As mentioned in the previous post, writer David Mamet says that each scene in a play or film should answer three questions:
- Who wants what from whom?
- What happens if they don’t get it?
- Why now?
This week we’re focused on the second question: what happens if you don’t get what you want?
Do you keep trying?
Shift your tactics a bit and keep trying?
Do you blame?
Do you fall apart?
How do you deal with disappointment?
Disappointment on the big stage
We all experience disappointment, but what to do with it depends on what you’ve learned, your customary ways of dealing with things.
Last week those of us who watch “American Idol” saw a very talented young woman, Pia Toscano, whom many expected to win the contest, deal with the disappointment of being voted off the show.
She was clearly disappointed and crying, but she held herself together to make great use of her final opportunity to sing on the show. She was a total pro, and you knew she would be fine in her singing career because she’s doing what she loves and isn’t going to let a silly TV show slow her down. It’s been reported that she already has a recording contract.
After disappointment, what?
There’s a lesson here: If you’re disappointed in an outcome, it’s fine to feel your disappointment for a bit.
But if you indulge it, you’re still going to have to eventually put one foot in front of the other and get on with your life.
So you might as well skip the indulgence and get right on with the walking—changing course, lowering expectations, working harder, whatever.
Therapy can help you learn to roll with the punches, which is one of the more important life skills to develop. Having a big “event” over your disappointment just postpones satisfaction in your life. Give me a call at 212-353-0296 or send me an email, and we’ll get started. I look forward to speaking with you.
Diane Spear, LCSW-R, owns a private practice in the Union Square/East Village area of Manhattan (New York City). She specializes in anxiety, depression, couples, and parenting treatment, and has been helping people find the joy in everyday life since 1995. She is accepting new patients. To learn more about Diane’s approach to treatment, click here.