Psychologist David Brandt offers a 10-point strategy guide to overcome a life of disappointments:
*Know your abilities and limitations. Don't set expectations beyond reach. Example: If you've never run a race before, it would be foolhardy to expect to win the first time out. How do you know what is realistic? Ask yourself: Has it ever been accomplished before? Under what conditions? Have you done it? Do you control the factors that determine whether the expectation can be met?
*Eliminate absolute and exacting expectations. Remember that few single hoped-for outcomes are matters of life and death. Example: Does your hoped-for intimate partner have to be as handsome as Tom Selleck or as beautiful as Bo Derek or will a reasonably attractive person fit the bill?
*Maintain a flexible attitude. Be ready to revise some expectations. Example: The theater announces the celebrity lead is ill and the understudy will play the role. If you purchased those tickets on the merits of the performer and hold onto your original expectations, you are going to have a miserable time.
*Focus on today rather than fantasizing about the future. Example: You sign up now for a July bus tour through Europe. For months, you daydream about the people, the sights, shopping, etc. July comes and you have already lived every minute of the trip in your mind. When the actual experience doesn't match your fantasy agenda, it is impossible to appreciate what it does offer.
*Recognize that every wish is not possible or guaranteed.
*Be willing to accept some disappointment.
*View each disappointment as a singular event without attaching past or future implications. Example: You ask a friend to the club dance and are turned down. You take it as a personal rejection. In fact, your friend had prior plans.
*Don't say "I'm not disappointed" when you are. When you have a disappointment, allow yourself to feel the emotions associated with it -- the hurt, anger, sadness. Then, move beyond your feelings to gain perspective on the loss.
*Use past disappointment as a teacher. Every letdown is a lesson, giving you the opportunity to design a new plan of action to meet the original expectations. Example: You've been passed over for a promotion you were qualified for. You resolve to create a higher profile, say "yes" to overtime, and develop a better working relationship with your colleagues and the boss.