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It is a fact of life; there will be times when we need help, be it emotional, physical, or just having someone understand what might feel difficult or challenging.  These are moments in time which reveal who is there, and who is absent. Establishing who you can and cannot depend upon can be both uplifting and disappointing in equal measure.

I wonder how you deal with the disappointment of feeling let down by certain individuals who you thought would be there by your side?

  • Do you feel hard done by?
  • Does it reinforce a notion that people cannot be trusted?
  • Do you take it as an opportunity to reassess to your expectations of someone?

Past experiences of being let down can have a profound effect on us.  It can be deeply damaging to the persons self-esteem and self-worth.  It could stand as yet another example that people and the wider world cannot be trusted.

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It is a normal to feel angry, hurt, upset, and resentful when someone has let you down.  Yet I believe it is ultimately linked to your expectations.

Moving on from disappointment involves taking time to reflect on the situation.  It can provide a key opportunity to learn and re-evaluate.  What were your expectations of the other person and were they reasonable?  For example, let’s look at someone who is a people pleaser. They will put others before themselves and may assume others will do the same.  It is therefore disappointing when this is not reciprocated.

It might sound incredibly pessimistic but once I have worked through the disappointment of being let down by others, I have experienced a sense of peace in truly understanding where I stand. I have then adjusted my expectations, and this can be helpful. This is because knowing what to expect can bring certainty and reduce anxiety.

The important thing about expectations is how we manage them; focus on the things you can control and have strategies to deal with any disappointments.

Here 4 helpful things to remember when it comes to expectations:

  1. Don’t be naïve. It’s ok to expect the good in people but apply this principle with caution.  Allow people to show you who they are.
  2. Think about the expectations you have of yourself. Often having unrealistically high expectations can lead to feeling you have to be perfect and causes additional anxiety and stress if you believe you are falling short.
  3. Talk openly about what you expect from others and put some boundaries in placeg. “In my romantic relationships I expect fidelity and there will be consequences if this trust is broken.”
  4. Keep your eyes wide open. Treat others as you would treat yourself but do not have blind faith they will do the same.  Fritz Perls, a Gestalt Therapist famously wrote:

“I do my thing and you do your thing.  I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine.  You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.  If not, it can’t be helped”

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