Disappointment in ourselves is something we all share. You’ve probably had at least one time when you could have pushed yourself a little bit further to reach a goal, change a habit, or meet a deadline. We all get frustrated when this happens.

Learning how to thrive in spite of even your most epic disappointment is the key to bouncing back as soon as possible.

Most people experience disappointments almost every week. They feel they are not living life to their own standards and values. They expect more from themselves.

When you are disappointed, your mood quickly can changes. The feeling can significantly affect your progress in life. Disappointing yourself can make you question your choices, ambitions, self-worth, and your abilities.

Robert Kiyosaki once said, “The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.”

Be kind your yourself

If you recently failed to deliver a career-making presentation, missed a deadline, said something you absolutely should not have said to a loved one, a colleague at work or a friend — your life is not over! Everyone will not remember this mistake for the rest of your life.

Our failures are rarely as big as we imagine them to be. Ask yourself, will this matter one year from now?

“Being overly critical of ourselves can increase anxiety about a setback. But overthinking, or ruminating on what happened, is like agonizing self-criticism on repeat,” Rachel Simmons wrote in The New York Times’s guide to overcoming failure.

Accept and acknowledge your disappointments

The first step, as always, is awareness — name it to tame it.

Pause for a moment, and turn inward to find out if your feeling frustrated or disappointed with yourself for anything. If you notice a negative shift in your attitude, get in touch with your emotions by asking yourself why you feel the way you do. Try to zero in on the real issue rather than continuing to feel emotionally distressed.

Instead of overthinking your many disappointments — which makes it harder to live life to the fullest, accept what went wrong, remind yourself of your successes in the past, and find ways to do better next time.

Overthinking any mistake, disappointment, or personal failure — asking questions like, “How could I have said/done that?”, or “What’s wrong with me”, can damage your self-worth or motivation.

“The first step to correcting a monumental blunder is to be honest and critical with yourself and to acknowledge that it was indeed a mistake. This is much easier said than done, but unless we’re nakedly candid with ourselves about the mistake itself, there’s no way to move past it,” writes Tim Herrera in The New York Times.

If you know why you’re disappointed, you’ve got a head start on being able to make an action plan. When you take the time to learn from your disappointment, you’ll be more prepared for your next actions.

“In a study, executives and engineers who deliberately confronted feelings about job loss felt more control over their situation and had a much higher rate of re-employment in the following months,” says Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist.

But acknowledgement is only helpful if you can get past it. Your priority should be moving on quickly from it and making progress. The point is to remember you are more than your disappointments.

Practice self-compassion

In the past decade, self-compassion has emerged as an important quality for mental health and well-being. Respond to your inadequacies or disappointments with understanding, patience, and acceptance, rather than with harsh self-criticism.

Dr Julia Breines, who studies how social experience influence the way people treat themselves, explains, “The ability to forgive ourselves for mistakes, large and small, is critical to psychological well-being. Difficulties with self-forgiveness are linked with suicide attempts, eating disorders, and alcohol abuse, among other problems.”

Self-compassion can also help you bounce back stronger, make better choices, and live life to the fullest despite your shortcomings.

“People who have higher levels of self-compassion tend to handle stress better — they have less of a physical stress response when they are stuck in traffic, have an argument with their spouse, or don’t get that job offer — and they spend less time reactivating stressful events by dwelling on them,” writes Carrie Dennett in The Washington Post.

Pursue realistic and attainable goals

Disappointment is directly tied to the expectations we place on ourselves. If you are aiming for nothing less than perfect, you will be disappointed.

High expectations are great, but to reduce your disappointments, match your actions with your expectations. Making sure you’re prepared is an important way to protect yourself from future disappointment.

Do you give yourself enough time to reach your goals? Do you set clear and measurable boundaries? Asking the right questions and understanding how your plans can fail is crucial to plotting your next big endeavour.

Whatever you plan to do or achieve, dig deeper to expose any of the flaws in your plan. Help yourself win more.

Disappointments are difficult to deal with, but with the right personal support system, you can always bounce back and keep moving. With patience, you can get back on track to build the life you want.

Originally published on Medium.

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