I’m in a wheelchair. Bam! Now you’re picturing a pathetic scene of an emaciated shadow of a person rolling around in a scooter. (Haha, hanks Hollywood for such an inaccurate picture of the disabled.Well, that’s not who I am. I’m a 6’1” fitness guru, fashion lover, an academic, a musician, an artist, a writer, and most of all, a child of God.
Despite everything that makes me who I am, and despite all of my various passions and successes, I’ve had a pretty rough 2 years. Right now I am fighting a serious illness that leaves me significantly disabled. Bam! Now you have some sad picture of someone in a hospital hooked up to machines. That’s not me either, I’m doing most of my recovering at home, as many people with serious illnesses do 🙂
Before all of this, before being stuck at home in a body that is less than cooperative, I had it made! I was a 20-year-old finishing my senior year of college. I was applying for Ph.D.. programs and getting excited for a teaching assistantship in my final semester. Before all of this, I was bodybuilding, in the gym 2 hours a day. Before all of this, I was a talented vocalist with an impressive list of achievements. I had so many opportunities at my fingertips and so many options for the next step in life!
Then, all the sudden, I ended up in the hospital again. All of my dreams, passions, and loves faded as I received a long awaited diagnosis. That’s a whole different story. For know all you need to know is that I had to drop out of school as my body started shutting down. Seizures, nerve pain, loss of muscle function, loss of the ability to think/remember, and sometimes, I couldn’t even speak.
Needless to say, I was super disappointed. Who wouldn’t be? My dreams dissolved before my eyes. However, I’m not as disappointed as I could be, and that’s because I used these methods to deal with my disappointment.
1. You Aren’t Entitled to Anything
In consideration of all the suffering in the world, of all the horrible stories you’ve heard of things that happen to people, what makes you void of pain?
That’s a harsh question, but it’s one that has helped me through the hardest moments of life. I find that people, especially people around my age, are of the opinion that their lives should go as planned. Why not? Many of us carefully plan our lives out step by step. But then, tragedy can strike, and we can be left disappointed and lost on what to do next. We shake our fists at our circumstances, and think “why me?” Really, the question we should be asking is “why not me?”
What wonderful things have you done in this life that entitles you to a trouble-free existence? What makes you so special for tragedy to avoid you?
If you really think about these questions, you’ll come to the conclusion that you are just another human on earth, making a lot of mistakes, and entitled to nothing. Even if you have “accomplished” things for humanity, what makes you think that those things are significant, or that they somehow rule out any adversity that might come your way?
The sad, and slightly dark, reality is that you are a human, just like the other 7 billion people in the world. There is literally nothing special about you to keep you from being just another statistic or news story or to make you think that you are above the potential for disappointment.
But, there is hope!
2. You Have to Believe in God
If there is not a plan, a greater good, something bigger than you, then what is the point of life? Who are you and why are you here?
Remember those 7 billion people I just mentioned? You are just like them. You were born the same way, have the same emotions, need the same basic things to live, and you will someday die. What’s the grand scheme of things? There has to be more!
There is so much more to life then we could ever imagine. Often, we get stuck looking inwards at our own disappointments, and stop looking at how our lives fit into the big picture.
In order to get through life, both the good and the bad times, you have to believe in something bigger than yourself. In order to live even a slightly fulfilling life, you must strive to benefit more than yourself. If you learn how to thin outside of yourself more, outside of your individual life, you will find that disappointments no longer hold much power over your life. The larger purpose, the thing outside of yourself, is God.
There is a bigger purpose behind our disappointments. Our plans are small compared to what God has for us. Our disappointments are just God pointing us in a different and better direction.
God is bigger than us, and He sees the whole picture. God is good and loving, and wants what is best for every single one of us. He uses disappointment to make us better and stronger people. God helps us through disappointment, readily providing tools to help us handle even the most tragic of events . We have to believe in an all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful, and all-loving God in order to live a fulfilling life, despite disappointment.
If there is not a God, life is permanent disappointment.
3. You Have to Believe You Can be Better
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger . . . or permanently cripples you.
A positive and ambitious attitude essential when dealing with disappointment. If you’re not a naturally optimistic person, find people who are and surround yourself with them. Encourage yourself to look on the bright side of various situations and train your mind to be thankful for the small things.
The last thing that you want to do is give up. The key is to keep trying, to keep building yourself, and to keep getting better. Don’t let disappointment crush you, let it motivate you to be a better person. In disappointment, you can learn how to relate to other people, learn more about your skills, learn more about the person you are, learn how to inspire other people, and learn how to . . . learn.
But you have to be careful . . . Without a strong foundation of humbleness (realizing you’re not entitled to anything) and a strong reliance on God, you can slip into relying on your own strength to get you through, which will only lead to more disappointment.
It’s all a balance, the biggest thing to remember being that God has an ultimate plan. We are all here for something, and we are all going somewhere. We have to chose to stay humble, to be attentive to God’s plan, and to learn from our disappointments.