How Can I Get Over Always Feeling Disappointed?
I have high expectations; I always have. What do I do when the projections in my mind don’t pan out the way I was hoping? What advice do you have for how to think or what to do when things aren't what you were expecting?
Expectations don’t always match reality, and it can be hard to bounce back when you’ve gotten your hopes up, only to have them unmet (or worse, totally dashed).
Say, for instance, you’re super excited about the school year, because this is going to be Your Year. You just know it. And then, you actually go back to class and it’s just...another year. Nothing’s different, except maybe you.
The letdown could be less significant—a trip that’s not as life-changing as it was in your head, or even a Friday night that’s not as epic as you were sure it would be.
Focus on the good of the situation. Try to find a lesson in there somewhere. Life clearly isn’t always the fairy tale we want it to be, but that’s—as your mom might say—a character builder. And a valuable one, at that! Getting through less-than-ideal moments will make you a stronger person.
But also? Even the kinda blah experiences aren’t all bad. At least 90% of the time you’ll be able to find something good—a little sliver of awesomeness—out of an otherwise average scenario. Latch onto that! Studies have shown that finding things you’re grateful for, no matter how small, can instantly boost your overall happiness. The Fridaynight party you were excited about all week may have been lame, but hey, at least you got to catch up with your friend over pizza after. Sure, sometimes it might be hard to find that “glass half full” outlook in tough scenarios, but trust us, it’s worth it.
But that’s not to say you should put up with a miserable situation. If you get a job and hate it—not just in a “Agh, work is such a drag!” way, but in a “Wow, this is poisoning my soul” feeling—then you don’t need to just accept it. Sometimes we do things because we think they’re going to be a certain waythey’re just not, and that’s OK!
You live and you learn and you move on—but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a do-over. Online shopping is a perfect example; has a pair of jeans ever looked IRL like they appear on a model? Another slightly more serious example? Getting into a relationship and then deciding you don’t want to be in that relationship anymore. You don’t have to just...put up with it! It’s not like, “Oh, I’ve gone through the trouble of changing my relationship status, so I guess I’m committed for life whether I want that or not.” Nope!
You can pretty much always hit pause (and then rewind, or return, or erase, or whatever button you need).