What Happens if you Disappoint Others?
Written by Jessica A. Jaramillo, MS, LPC. Interim Crisis Coordinator and Clinical Supervisor at the Counseling CenterOct 17, 2022
Throughout our lifetime of experiences and relationships with family, peers, and partners, a lot of us may have heard, “You disappointed me” or “you’re a disappointment”. For some, hearing this at an early age can create an internal belief that we ARE a disappointment, which then causes us to behave and act in a certain way in effort to please others. Does this sound familiar? I'm sure many of us exhibit these behaviors and beliefs. Of course, we all want to be seen, accepted, and heard. Some of us can carry this so far as to disappoint ourselves for the sake of not disappointing others. The end result of this though? We can feel used, angry, frustrated, resentful, and confused about the relationships we have in our lives.
There is an incredible power that we can harness when we decide to be intentional about a mental shift in focusing on showing up for ourselves authentically and not wanting to disappoint ourselves. This can create a positive shift not only for yourself, but how you approach relationships. Some of these shifts can look like starting to create boundaries, whether physical or emotional, with people in effort to keep that internal peace. Now, I’m not saying screw everyone—let’s be clear on that!
What I’m suggesting is practice shifting your focus on wanting to do things for you, for the sake of you, and not for the sake of others. When we find ourselves reaching for milestones and achievements for the sake of others, that motivation eventually burns out. Being in college can be overwhelming in wanting to meet expectations of family, friends, society, and cultural influences.
What would it be like if, before any of those expectations you tried to meet, you met your own first? I wonder what that would look like for us all.
1. When you find yourself drifting in these thoughts, see if you can challenge them by telling yourself, “I’m not a disappointment. My needs matter."
2. Spend 5-10 minutes daily practicing self-care: journaling, listening to music that gets you in a good mood, meditating, deep breathing, going for walks, telling yourself affirmations (I am worthy, I am good enough, etc.)
3. Communicate how you're feeling like a disappointment to that person. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a person better understand how you’re receiving their words and can lead to a conversation.