When I was in my last year of high school, I went through what can only be described as a slump.
I got a few bad grades in September and stopped putting the same effort into my school work that I previously took so much pride in. I let myself avoid it and pretended I didn’t care.
The results, as you would expect, were a steep drop in my grades that resulted in me having to work twice as hard from January to June to get my grades back to where they should’ve been to begin with.
That sounds like a desperate and sad story, but it isn’t. It’s a story about how I went from being stuck in a cycle of expecting and accepting that I was going to disappoint myself to how I bounced back from that disappointment.
“There will always be moments in life when we are let down by something or someone, and in that moment, there are two choices we can make.”
Disappointment is a part of life.
There will always be moments in life when we are let down by something or someone, and in that moment, there are two choices we can make: we can either let the disappointment get to us and give up, or we can find a way to accept the outcome, learn and move on.
If you can do the latter, you will grow as a person and strengthen your coping skills, which will lead to a happier state of mind. Take it from someone who used to get disappointed and stay disappointed for a long time: it’s possible to train yourself to bounce back so you can minimize the time spent feeling bad and move onto better things.
So, if you didn’t ace the test, didn’t get the job or feel any sort of disappointment, my tips for bouncing back are for you!
Tip 1: Embrace it
Allowing yourself to be disappointed can help you get over it in the long run. It is never beneficial to hold in your feelings and disappointment is no different. Write about it, talk about it, express it however you can. Acknowledging that you are disappointed rather than pretending you’re okay will allow you to move on quicker.
Tip 2: Give yourself alternatives
Whenever there is a high possibility of disappointment, I make myself aware of alternative outcomes so I can have something else to look forward to. For example, when I was applying to go to Harlow Campus I told myself that if I didn’t get accepted, I would get a dog. This way, had I not gone to Harlow, I would still have something to put my time and energy into. This wasn’t a cure for disappointment as going away was my clear first choice; however, it would’ve softened the blow.
Tip 3: Back to the drawing board
The worst thing you can do after disappointment is give up. Giving up creates an endless cycle of being disappointed – first you will be disappointed by the outcome, then you give up and are disappointed at yourself for giving up, and this goes on and on. So, in the spirit of positivity and strong mental health, get back up, dust yourself off and don’t give up (I know that is much easier said than done).
If you didn’t get the job you interviewed for, take some time to clean up your interview skills. If you did poorly on an exam, talk to the prof and amp up your study skills. By doing this, you can minimize the risk of being disappointed again. Once you succeed, you’ll forget all about the disappointment you felt.
Tip 4: Don’t be too hard on yourself
If you’re like me and take things personally, you know that disappointment hurts and you put all the blame on yourself. You think things like, “What did I do wrong?” and, “Why am I not good enough?” But if you want to bounce back from disappointment, you need to change those negative thoughts to positive, constructive actions.
Instead of “What did I do wrong?” think “What can I do to build on the skills I already have so next time I am more prepared?” Instead of “Why am I not good enough?” remind yourself that nobody is perfect but we are all good enough. If you didn’t get the job, it doesn’t mean you were a poor candidate. It just means that those interviewers liked something in someone else and next time around you might be top pick.
Disappointment is one of the less fun parts of life. We have a choice when disappointed to either let it knock us down and make us feel bad about ourselves or to take all the necessary measures to bounce back and shine brighter than before.