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Why Disappointment Can Be Good for You

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As a product of a dysfunctional family, I find fulfillment in sharing my personal heartache to help others going through difficult times.

While I was growing up and well into my 20's, I despised that I didn't easily waltz into opportunity and happiness the way other people I knew seemed to. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was very fortunate to have a fair amount of disappointment early in my life, teenage years, and young adulthood. I didn't know then that, not only would that prepare me to be confident that I could handle whatever came my way throughout the rest of my life, but it truly did allow me to appreciate the triumphs when they finally happened in a way I wouldn't have been able to otherwise.

This may not be true for everybody, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it was beneficial for me. Although my life is not perfect now (no life is), I could not imagine it being better. I know that good can come out of tragedy and traumatic situations, but I am not talking about that. Luckily in my life (at least up until now), I have been fortunate enough to have not had anything incredibly horrible happen. That is not what I'm talking about in this article though. I am talking about the smaller disappointments in life, you know, the things that don't go the way we want them to or aren't quiet the way we would like them to be.

Disappointment is defined as sadness or displeasure caused by the non fulfillment of one's hopes or expectations. So it's not necessarily bigger struggles in life but those pesky let down's in life generally caused by how we think something needs to be in order for us to be happy.

I will categorize and explain a few examples in which we may experience disappointment in our lifetime. I will use examples from my own experience and explain what it was and how it helped me. Perhaps you can relate to my specific examples or discover a few of your own that have helped you in a similar way.



I didn’t grow up in the warmest, fuzziest of households. My mom was an alcoholic, most of the time, unable to provide me with a strong figure to respect and be comforted by. I was well aware of this growing up and I often envied my friend’s moms, as they were the picture of what I thought I wanted in a maternal figure. On top of that, my parents were also not very kind to each other. Most of the years I spent under my parents roof, we lived on the second floor of triplex and the surroundings were the outer skirts of Boston. It wasn't a picket fence upbringing that a lot of adults I know now are yearning to go back to. I look forward as I like where I am now so much better. I used to think I wanted to like childhood better, but for me, I am glad that I like my adult life more, as I see the pain it brings my friends when they think of their picture-perfect upbringings.

Although I know this is not always the case, but the "not so great" marriage example I had with my parents was actually a great learning example for me. I truly made lemonade from lemons with this one as my husband and I have a much different relationship than my parents did. We treat each other kind, not just in front of others, but all the time.

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Generally in my adult life, i would consider myself well liked. However, growing up, I wasn’t always what you would call "popular" or "sought after". There were times I got made fun of, ditched or treated unfairly. As an adult, I am so grateful for having to learn to be by myself. It's because of those times when I didn’t seem to have friends, I learned how to enjoy my own company. Even today, my "me time" is some of my favorite time and I don't get lonely very often. I know a lot of people who can't be alone with themselves and their thoughts and I couldn’t imagine myself not being able to spend time by myself.


I was what I would call 'semi-spoiled" growing up. I had so many toys and everything I could need. I also had my fair share of times when my parents dragged out of a store throwing a temper tantrum because they wouldn't buy me a toy I was nagging for. When I tell my husband those stories, he jokingly says he is glad I outgrew that. On a few occasions, I would beg my dad to buy me one of those fancy Power Wheels that every kid seemed to have. He would ask me if I would rather have that or go to Disney World later in the year. Of course I chose Disney World but I don’t think the choice was really mine. However, it did teach me compromise, how not to be frivolous, and to think about what I really wanted. I also appreciated things more than some kids who just got everything.


I decided that I wanted to be a singer at age 10. At 13,I entered my first singing competition. I didn’t win. In fact, it would be a good two to three years before I would win. Again, this was one of the best things for me but I didn’t know it at the time because I was disappointed. If I had won right out of the gate, I may never felt like I had to try harder and improve to get better. Eventually I started winning, but luckily it was after I was old enough to know that you have to work to get results. I learned during that time that success isn’t going to be handed to you and if it is, you may not be ready for it unless you put the work into it. I learned there were a lot of people that will always be better than me and that’s okay because they might not be willing to work as hard as me. That knowledge was a blessing in disguise because it would keep me at my best and made for a strong work ethic. This helped me later in life when I wanted to find a job in performing. Again, just as I did not win my first singing competition or my second (or my third), I didn’t get the first, second, or third job I auditioned for. I knew I had to try harder and that it would just be a matter of time. It took a while, longer than I would have wanted, but then I started to get work. Talent-wise, I always felt like I had to try harder and I had to do more than a lot of people to make up where I lacked. I had to watch a dear friend of mine struggle because she hadn’t never not gotten a job that she wanted. She seemingly went from job to job as she wanted to. When got to where she was struggling to find work, she had a really hard time with it. She hadn't experienced it until she was 30 years old and I was a seasoned professional in that department. Not only was I able to help comfort and reassure through my experience but I was so grateful that I have been through it.

Share your thought!

What kinds of disappointments have you had and how have they made you better? Comment below with your stories!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Jess B (author) from United States on April 21, 2019:

You are absolutely right and very well said. Thank you so much for reading!

RTalloni on April 20, 2019:

A great perspective on life you have shared here. Reality verses fantasy could be one way to boil your theme down. Thank you for addressing this important topic. In today's world people think that life is supposed to be free from stress, struggle, and even effort. Thinking that life should be "free" is incredibly detrimental to personal progress leading only to bondage to someone or something else. What we gain from struggle is true freedom, exemplified in our very births. Born into a dysfunctional world we need to be taught and to embrace a right perspective re issues we face.

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