Already 2020 has been a doozie. I had to walk away from a few relationships and opportunities, mainly as a means to secure my sanity and maintain my integrity. If I am even more transparent, I would have to admit that I was not just disappointed. In some instances, I was angry, I wanted exoneration, retribution, revenge and to feel like my voice was heard and my hurt was felt.

While I know that my feelings were and are legitimate, I also realize that feelings can be consuming, paralyzing and deceiving. I am clear that often our feelings are in contradiction with our faith, and I know that seeking revenge only disrupts God’s ability to defend us and have our backs. Sadly all of this logic and clarity did not change the head space that these disappointments had me in.

Then in the middle of a magenta moment, I came across a quote by Henry David Thoreau, a 19th-century poet, and philosopher which said: “If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”

Be quiet and ready enough (sigh) sometimes adulting can be such emotional labor.

The truth is that everyday stuff happens to all of us, and truthfully it usually happens for a purpose. I know that like nothing more than a cliche but it is completely true truth and it is up to us to find the value in the process and use it to learn, to grow and to evolve. We are often looking for some magic potion or secret sauce to navigating the hard moments in life. Whelp, I tend to agree with Henry… the secret sauce is pretty simple, SHUT UP AND PREPARE.

Yup, I said it SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop talking, stop clarifying, stop rehashing, stop restating, stop defending, stop rehearsing and for Gawd sake (because momma wouldn’t want me to use His name in vain) stop calling folks trying to get them to validate your rightness in the situation.

Shutting up is essential for a few reasons, namely:

1. By continuing to discuss the situation you are keeping it alive far longer than necessary. Every time you recall the events, and every time you relay the story to a new person, you are resuscitating something that needs to be allowed to die.

2. At some point, you will become angry and bitter, possibly even to the point of being consumed by negative feelings emotions, etc. Seriously? With all the things you have going on in your life do you have the extra emotional bandwidth needed to foster grudges and negativity? Mostly likely the answer to that question is… NO!

3. Eventually (especially if there was no initial wrongdoing on your part) you are going to compromise your integrity trying to explain, justify or sway the opinions of others to agree with you or validate your rightness. Consider how many times confidentiality has been broken or someone’s character defamed in an attempt to defend or rationalize behaviors. No matter how right you were in the initial situation, the moment you drop dimes, blow up spots, or spill tea you become just as, if not more, guilty than the person who caused your offense.

… I could go on, but since I am stepping on my own toes, I am going to stop right here… you get my point. SHUT UP!

And after you SHUT UP externally SHUT UP internally too. Clear your mind, stop dwelling on it, stop thinking about what you should have said and done. You have no time for this because you need to PREPARE. PREPARE for what you ask…the answer is simple…Whatever comes next!

If you were disappointed by a relationship, PREPARE for the next one. Focus on getting rid of all the emotional baggage and dealing with the trauma that you suffered in, or because of the relationship.

If you were disappointed by a job or work opportunity, PREPARE for the next one. Assess what went wrong and FIX IT. Take the class, learn a new skill, make the right connects, etc., so you don’t have the same outcome the next time around; because there will be a next time!

If you were disappointed by a business deal, PREPARE for the next one. Review your business practices and address the areas necessary to ensure you dot the I’s, cross the T’s and close the loop holes.

PREPARE, so you don’t get stuck in disappointment, so you don’t let disappointment change your character, compromise your integrity and most importantly, define who you become. As Henry said, expect to be compensated, reimbursed, rewarded and for your value to increase because of what you have learned through the disappointment.

Now…(insert deep sigh)… I wish I could say I had all this together. I wish I could claim to have mastered SHUT UP, and I wish I could profess to be fully PREPARED for whatever comes next, but making those claims would make me a liar.

What I can honestly say is that every day I am working on it and for now working on it feels like a great accomplishment.