Dealing with Disappointment


Disappointment is one of those uncomfortable feelings that we may encounter in life. We may have been disappointed with our parents, a lover, an academic career, an event, or even in ourselves. We are disappointed because the outcomes are not as good as we expected them to be. For instance, you may be disappointed that your friends turn on you for no reason, someone you care about betrayed you, you studied and struggled so hard, but your final grades do not show a thing.


Disappointment is a psychological response to an outcome that does not match or even worse than what we’re expected (Bell, 1985; Ortony et al., 1988). In other words, disappointment is a feeling of displeasure or sadness when something falls short of your expectations. Sooner or later, disappointment may knock on your door. Similar to a hand, it has two sides. You can let it hang over your life in the most profound sadness or learn the lesson and move on. When you are constantly disappointed, you are at a higher risk for suffering physical and emotional problems such as headaches, acute stress, and depression. But if you learn how to deal with disappointment in a healthier and more helpful way, it will be less painful and problematic. Disappointment will give you a life lesson for your further personal growth.


There are things you can do to relieve yourself of disappointment from the past, present and prepare yourself for any disappointments that are likely to come in the future. Here are some tips on how to deal with disappointment:


  • Accept it

Disappointment actually does hurt but denying our feelings may lead to us feeling more unhappy. Accept it and let yourself feel what you feel. Feel the emotions without trying to speed things up. No one gets through this life without disappointment. Everyone feels it, and you are not alone.


  • Learn from it

The next step to deal with disappointment is to learn from it. Instead of getting lost in the negative emotion produced by disappointment, choose to see it as something you can learn valuable things from. Sometimes it’s through our biggest disappointments that we learn our greatest lessons.


  • Manage your expectations

If your expectations are over perfectionist, then adjust them. Most of the time, disappointment comes when we expect too much from something or someone. You have to realize that things do not always happen the way you want them to. Therefore, it is crucial to managing your expectations of things and people.


  • Don’t stop trying

Dealing with disappointment is not an easy task. When you are disappointed, try to remember that it’s not entirely your fault—just focusing on your goals and working on them continuously. Sometimes you need to take a break to get over disappointments. So take some time to rest up, but never stop trying.




Bell, D.E. (1985). Disappointment in decision making under uncertainty. Operations Research, 33, 1–27.

Ortony, A., & Turner, T.J. (1990). What is basic about basic emotions? Psychological Review, 97, 315–331.

Kirby, D. (2020, December 9). The art of coping with disappointment. Retrieved from

Brockway, L.S. (2016, desember 2009). 11 Ways Emotionally Intelligent People Overcome Disappointment. Retrieved from

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