There was a misunderstanding. Over a word. I assumed it meant one thing; she assumed it meant another. It wasn’t until the work we were doing together was much further along that we discovered this misunderstanding. Before she “got” the real issue, she said to me “I’m disappointed in you”, because she thought I hadn’t heard her, or hadn’t followed through somehow.
When I find myself saying this to another person, it almost always ends up being me I’m disappointed with. I ran through an explanation that needed more time than I gave it for a clear understanding; or I allowed my ideas and desires to take me out of reality, only to be brought up short when reality actualized.
Then, instead of feeling the pain of what my actions or approach caused, I turn to the other, externalizing my self-disappointment. Disowning it.
It doesn’t really work: I don’t feel better – even temporarily. In fact I feel worse, because if it’s someone else’s issue, I can’t do anything about it. I feel powerless.
The best thing to do when you feel that sense of disappointment in someone else? Use it as a helpful beacon and turn it on yourself, discovering what you were assuming, or missed. So that next time, disappointment isn’t there.
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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .