On Disappointment and Manifestation - How to Deal
Recently, I stumbled upon a perfect opportunity to go for something I’d been dreaming about for a really long time. I had put my intention out into the Universe, surrendered and quite by accident the perfect opportunity just popped up. As I curiously began to take inspired action, the Universe began to move around me. The right people and circumstances began falling into place. I acted as if it was going to work out. Even without my knowledge of the law of attraction it really did seem like it was going to.
And then, all of a sudden, at the last minute and quite without warning, the wheels fell off the wagon. I was gutted. What the hell, Universe?
I’m guessing if you’ve landed on this page you’re going through something similar right now. Sucks, don’t it? And it got me to wondering. It’s all well and good to believe in the law of attraction when the going’s good, right? You’re naturally on a consistently good vibration anyway. But it’s when you face disappointments that your vibration needs a little extra TLC to keep it high.
So what do we do when life hands us a shit sandwich? How do we keep our vibration high when things don’t work out and we’re weighted down with disappointment? How do we keep from throwing in the towel and telling ourselves it’s because the law of attraction is a load of crap?
#1.. Deal with and accept the emotion properly
Not what you were expecting me to say, is it?
In today’s society, we have a real “happiness disease” and happiness obsession. Unpleasant topics get swept under the carpet. We’re quick to rush to comfort someone who is crying, or cheer them up, or distract them from experiencing a raw moment. Any emotion that isn’t happiness has a “negative” label slapped on it and we need to “get rid of it” because #goodvibesonly. The happiness disease is no more prevalent than, perhaps, in the personal development community. We’re told to “think positive” and feel positive so that we can manifest a miraculous life.
The trouble with that is that shit happens. Sometimes, really shitty things happen. And when we’re taught that happiness is the only acceptable emotion, what are we supposed to do with a natural reaction to a shitty thing? Well, we don’t know what to do. So, like that pile of random crap we have to quickly stuff in that cupboard when unexpected visitors knock on the door, we squash the emotions that don’t fit the happiness profile. We don’t deal with them, we avoid talking about them and we don’t sort through them because we never learned how. So that emotion, rather than being openly dealt with, is bubbling underneath the surface in your subconscious, affecting your vibration without you even knowing it.
Here’s the thing: repressing our emotions, refusing to acknowledge them other than labelling them as “negative” and getting into a flap because we’re having a negative emotion, is actually what is affecting our vibration vastly more than the emotion itself, because what this behaviour does is create resistance around having the emotion and what you resist persists.
So what do you do instead?
RECOGNISE + NAME IT WHAT IT IS | without judging or attaching a meaning to it. Take the time to feel the emotion fully and be present with it. Feel the physical sensation created by emotion in your body. Acknowledge and name it. “I am feeling disappointed.”
UNDERSTAND HOW IT’S AFFECTING YOUR BEHAVIOUR | Acknowledge that your disappointment is likely affecting how you interact with others, how you interact with objects and how you’re dealing with yourself. It’s affecting your choice of music, your choice of what to watch on television and what you’re choosing to eat. This is key. Remember, this is about becoming real with what’s going on for you rather than trying to pretend it’s not going on.
ACCEPT THE PRESENCE OF THIS FEELING | When you’re trying to think positive and manifest good shit, it’s difficult to reconcile with the fact that you feel like crap. But by accepting where you’re at, and that it’s okay, you allow the disappointment to exist within you and you can process it and dissolve it relatively quickly and uneventfully, rather than trying to squash it down all day only to have it keep you up at night grinding your teeth and stewing on it. Acknowledge and accept the disappointment non-judgmentally by saying “I am feeling disappointed and it is okay”. This is telling the Universe that there is no resistance or negativity: you are okay and at ease. What do you think the Universe is going to send you more of? Exactly.
ALLOW IT TO RUN ITS COURSE | Today might feel shitty. But the good news is this too shall pass. On its own, feeling an emotion like disappointment won’t affect your vibration long term: it’s when you wallow in it, make yourself the victim in your story and let it rule your life that your vibration begins a downward spiral.
