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Empowerment Insights

Transform your thinking and change your life with Empowerment Insights by Jenny Jarvis
Life Change Articles from Jenny Jarvis Coaching

2022 was a year of disappointment.

Or was that 2020? Or perhaps 2021…

The point is, there have been several years now of huge disappointments. Between weddings that had to be cancelled, big birthdays celebrated in lockdown with whoever is in the household (my daughter got a Toblerone for her birthday which was the week after lockdown started, she still talks about it fondly so perhaps she wasn’t disappointed), parents who couldn’t see their children, holidays that were put on hold for several years and families torn apart by death and unable to go to funerals.

There has been an unprecedented level of disappointment in the last few years, and this has an impact on your nervous systems. Disappointment creates fear, reluctance to take risk and can lead to depression if you dwell on the disappointment for too long.

What is disappointment?

Disappointment is an evolutionary response to prevent us making the same mistakes again.

This might be helpful out in the wild but in modern life, it gives all the physical and mental issues without the life saving traits.

When the disappointment is about holidays and big events, they can have the same impact as if it were life or death.

Disappointment takes you through a similar process to grief. Denial > Anger > Bargaining > Depression > Acceptance.

The worst disappointment

I think the worst disappointment is when people are involved. When our family and loved ones disappoint us. There are many child psychologists who now say the worst thing you can ever say to a child is "I'm disappointed in you". I try so hard not to say that to my kids now. It's a phrase that can cause lifelong damage. And sometimes we do feel disappointed in their choices, but that's on us, not them.

And that was the theme of the new Avatar movie. The young son who can't seem to do right. He feels a constant disappointment to his father. What he doesn't see is how his dad is desperately trying to protect him. And in that protection, his son rebels time and again. What the son sees as disappointment, to the dad is protection.

I believe disappointment is one of the things that impacts us the most in life. It stops us doing things in case we are disappointed. What if it's not as good as I thought? What if it doesn't live up to the memory? What if they let me down again? How can I trust that person when they disappointed me once?

Why am I stuck in the comfort zone?

Disappointment is a way of protecting us from stepping out of the comfort zone. We remember that feeling, it comes over our whole body. That pit of the stomach feeling, fuzzy head, tight chest feeling of total let down. It's a powerful emotion and anchors us strongly. We are more likely to remember disappointment than a lot of other emotions. It's the downward track of the rollercoaster after the anticipation of the climb.

I see disappointment in my clients all the time. It comes in the form of relationships. Disappointment that you didn’t have the parents you wanted them to be. Disappointment you couldn’t keep the friend you had for decades, disappointment that your partner still won’t listen or communicate with you, disappointment that they didn’t get the job, or their business isn’t taking off as quickly as they hoped.

These disappointments happen every day to millions of people. They have been compounded by the effect of Covid. A few weddings are cancelled every year causing disappointment to the couple, but in 2020 and 2021, this was hundreds of thousands of couples across the world. Imagine all that emotion multiplied across families. It’s no wonder there is a mental health crisis!

Overcoming Disappointment


With most strong feelings, if we name them, acknowledge them and thank them for protecting us, they tend to have less power over us in the long term. Writing down my own emotions around disappointment certainly helped. I have a disappointment notebook so I can get it out of my head and look at it objectively later.


Reframing is another great way to navigate disappointment. Such as when a house sale falls through. Ask yourself,

  • What could be better waiting around the corner?

  • What if it had gone ahead and it wasn’t the right house/partner/job?

  • What can I do next to get myself to a place where I don’t feel disappointed about it? What good came out of the situation?

  • What did I learn?


Remember that something that is debilitatingly disappointing for you, might feel different for someone else. Many kids would have felt devastated when they just received a Toblerone for their birthday, but my daughter genuinely didn't seem to mind. Disappointment is all about perspective.


And this leads me to expectations. Managing your expectations around something can help with disappointment. Asking:

What is in my control?

Did I do everything I could to ensure a positive outcome?

Were my expectations unrealistic?

...can help to gain a better view of the situation.


Often action can override the feelings of disappointments. I know couples who had a mini zoom wedding, got dressed up and shared it online before rebooking the big event later. Get back out dating if it hasn’t gone to plan or join a relationship course to learn how to date more effectively. Look for another job that might be your dream role, get back to the estate agent and see what other options there are.


Taking action always makes me feel better. Sitting down and ruminating is the worst thing for me. Of course, sometimes that’s important too. Sometimes the disappointment is so huge that spending a day watching tv under the duvet is an act of self-soothing. If you get to day 2 and you are still doing that, what can you do that is self-care?

If you aren’t sure of the difference between self-soothing and self-care, look out for my next article.

So, tell me what your biggest disappointment was and how you feel about it now.

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Jenny Jarvis is a practicing, certified, UK Life Change Coach and NLP Practitioner who has empowered numerous people to live a life of their dreams, unleash their relationship with money and start and grow brands and businesses to great success. A truly inspirational individual, Jenny is also the mum to two amazing teens, a Reiki Master and motivational speaker. She inspires all to harness their greatness through energised coaching sessions, workshops and courses.

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