Dealing with Disappointment


“We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Everybody has to deal with disappointment at one time or another. Sometimes we are disappointed with ourselves or our family or friends when they let us down. Sometimes we are disappointed by not getting the job we applied for, or the apartment we wanted to rent. Sometimes the team we are rooting for loses or an election doesn’t go the way we envisioned it.

We feel disappointed when we realize that we are not going to receive or achieve whatever it is we wanted or felt we deserved. It is hard to acknowledge that some things are beyond our control. It is important to earn the lesson that disappointment is trying to teach you and then let it go.

Disappointment can leave us feeling powerless, angry and stuck but how long can we afford to feel that way? It is not a comfortable place to be but we may stay there for quite some time unless we have a plan. Disappointment is not defeat and in the grand scheme of things it is a learning experience and it helps to see it as minor setback not a complete loss.

Here are some suggestions for dealing with disappointment:

  • Share how you are feeling with others. Talking about it helps. Do not isolate yourself.
  • Notice your body language. How are you standing? If you are slumped over try straightening your spine and opening your chest. Stand with your feet about a foot apart, put your hands on your hips and assume a power pose it will make you feel powerful.
  • Maintain or increase your self-care and go ahead and indulge yourself. If ice cream makes you feel better go ahead and make a date with Ben & Jerry.
  • Take a walk in nature.
  • Do everything you can to feel better; take a nap, get a massage, meditate, listen to music, watch a movie or read a book.

When you are ready, replace your disappointment with new dreams and begin again.

Kathy Sussell is an ADHD coach who helps teens, college students and adults with ADHD improve their time management, planning and prioritizing, initiating and finishing tasks, organizing paper and objects and other life skills. Kathy is the c0-author of, Managing Your ADHD: Tips and Solutions from A-Z. She is the organizer of the ADHD Women’s Meetup Group that meets every month in NYC. For more information visit her website: or email Kathy at

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