Now, we all know disappointment – that sinking feeling when things don’t go our way. But have you ever noticed how we often go to great lengths to avoid disappointing others? It’s like we’d rather face our own letdowns than be the cause of someone else’s. But why is that? Let’s dive into the murky waters of our psyche and explore the fascinating world of how to handle other people’s disappointment.

What’s really going on?

Remember Episode 12, where we delved into the truth about people-pleasing? We uncovered that people-pleasing is a bit of a selfish act. It’s our way of shielding ourselves from feelings of abandonment, loneliness, unworthiness, and, most importantly, from the dreaded sensation of disappointing someone else.

Just think about it – how many times have you cringed at the thought of letting someone down? It’s almost like a physical reaction, right? That’s because we’re wired to avoid it, and it often ties back to our experiences in childhood.

Childhood wounds, my friends – they’re the culprits here. Our upbringing, school experiences, and even those piercing words like “I’m disappointed in you” from a parent can leave a lasting mark. It’s tough for a child to believe they’ve made an adult think less of them.

And it goes on…

So, as adults, we carry this baggage with us. We become conditioned to do whatever it takes to prevent others from experiencing disappointment because we associate it with being unloved, unworthy, and just plain miserable. But here’s the kicker – when we shield people from disappointment, we’re robbing them of personal growth.

Yep, you heard me right! We’re hindering their ability to learn how to handle disappointment, to reflect on their own expectations, and maybe even discover that life doesn’t always go as planned. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “But what if they never change?” Well, here’s the truth bomb – their disappointment in you isn’t actually about you. It’s about their struggle to cope when life throws a curveball.

How to Handle Other People’s Disappointment

So, what can we do when we find ourselves on the disappointing end of the spectrum?

First, take a good look at where your self-worth lies. Does it hinge on someone loving you and never having a negative thought about you? If so, it might be time to reevaluate that relationship.

If you can accept that people will have both positive and negative thoughts about you (just like you do about them), congratulations, you’re on the right track! Remember, every relationship involves seeing the whole person – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If you’ve genuinely messed up, own it! Apologize without self-deprecation, but don’t expect forgiveness. It’s about personal growth and taking responsibility.

Now, as you work on these aspects within yourself, be prepared – they might not like it. They’re used to you fixing things and soothing their disappointment. But this time, you’re holding them accountable for their emotions, and that’s a growth opportunity for them too.

Handling Their Emotions

Now, let’s talk about boundaries. They’re not just for disagreements; they apply to anger, sadness, and, you guessed it, disappointment. If you’re an empath, you may believe you’re a sponge for others’ emotions, but that’s not what true empathy means.

Empathy is about being in touch with your emotions and using them to connect, not absorbing someone else’s emotional baggage. Remind yourself, “Their stuff, my stuff,” and establish better emotional boundaries. Practice makes perfect, and you can start with those less emotionally charged relationships before taking on the big ones.

Remember, disappointment itself isn’t the issue – it’s how people handle it that matters. By recognizing this, you’ll understand that other people’s disappointment isn’t about you. It’s an opportunity for personal growth, whether they’re ready for it or not.



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The Balance Code Podcast image with Katie Rössler for Episode 15

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