#2.. Have compassion for yourself and the situation
As we’re sitting with the disappointment, accepting what we’re feeling and allowing it to pass through us, we need to be conscious of how we’re treating ourselves and others in our moment of pain or upset. The most important thing to do is to ask ourselves: am I acting with compassion? By that, I mean compassion for ourselves and compassion for others.
When we get dealt with a huge letdown, it’s human and natural to start playing the blame game: whether we beat ourselves up or go around looking for someone to pin the blame on. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with taking responsibility for our results and how we choose to respond and a little feedback to ourselves is certainly useful so that we can learn and grow from this experience: just not right now.
Right now, while you’re still ruminating and feeling all the feelings and very much “in” the experience, all feedback to yourself, self judgment, or blame is going to do is feed those feelings and cause you to dwell on and attach to them. This will only serve to drain your vibration.
Give yourself a 48 hour “grace period” before giving yourself feedback and use the time to be kind to yourself. This means self care. This means treating yourself. Take yourself on a date (I like to go to the movies by myself), go for a hot sweaty run, cook yourself your favorite meal, binge on Amazon Prime or sleep in if your circumstances allow. Do things to lift yourself up. Speak kindly to yourself.
If the circumstances of your disappointment involved others: give them a 48 hour grace period too. Sure, don’t be a doormat, but when you talk out of raw emotion the point rarely bridges the chasm between you resourcefully. In the meantime, if you can, give them some space while you sort yourself out and come into a place where you can express your disappointment you without starting an emotional wildfire.
Disappointment doesn’t have to be anyone’s “fault”. No one has to be “to blame”. Sometimes things Just Don’t Work Out. Resist the natural temptation to find blame and have compassion for the fact that right now, you are wounded and need extra TLC.
#3.. Find the Lesson
“Every problem introduces a person to himself.” – John McConnell
So, 48 hours have passed since that thing you were hoping for went to hell in a hand basket, you’ve felt the emotion and you’ve given yourself a little extra emotional padding. Here’s where it starts to get uncomfortable again: what have you learned from the disappointment?
In the spirituality sphere, we really like to give a cosmic cause to life’s disappointments. “Oh, everything happens for a reason” or “The Lord works in mysterious ways” or “It’s all part of the plan” gets thrown around like cosmic confetti and we jump to spiritualizing our hurt. This can be comforting, sure, but it’s kind of like blaming the cosmos rather than acknowledging that yeah, maybe it’s part of some cosmic divine plan but maybe that plan is there’s something you need to learn from the situation – and unless you learn what you need to learn it’s going to keep showing up. Sometimes, we can do everything right and get our vibration on par with what we’re trying to manifest but if there’s an important lesson we need to learn first, we’re going to continually bash our heads against a brick wall until we stop and recognise the lesson.
Remember before when I said you had to wait 48 hours before you gave yourself feedback? Well, here we are. The rawness of your emotion has worn down and you’re likely thinking with a clearer head. Giving yourself feedback is most effective at this point in the process, but there’s a caveat: no trash talking yourself. No insults, no put-downs, no “shoulding” all over yourself.
Instead, when you give yourself feedback, talk to yourself as if you’re talking to your hero, using a soft, coy, almost sexy voice. You’ll likely feel a bit silly but trust me it works wonders. In your softest, sexiest voice say something like: “Hey, girl, you’re so awesome. The last few days have been so tough for you and you’re handling it like a Queen. Just a teensy tiny little bit of feedback. You probably could have started working on that project a little bit earlier rather than leave it to the last second but hey, at least now you know for next time. Keep shining on, beautiful.”
Use that format to talk to yourself as you discover the lesson in the experience that you had that led to the disappointment. What did the experience teach you about yourself? How did it teach you about life? What did it teach you about how you deal when shit doesn’t go your way? How will you or won’t you let it influence your beliefs going forward? Because here’s the secret: it’s not the disappointment that will affect your vibration, but rather what you make that experience mean and what you choose to believe based on that experience.
