Life is full of disappointments.
People will let you down.
Some of that is because of the expectations we place on others or situations.
When you want something and don’t get that thing you feel disappointment. Dealing with the emotion of disappointment is difficult. But not doing the hard work of handling disappointment well impacts your future.
Way too many people sabotage their future by reacting poorly to their present circumstances.
I know I have.
If you apply for a job and don’t get it do not allow your disappointment to support the companies decision not to hire you. You never know when a future job will open.
If you are in business with someone do not allow your disappointment to sabotage your future. People remember their experiences. If you react poorly it will affect future business.
This doesn’t mean we let people walk over us.
You cannot control other people, but you must control yourself.
When we allow our emotions to control us it impacts future experiences.
Here’s a real life example.
When I was in college my head was filled with all sorts of crazy expectations for marriage that came from living in the Christian bubble. I went to a Christian school. Grew up going to church. Read I Kissed Dating Goodbye and re-read just to make sure it took.
I started dating Monica and I took it very seriously. I didn’t want to date just to date. I wanted to date for a mate. The biggest problem was I had it in my mind that after one date God was going to beam an angelic light down on Monica and I would hear His voice (Sounds just like Morgan Freeman) say, “This is my beloved with whom I am selecting for your bride. Take her as your wife. Be fruitful and multiply. Thus sayeth the Lord.”
Or something like that.
When that didn’t happen after one whole week I closed the door. I called things off.
Monica was confused. She thought she had done something wrong. It truly wasn’t her. It truly was me.
I disappointed her. She cried a lot that weekend. She even threw up. I didn’t know any of that. When she saw me on Sunday she didn’t allow her disappointment to cause her to resent me.
We remained friends.
Not once did she hold it against me or act bitter towards me.
Months later I saw a flyer at her college that said Magic Johnson was coming to UVA. Magic is my all time favorite player. I quickly went back to my college and invited all my friends. My friends who love basketball. My friends who spend hours talking with me about the NBA of the 80’s.
Not one of my friends wanted to make the time to drive with me a couple of hours to see Magic.
I was telling Monica this and she quickly offered to go with me.
We had a blast.
It meant a lot to me that she supported something that I cared about simply because I cared about it.
But she was friend zoned in my mind, so it didn’t spark any romantic emotions.
A few months later I had taken a group of students to summer camp. After one of the morning sessions I was feeling a bit single and prayed, “God, I’m not trying to put you in a box, but if you could just let me know who I am going to marry before I take students to camp next year, I would greatly appreciate it. Amen.”
As soon as I said “Amen” Monica’s name came to my mind.
I said, “No way.” In my mind that was a shut book. We went down the road for an entire week. What a silly response.
Over the next few months I continued to feel led to pray about pursuing a relationship with Monica.
In September we started dating again.
This time I had my stuff together.
On December 31st (New Year’s Eve), 2000 we were engaged. The rest is now our history.
The point of that story is if Monica had reacted to her present circumstances of disappointment in a way that was dramatic it would have pushed me away for the future. The future was enabled because of how she handled her present disappointment.
And she had every right to react poorly. I was immature and in the middle of the Christian bubble. From my perspective I praise God that Monica didn’t allow my stupid ideas to impact her opinion of me.
Monica is a Godsend. That I almost messed up. Thankfully my mistake didn’t lead her to react in a hurtful way. I wonder how many other future decisions were impacted by poorly reacting to current circumstances?