neck and get over it.

          To get over a disappointment is to rise above it. Washington Irving said it well: “Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above it.” He was right. We can refuse to be subdued by our defeats and become better people because of them.

          Anger is a dead end street. Problems are never solved by tearing our hair out, though some people try it. Baldness will not soothe our sorrows. Though it is normal to become angry with those who hurt us, we must learn to calm down and get over the hurt.

          When someone hurts us, we can never get over it until we are willing to forgive the person who has wronged us. Years are sometimes lost by holding on to hatred and in doing so we only hurt ourselves. Hatred is a chain that ties you to the person you hate. The only way ever to be free is to forgive. Forgiveness breaks the chain and sets you free.

          If you are nursing a sorrow, hurt, disappointment, or failure, admit that you need to get over it. If you will get over it, you can move on with your life. Life will not be perfect, but it will be sweeter, and you will be able to share with your friends: “I’m over it!”

          Remember too, the next time life falls apart for you, say to yourself, “Get over it!” Then, take a deep breath, two aspirins, and get over it! Until you do, you can never move on with your life. + + + +