In fact, the truth is that we learn sweet fuck all from the good times in life. That fact kind of sucks, but it’s true. We learn nothing about ourselves, our lives or the world around us when everything’s coming up Millhouse. So when do we learn about what matters, what we really want or who we really are? When the shit hits the fan, usually.
Disappointment, in its own messed up way, gives us that gift. It gives us an opportunity for deeper self-awareness, self-exploration, and self-growth. It’s how you handle it and grow through it that will determine the way that it affects your vibration.
Here’s how to nail it:
What have you learned? What’s the takeaway? What really happened here? What about the situation triggered my feelings of disappointment? How can I learn from that? When it happened, did I immediately blame myself, others, or external circumstances? What did I expect from myself, others or circumstances, and was this realistic? Did I set myself up for disappointment? If there was a silver lining in all of this, what is it? How can I learn from this? What can I learn about myself? What can I learn about the perspective I had in this situation? How would I change my approach if there was a next time around?
How are you going to let it define you? You have two choices: to either let it become the woe-is-me story of why it’s holding you back and limiting your life OR that kickass pivotal rock bottom to riches story about how you changed your life, the one you tell when people ask you about your success and what led to it. Think about all the motivational speakers who talk about a rock bottom, dark night of the soul, ultimate failure story that became the pivotal moment in which they turned their whole lives around. What if this disappointment is that pivotal moment for you? Which would you rather let your story become?
Remember, you are 100% responsible for your life: not always 100% responsible for what happens, but ALWAYS 100% responsible for how you respond. Take ownership of the situation and either give yourself some constructive feedback on the distinctions you’ve learned and what you will do differently next time or else choose to respond in a resourceful and empowering way.
#4.. Remember, it’s about the war NOT the battle
Understand that God’s delays aren’t always God’s denials. You might have been denied this time around, or it hasn’t happened on your timeline or in the way that you thought it was going to, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. It’s just not going to happen right now, in this way. Trust that if this is something that’s important to you and this is something that you’re willing to keep working towards and this is something that you know in your heart that you truly desire, it will come. Trust that this current disappointment and this current “rejection” is a redirect from the Universe, setting you in the right direction to arrive at where you want to be in the perfect time of your life.
Sure, short-term this probably really sucks. And sure, there’s probably going to be a sting from the cut for a little while. And maybe this avenue to get where you wanted to really felt like the perfect outcome for you until it ended up becoming a total clusterfuck. But let’s be real: when you think about the long term goal, was this really – really – the only pathway through which it could have possibly come to you and really the only time in your life that it’s going to be possible?
Honestly? Probably not.
Take yourself out of the short-term sting and look at the big picture. There are a dozen roads in, it’s just that you hit a dead end on this particular one you chose. Sure, it’s a setback and it’s inconvenient. But in most cases, there are other pathways to the same end goal. If this didn’t work out, it likely means that it’s because something else is going to.
#5.. Stop trying to be perfect
Sometimes when we’re really focused on making something happen, we think that if we just do everything perfectly, it will work out. The trouble with that is that nobody and nothing in life is perfect. We’re human, we fuck up. The spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. There are always conflicting priorities. Our attention and focus will always be compelled toward other things. There are always exceptions to the rule. In the midst of those exceptions and anomalies, we can really berate ourselves for not doing “everything” we could have when we get hit with a big disappointment. “Oh,” we say, “if I’d just remembered to do x, maybe it would have worked out.”
Remember that perfection is neither attainable nor sustainable. We were never designed to be perfect. Life is about the progress we make and the lessons we learn along the way. We’re not finished until we’re finished. As my mentor always said to me: You’re either green and growing or ripe and rotting.
In your journey, there will be many times and situations where you’re going to take two steps forward and one step back. This is part of the natural ebb and flow of life. Most of the time, it doesn’t even have anything to do with you. You could do everything by the book and it would still happen the way it did. By trying to be “perfect” all the time in a vain attempt to prevent it, all you’d be left with is a never-ending cycle of self-torture.
