Shared Dreams: Overcoming Disappointment / a picture of a couple looking ahead

Shared Dreams

Melissa Gosselin

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you’re all doing well. Today, I want to talk about the dreams we have for ourselves. Because we all have our own private ambitions . . . we all have shared dreams, with a partner, family or friends. But what happens when something doesn’t work out? How do we overcome disappointment? 

Well, I can only speak for myself, but when something doesn’t work out — after any real or perceived failure — I tend to feel tired . . . I tend to fall out of my routines. And rather than continuing to work on my projects, I look for ways to distract myself. 

So the feeling of disappointment hits me especially hard. And that might have something to do with the fact that when I’m on top of things I feel unstoppable — I feel totally in control of my life. Then, when I’m faced with an unexpected outcome, I am toppled over . . . my reality shatters. 

In a blog post about anticipation, I wrote about a mantra I use to help keep me on track:

It’s not about the outcome, but who I become in the process. 

It’s a mantra that reminds me that goals serve as a compass; they are only meant to guide my actions. When something happens outside my control, I simply need to redirect my energy, not give up altogether. 

It’s not the outcome that makes me who I am; it’s the everyday habits and rituals that open me up to new opportunities and people. It’s not about how things look to an outsider looking in; it’s about untangling the cognitive dissonance within myself . . . untangling anything holding me back from my full potential. 

What is cognitive dissonance

It’s the painful realization that a belief you hold doesn’t match your actions. 

Facing cognitive dissonance is about facing all my internal contradictions. It’s about asking myself tough questions: Did I do everything within my control? Am I an embodiment of my values? (For example, if I like to think of myself as organized but I’ve been starting my day a little late, that would be an example of cognitive dissonance.) 

So my conclusion is that it’s OK to want to build a better life for myself and the people I love — the energy that comes from striving is attractive. But at the end of the day, the goal isn’t all that matters. I know the real objective is to continuously improve what I do daily. I know that when things don’t work out, the only thing to do is learn from what happened and try again.

What about you? How do you deal with disappointment? Let me know in the comments below!

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