I was deeply disappointed by a loved one recently. I expected them to respond to something a certain way but they had the opposite reaction. Their reaction stopped me in my tracks, slapping me out of the emotional tunnel vision I had created for the situation.
I didn’t know how to respond when the words they mouthed counteracted so exactly with the words I had created for them in my anticipating mind.
And so I quickly switched topics and carried the emotional weight of my disappointment with me for the rest of the day.
I took their reaction personally. I saw it as a reflection of their love, or lack thereof, for me. I began closing doors in my mind that I had enjoyed leaving wide open.
It took me some time to uncover the truths in the situation. Not my reactive ego based truths (i.e., they don’t love me, they’re selfish, I don’t need them), the deeper ever-present truths. The truths that exist in most disappointments of this nature.
Here are my findings, I hope they help you heal stronger and faster the next time you’re disappointed in such a way.
1. Each person’s individual reality crafts their words and choices, it’s not personal.
I took the words I received personally because they didn’t fit into my version of reality. My self-centric thinking blinded me from seeing all the cards on the table. I was only seeing things from my perspective, with my history, my memories, my sensitivities, my vulnerabilities, my hopes and my desires.
By expecting someone else’s response to line up with all that encompasses me, I was turning a blind eye to all that creates them. Their history, their defenses, their sensitivities, their desires. Those were the things that formed their words.
Understanding this allowed me to shift to a fuller perspective, instead of drowning in self-sorrow.
Being disappointed by others teaches valuable lessons in how to observe and respect people’s limitations, without feeling like it’s all personal.
2. People often say things they don’t mean.
With some distance, I could see that the person’s reaction I experienced was not their truth. They were simply giving a knee jerk reaction based on defenses they’ve built over time.
Defenses are walls built up to protect the vulnerabilities lying within us. Only with patience and perspective can you see beyond someone’s defenses to their truth.
Sometimes we present things in ways that hit people’s triggers. Sometimes their disappointing responses have more to do with their own internal battles than the battles we are imagining between them and us.
And sometimes people aren’t their best self, just as we aren’t always our best selves. And so instead of taking things so personally, we should be extending loving energy to them and praying for their healing, as we seek to heal ourselves.
If I had quickly written that person off due to their disappointing reaction I would have not only disrespected the history we have between us, I would have lost out on the joy they bring to my life.
Sometimes it’s not the words that are spoken, but the truths we hear with our hearts that should guide us.
3. Taking things too personally does not serve you.
As I was experiencing the hurt, I started to ask myself, how is this helping me? How is taking this so personally affecting me and is it worth it? How can I turn the tables on this to claim my power over my emotions back?
I claimed it back by forgiving them and choosing to honor their reality.
If we take one person’s words too personally, that hurt seeps into all aspects of our lives. And that one person suddenly becomes infinitely powerful, with words they probably weren’t even putting too much thought in.
If you want to take words personally, chose the words that elevate you, the compliments you’ve received, the thanks, the love. Take those words very personally.
You get to choose how much things affect you. Only you can give weight to the power of the words you hear or read. Choose those words wisely.
4. You are Whole.
There are no words on this planet that can rob your self-worth if you truly believe yourself to be worthy.
There is no one who can dim your light if your flame ignites from deep within.
There is no situation that can erase your loveliness, because that beauty was drawn in permanent marker, by a power much greater than ourselves.
Believe these words and you won’t lose yourself to any disappointment.
Ironically, after completely this analysis, the person who disappointed me came to me with the words I had expected them to speak. Words grounded in love. I had never shot them down for their reaction. I hadn’t cut them off or engaged in a battle. I knew there were deeper truths that would be spoken and I did the healing I needed to do so that those words would feel welcome, whenever they were ready to form.
Life and people are imperfect. We’ll get disappointed and we’ll disappoint, over and over again. It’s up to you to choose your perspective and the weight you give each disappointment over your life. Practice love and forgiveness you’ll soar lightly at the heights your beautiful soul deserves.
How do you deal with disappointment like this? As always, thanks for being here!
Overcoming Cruel Words Cheat Sheet
Never allow cruel, belittling or condescending words to steal your self-esteem again. Use this cheat sheet to quickly heal and turn those words into something empowering.