Life Well Lived: Dealing with disappointment

Its time for another Life Well Lived Getting Happy panel!

This week’s question is: How do you deal with disappointment, and what lessons do you have to share from those experiences?

Any time I think of the phrase, “Life’s not fair,” I hear the voice of Scar from Disney’s The Lion King in my head. “Life’s not fair, is it? You see, I… well, I shall never be king. And you… shall never see the light of another day.”

I also, though, think of my first, really big lesson in disappointment I had to deal with in my life.

Ever since I was in Kindergarten, I wanted to be “a flag girl.” I spent years itching to be in high school where I would twirl the flags in the band. I joined band in the first place primarily because of my dream to be a flag girl.

Finally, the end of freshman year came and it was my chance to try out for the squad. Turns out, I was a natural at it! I could do the routine in my sleep. I spent hours practicing, perfecting. My whole world revolved around this!

Tryouts came and I crashed and burned… hard. I mean, not just a little, “Oops.” But a whole huge, “Can I do that again, because I really, really stunk.”

Needless to say, I did NOT make the squad. I was crushed. Absolutely crushed. There was no life outside of not making flags! I literally had spent hours lamenting to my Mom, “I don’t know what I’d do if I don’t make it!” And there I was, standing there with my head hung low, facing my fear of going another year not in the flag corp.

Y’know what? Life did not end that day. I cried my tears. I faced another year playing flute instead of twirling a flag. And I came in the next year with knowledge that life didn’t end if I didn’t make the squad. (And as a result, I not only made the squad, I was one of the highest ranked girls — and I tried out with a 101º fever!!)

Today, I deal with disappointment with a knowledge that the sun will rise tomorrow with  more opportunities ahead. I might shed a few tears. I might be quite grumpy to those closest to me. But I also know I’ll “get over it” and I’ll do so with another life lesson learned. I strive not to let the good get lost in the bad. Every disappointment. Every mistake. Every moment of sadness. It all has a silver lining of a lesson to be learned; a new strength to be found.

I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, and sometimes what is perceived as “no” is really just “not right now.” (Or in some cases, it means, “Stop and notice this other path you could be taking.”) Don’t let disappointment make you miss an opportunity down the line.

What are your thoughts? Join me here and over on the main post at BlogHer.com… and don’t forget to enter the current Life Well Lived Sweepstakes!

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