Tag Archive: disappointment


One of the most interesting and exciting things about being human is that we have the power to change our circumstances by changing the way we think. Once we catch a bit of inspiration and turn our new thoughts into new behaviors incredible things happen. Since it is so easy to fall back into our old ways of thinking, it’s critical to protect our new, fragile, positive attitudes. Sadly, the people closest to us can be the ones who present the greatest danger.

In the past week, I’ve seen several instances where a friend was talked out of something that would’ve been so good for them by a friend or family member who probably thought they were protecting them from failure or disappointment. The problem with that is that if we don’t push ourselves to try new things or try something again after we’ve failed we will never change anything!

People think they know us and want us to feel good about ourselves. Unfortunately, the way they go about it isn’t always helpful. If I’m saying negative things about myself because I feel like I’m failing, I don’t need someone to baby me and say it’s ok to think that way. I need someone to tell me to stop it because they know I can do it! We need to encourage each other to be better, do more, and make positive changes; not to feel that it’s ok to beat ourselves up and stay where we are in life. I saw a perfect example of this on facebook the other day and I know the person meant well, but the situation made me want to scream.

If you’re trying to make positive changes DO NOT listen to people when they try to hold you back even when they think they’re being supportive. They probably don’t even realize they’re doing it. Just be aware of what they’re really saying and move on. If what they’re saying is reinforcing your negative self-talk, push those thoughts away and replace them with positive ones. Like Chalene Johnson says, “be your own biggest cheerleader”. You can do amazing things, but not if you continue to think about yourself and your life the same way.

If you’re one of those well-meaning friends or family members who feels like you’re protecting someone from disappointment please reconsider the way in which you show support. Instead of encouraging them not to try and to keep thinking the same way, show support by telling them you believe they can succeed. You have no idea how much that means to someone who’s decided to face a challenge and push forward. Not to sound cliché, but be part of the solution, not part of the problem. They will have moments when they want to quit because nothing worthwhile is easy. They way you show your support can be the difference between their success or failure. If deep down you’re afraid that their change will take them away from you, by being there and encouraging them through the tough times you’ll earn their appreciation, love and respect bringing you closer together. If you make every step they take that much harder you’ll drive a wedge between you which may result in the thing you fear the most.

I am very passionate about this topic because I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life and I’ve let friends and family hold me back because I listened to them when they said things that made me feel like I could never change. I’ve also cultivated a habit of not finishing what I’ve started and no one has ever held me accountable. They didn’t realize it, but what they were really saying to me was that they didn’t believe in me. We think and do based on our habits so it’s time to start paying attention and to form new ones. We need to stop being afraid to take on challenges and follow through. Sure we may fail, but then we pick ourselves up and try again and again and again. If we quit or never even start we guarantee failure, but when we keep going no matter what we will succeed!

Vulnerability. Not a comfortable concept. Even the word itself if hard to say. All of us have to face it to some degree or another. This morning I was so excited to get out in the sunshine and walk. I had high hopes of finally meeting the woman who’s husband said she’s been wanting to walk in the mornings. I even took the stairs instead of the elevator because I didn’t want the usual mess and occasionl smell of PineSol to ruin my mood. But by the time I burst through the exit into the great outdoors, the sun was covered by clouds and the woman was nowhere to be found. I stood there, alone again under a grey sky, waiting…hoping she would appear.

After a few minutes passed and there was still no sign of anyone coming to join me I headed for the tree despite the overwhelming urge to turn around, crawl back in bed and forget the whole thing. And by the whole thing, I mean the walking group, the weightloss challenge (which hasn’t even started yet), this blog and being a coach. Each and every one of the things on that list makes me feel vulnerable and this morning it was almost too much. My success depends not just on what I do, but also on other people and their willingness to trust that I have their best interest at heart. I can do all the right things, but ultimately they have to take that leap of faith.

In some ways it was easier to go to a job each day that paid well, but deep down I knew I was wasting my time doing something I wasn’t meant to be doing for all the wrong reasons and it was making me miserable. Too many times I’ve taken the safe route, the path that appeared to be the best choice when looking at it logically, but failed to take into consideration what it is that motivates me to be the best I can be. Now I do something that I love, but the very nature of what I do makes me vulnerable.

As I walked along, thinking about how we rely on others for support and encouragement and are often times let down, I starting noticing things all around me that are also vulnerable.

The worm was completely unprotected, relying on the world to first notice it was there and then be kind enough to avoid squashing it. The bird was also vulnerable and clearly saw me as a threat, but had a back-up plan. It protected itself by flying to the top of the tree, out of reach, where it could see when the danger had passed. Some people are like the worm and expect too much from others, putting themselves in situations where they can be easily hurt not realizing that they are at least partially responsible for the consequences. Others are like the bird. While they don’t put up defenses like a blackberry bush, making sure no one can get close without getting hurt, they recognize the possibility of danger when putting their trust fully in the world around them. They know that they can protect themselves by going higher which gives them a better perspective.

As a society we’ve put certain rules in place to protect us from each other. For example, traffic laws. We trust that other people will follow the rules and stay in their own lane or not turn right in front of us. Even though they’re perfect stangers, we trust the other drivers with our lives. However, once we’ve experienced the consequences of someone breaking the rules we become distrustful and even angry. I know that while most of the time I’m a pretty relaxed driver, there are times when another person does something that makes me wonder if they’re paying attention and it makes me angry. Some people have been hurt so many times, they’re constantly on the defensive, ready to lash out at any moment.

I’ve been a worm before. And I’ve been an angry driver. I don’t want to be either. I purposely walked along the road in front of Autzen Stadium because with the way I was feeling I knew I needed a better perspective. The Xs and Os in front of the stadium have quotes engraved at the bottom and I figured someone had decided to put one on there that would help me find the determination to keep moving forward.

Mentally, reading those helped me get the perspective I was looking for. Emotionally, I was still feeling down and discouraged. The batteries in my camera were just about spent, but lasted just long enough so I could photograph the one thing that made me smile as I headed home.

It reminded me that even when the people closest to us let us down or we allow ourselves to feel judged because others don’t seem to have faith in us, there is only one who has the right to judge us and chooses to love us unconditionally. There is only one who knows the number of the stars and every detail of every flower and always notices us…every hair on our head and every thought inside it…and never hurts us, but takes us higher so we can see life from a different perspective.

I’m not going to lie, even as I’ve been sitting here writing this I’ve received news that on another day would’ve been somewhere around a 7 on the disappointment scale, but today feels like 1,000,000. One more thing I was excited about, not just for me, but even more for the other person…gone. Over before it even began. Leaving me wondering why they didn’t trust me to come through for them or why they didn’t talk to me before making the decision final. Part of me, a big part, wanted to say screw it, delete what I’d already written and close up shop. Obviously, I chose a different way of handling it. Perhaps that means I’m growing. I’m sure I’ll get over it, but for now it hurts and that is the reality of being vulnerable. But if we close ourselves off and never take risks we will never live up to the full potential of our lives, robbing those who may have been helped if we had been willing to get hurt along the way.

Oh yeah, can’t forget the tree.