Disappointment certainly comes in all shapes and sizes throughout our lives. For me, disappointment is complex, and it usually never travels alone. It’s always out there surrounded by a posse of emotions like anger, hurt, sadness, and probably many others that just like to linger within the group. Emotional groupies … no thanks.
Right now I’m not sure what I should feel. I’ve been surrounded by disappointment and company since July, leaving me in a constant state of emotional uncertainty.
Disappointment is slick. It mastered the skill of hovering over my mind, making its way from front to back in an instant and distorting my usually bright view of the world. I really just want to get back on my unicorn and ride some rainbows.
How am I suppose to react when someone I know falls from grace? When this happens to the rich and famous like Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods we are all consumed with hearing the sordid details of their fall. We play judge & jury over coffee, around the water cooler or in the school yard. But, how do we deal with it when it happens to Joe & Jane Ordinary from our own inner circles? Someone just like you or I who decided to make choices that leaves us with that perpetual WTF look on our faces. This is never a good look for more that a few seconds, let alone months.
The story of Jane or Joe isn’t taking precedence on every network on the planet and Lord knows they’re not sitting back pondering “Would it be better to come clean to Oprah, Katie or Dr. Phil?” They’re most likely just trying to survive the fall. Loosing everything to the average person is much different from loosing endorsements from Nike and Gatorade. Regular folks don’t bounce.
Sometime in December I read a post over at the The Byronic Man that touched on this subject, but it also stirred some serious emotions for me. At the end of his piece he presented a Weekly Question of the Week that certainly made me pause. Who out there – celebrity or scientist, writer or philanthropist – do you just really, really hope never has some image-destroying scandal? Or even, if they are in fact awful, you’d just rather not know? My answer to this question was Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen’s actions represent my perception of humanity at its best. I could never know that Ellen was really some behind the scenes tyrant who chewed kindness up and spit it out. I’m sweating just thinking about that possibility..ugh.
While answering that question, I was thinking about something that was hitting much closer to my ordinary life. There was someone in my life every day for close to 3 years whose recent actions let me down. We worked together, laughed together and cried together as we fought a battle that at times felt like we were we starring in a Lifetime movie. These movies are much better when viewed from the comfort of your living rooms.
As with any relationship there are up & downs and we certainly had our share. Saying that our personalities are different would be an understatement, but they balanced perfectly together while we were in the midst of this battle. However, things changed for me when the dust settled. Back in July, I found out that this person had taken a fall from grace. She managed to commit some of the same acts that we spent 3 years battling. Needless to say disappointment, along with its entourage, hit me like a ton of bricks. I was literally left stunned.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them. Maya Angelou.
I love that quote by Maya Angelou, but I have a difficult time believing, even when the evidence is obviously clear. Denial is easier than disappointment. I have a habit of giving everyone the benefit of doubt, always believing that they are in fact much better than what they are revealing to the world. I already know I would not fare well on a jury.
Maya Angelou explains, people know themselves much better than you do. That’s why it’s important to stop expecting them to be something other than who they are. Don’t expect and you won’t get hurt…right?
So here I am almost 7 months later finally ready to accept this disappointment. I recognize that I will continue to be disappointed—that it’s part of life, part of being human. That’s real encouraging isn’t it? Jeez!
I think I’ll start to focus on some happiness for now. Maybe I’ll grab a unicorn, find some rainbows and just … Enjoy the Ride!