Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2016
Written by 

Healthy in spirit: Dealing with disappointment

When disappointment hits, it can feel like a punch in the stomach! You know what I’m talking about — disbelief, helplessness, frustration, anger and a resounding, “Are you kidding me?!” That happened in the life of my family recently. Without going into details, it was a crushing disappointment. Just when we thought things were all settled, they weren’t. It was anguishing.

As a minister, a mature woman (and a mother, for heaven’s sake), I am supposed to know what to say or do to fix it — whatever “it” might be on any given day. But, some things can’t be fixed. Loved ones leave, employment changes, house sales fall through, siblings are driven into exile from one another, disabilities occur, someone betrays someone. These sad times are a part of this human experience we call life, and they can be extremely painful.

When I work with folks who are enduring a profound disappointment, I try to be open to hearing whatever needs to come out. I encourage them to feel as sad, mad and bitter as they need to feel for a little while. When someone is hurting, the last thing s/he needs to hear is to just “get over it.” It feels so much better to be heard and understood than to be judged or chastised. (This is true with children as well as adults, by the way. Sometimes our adult perspective minimizes the pain our little ones are feeling when a toy breaks or a special bracelet is lost.)

If I am the one experiencing the disappointment, I need to express myself in safe ways with safe people, or at least do my own processing. That might be writing down my own thoughts and feelings, and continuing until I run dry. Recently, I did just that. On a sheet of paper, I wrote down all of my sadness, disappointment, anger and so forth. As I continued, I found that the intensity of my feelings began to subside a bit. Examples:

This is so unfair.

We don’t deserve this.

I don’t know what to do about this.

When I ran out of things to write, I stopped, and I asked myself a simple question. The question was, “And now what? I realized that I needed to accept what had happened before I could move on. So, I went back through my list, and in front of each complaint, I wrote these words, “I completely and absolutely accept that…”

Then my page looked like this:

I completely and absolutely accept that this is so unfair.

I completely and absolutely accept that we don’t deserve this.

I completely and absolutely accept that I don’t know what to do about this.

Then I was ready to remember and apply one of my most fundamental rules for life, which is this: “There is something in me which is greater and stronger than any challenge.” For me, that “something” is Spirit. It might also be called God, Universal Force, Higher Power or Love.

We are so much more than beleaguered, powerless creatures subject to every ill wind that blows. We are creative, resourceful, strong and resilient! When the fog of disappointment clears and we have reasserted our strength, we can see ourselves and our next steps much more clearly. In truth, it is not the end; it is a new beginning!

Rev. April Kain-Breese

Rev. April Kain-Breese served at Unity of Appleton for 32 years, beginning as volunteer and ultimately as an ordained Unity minister. Unity is a community for spiritual growth that focuses on spiritual well-being through affirmative prayer, positive thinking, and the daily application of five basic principles. Sunday services and youth ministry occur at 10 a.m. Newcomers are warmly welcome! Try us out! For more information, including archives of Sunday talks, calendar of upcoming events, and links to the worldwide Unity movement, visit http://unityofappleton.org or call 920-739-4823. Rev. April continues to be available to officiate at weddings and memorial services, to speak on topics related to spiritual well-being, and to lead small groups of individuals seeking to overcome fear of public speaking; call her at 920-213-4223.

Website: unityofappleton.org
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