A lot of my posts recently have focused on trying to stay positive and move toward a goal, but what do you do when it seems like life is just out to get you? You don’t have to be living in terrible circumstances to feel like things just aren’t working out. Many people in our society struggle with depression specifically because they had dreams and aspirations that just didn’t work out and now they are stuck in a situation they never wanted to be in. Some of them are even very wealthy, and they still feel trapped by this feeling. Many people will say that this is some sort of privilege and to look at people who have it much worse than us and we should be grateful for what we have, but those words never seem to make us feel any better.
How do you deal with a constant feeling of disappointment? This article isn’t intended to provide you with specific advice, reader, as I have struggled with this form of depression for most of my adult life and I feel no closer to solving it. For myself, a large portion of it stems from the fact that I just don’t know what I want to do with my life, aside from a couple of crystallized ideas that have formed over time, none of which have to do with my career. Perhaps the worst form of disappointment is being unable to find a sense of purpose for your life, or maybe feeling like there are things you could probably do well but circumstances just don’t work out for you.
Many people will tell you that you just need to pick yourself up and start doing something. Try different things and see what sticks. It seems like good advice on the surface, but I liken it to treading water. You put in a lot of effort just to stay afloat but you’re not actually getting anywhere. Sometimes putting in the effort only to find it was a complete waste of time pushes you further into depression. Trying things can actually be detrimental to your mental health if nothing ever seems to stick. You feel more and more lost every time something new fails.
Disappointment is a hard thing to overcome. It is in direct opposition to the concepts of perseverance and patience, and as long as it has a strong hold on your life it will be an impediment to your ability to find peace and satisfaction in your life. It encourages that insidious laziness we discussed in a previous article because it becomes harder and harder to summon the energy to do anything if you have come to believe that anything you do will end in failure. Why waste the effort?
I don’t believe there are any solid suggestions that can be given to help stave off disappointment. If there were, it wouldn’t be such a widespread problem. Disappointment is one of those things that is unique to each of us, and it requires a unique solution to figure out how to get past it. “Gurus” could probably give you a list of ten things you can do to work to overcome it, but in the end your disappointment stems from personal failures in your own life. You can’t apply a template to a unique problem.
So what does this mean for us? It is simply that part of life is struggle and failure, and unfortunately there is no easy way out. It again brings us back to perseverance and patience. Learning to accept that feeling of disappointment without allowing it to crush our resolve is one of the most important thing we can do to find meaning in our lives, especially when we find ourselves in situations where we are not happy with how things turned out. You will always have a part of your life you wish were different, and learning to live with that is key to finding peace. The way you do that is up to you. No one can figure it out for you.
For myself, part of my motivation to start this blog and make a serious attempt to keep writing it stems from the crushing disappointments in my own life. My way of dealing with disappointment is to share my thoughts and hope that it makes some kind of difference, not only for myself but for others who are struggling to figure out their own lives. I have certain ideas about things, be it political or otherwise, but part of my goal is to start putting together something that is coherent and meaningful and that maybe starts moving my life in a different direction. It is when we find meaning in something that we are able to overcome disappointment. Otherwise we are lost.
So what about you? What will you start doing today to fight back against disappointment? Do you agree that there is no standard solution that applies to you?
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