From a law of attraction point of view, when we’re constantly telling the Universe that we can’t have “the thing” until we’ve done “all the things” perfectly, guess what the Universe does? It responds in kind. Not to mention that the harder we feel that we have to work, the more resistance we create around the thing we’re “trying” to get, and the further away from the vibration of what we’re trying to manifest that we become.
Instead, choose to see things with an attitude of playfulness and experimentation, as would a child. We all have that one friend who seems to Forrest Gump their way through life, for whom the right circumstances or luck just falls into their lap. Their secret? They’re not trying to be perfect. In fact, they’re not trying at all. They’re just wandering through with the knowledge of where they need to go lingering lightly in the back of their minds as they drift subtly in the direction they feel is best. THIS is where you need to start playing.
#6.. Let it go
This is a tricky one. It’s tricky for all of us and especially for those of us like me who like to control the show. Surrender is an ongoing lesson for me. I need to constantly keep reminding myself to let it go and trust the Universe.
Know that disappointment is often a sign that we’ve been holding onto something too tightly. The feeling of disappointment is the disconnect between what our Ego was expecting and what’s actually happened. We’ve wanted x to come at this time and in this way and it hasn’t. Disappointment is based in Ego, stemming from fear and lack. It’s essentially Ego telling you that there’s only a finite amount of ways that a thing can come to you and there’s only a finite time period in which it can come to you and if it doesn’t come to you in this way or in this time you might miss out. It’s completely the antithesis to being in a vibration of abundance and possibility.
Disappointment is a really good indicator that we need to pull back from trying to control and manipulate the outcome and just trust that the Universe knows how to bring it into form better than we do. Oftentimes, that perfect form is way better than you could have imagined. By letting go, you allow the Universe to bring you forth your desire in the most perfect form at the most perfect time for the good of all.
The thing about surrender is that it’s not a one-time thing. It’s a practice and it’s something that you need to do over and over again. In fact, when you feel like you’ve finally surrendered, it’s usually a good sign that you haven’t. Surrender of your situation is ongoing. Whenever you feel like you need to control, whenever you feel tension, whenever those feelings of despair start to resurface, repeat to yourself “I surrender” or, if you’re not quite ready, “I am willing to surrender.”
#7.. Expand your horizons
Often when we take on a project we tend to get our blinkers on. We often don’t see all the other things around us in which other possibilities or opportunities exist because we’re so focused on investing all of our time, energy and concentration on this particular one.
Look at disappointment as providing you with another window of opportunity. As the old trite saying goes, ‘When God closes a door, he opens a window’. Now that you’re emerging from the shadow of your disappointment, start to notice other areas of your life and other opportunities and possibilities. Get playful about what else is possible and the other opportunities out there. Don’t try and get refocused or chase another rainbow yet, but rather set your intention to the Universe. Ask “What else is possible? Where are the other opportunities?” and then let it go and let the Universe handle the rest.
As much as it really stings right now, disappointment can be a gift and actually strengthen our vibration if we choose to make it so. It teaches us about resilience. It teaches us to be resourceful and creative and look for new avenues – which can often lead to a more fulfilling outcome. Disappointment teaches us that there’s more than one pathway to happiness. We can get so caught up in the “life checklist” we tend to forget there’s more than one path to reaching that level of joy and fulfillment.
Disappointment has also taught me to be more present in the here and now. It has taught me that when we put all our eggs in the future happiness basket, we take away from the joy and beauty of the present moment. It has taught me that my expectations and trying to manipulate the future is robbing me of my joy and wishing my life away, because I refuse to be happy about where I am currently.
With a little reframing and a lot of self-compassion, disappointment transforms from being an energy-sucking sob story to a pivotal point from which we are able to become more resilient, resourceful and realistic about our expectations, helping us to become stronger and more powerful manifesters.