Let me get this straight. Many of you are afraid to try
something because you might be disappointed, right? But so many disregulated
eaters are already hugely disappointed in themselves, in their behavior, in
failing to achieve their goals. So are you saying you’ll be more disappointed
if you try something and fail than if you don’t try at all? Aren’t you
disappointed now for not persisting until you succeed? Even if you only achieve
half (or a third or an eighth) of what you want, won’t you be proud of yourself
for trying? Maybe the problem is thinking not incrementally, but in
Yup, pretzel logic about disappointment is alive and well
and living in the hearts and minds of disregulated eaters. I hear it all the
time: I’m afraid to try because if I fail I’ll be disappointed. First of all,
who says you have to be disappointed if you try and fail? Instead, why
not think, “Good for me, at least I tried. I’m brave and courageous and maybe
next time I’ll succeed.” Disappointment is not a necessary result of failure.
You choose it as one response among many others. And even if you’re a bit
disappointed, so what? It will pass, especially if you make it your business to
let it go.
Folks who fear disappointment generally had too much of it
as children or were shielded from experiencing it by well-intentioned parents. The
job of parents is to model handling disappointment well, to not regularly
disappoint their offspring, and to help children manage the inevitable downers
of childhood. Maybe you never learned to handle disappointment effectively because
your parents couldn’t soothe you or because they couldn’t bear to see you
feeling badly and tried to make everything go right for you. Maybe you grew up
constantly disappointed by folks around you and pretty much decided it’s not
worth getting your hopes up because no good will come of it. Perhaps you’ve
already suffered so much disappointment that you think you can’t bear any more.
Or you may be so down on yourself that you can’t even imagine succeeding.
What do you tell yourself about trying and being
disappointed? Is it rational and healthy or do you talk yourself out of making
an effort in fear of failing and feeling disappointed? How will you ever get anywhere
if you don’t try? How will you ever learn to bear disappointment well if you
don’t experience it? You can learn to handle disappointment by changing your
beliefs about it and surrounding yourself with a people who won’t regularly
disappoint you but who will help you through hard times. Now you can bear
feelings you couldn’t bear as a child because you’re wiser and smarter. Learn
more about disappointment in my FOOD AND FEELINGS WORKBOOK.