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Processing the Pain of Disappointment

Dear Fellow Travelers,

How many of us have had the experience of following a life disappointment with the comment “Never again”? We take a risk, things don’t work out the way we hoped or planned and in our determination to avoid pain and disappointment, hide ourselves behind a wall believing it will keep us safe from further anguish. This is especially true in our interpersonal relationships. How many times are we willing to be disappointed in love before we give up and wall ourselves off? We then sadly sit in the inner tower of our fortress alone and miserable convinced this is better than risking failure again. Out of commitment to keeping us safe and comfortable, our egos whisper in our ear “Never again, never again.” We are convinced another disappointment will do irreparable damage.

This week I found myself watching the movie Oz, the Great and Powerful, a modern take on the original Wizard of Oz movie. In this version there is a beautiful, naïve witch named Theodora who is completely enraptured with a man she believes to be the promised wizard. Following a broken heart she begs her sister to take away her pain and in the aftermath of the cure, becomes hard heartened and ugly. She chooses anger and rage as a shield against her pain. I was captured by this image and reflected back on my own life and the times I’ve become impatient, ineffective and uninspired following an emotional upset. What I see now is that it’s not the actual pain that creates a disruption, but the way the disappointment shifts my experience of myself. I don’t like myself when I’m in that space; it’s disempowering across all areas of my life. This is what I seek to avoid by not risking myself in relationships whether those be of friendship or love. I actually had thoughts following a recent upset like: “I was happier when I wasn’t considering a relationship.” “Why did I let this happen again?” “I have too much to do.” “I was in such a great place and now I feel down.” Sound familiar?

Now, before any of my readers make an incorrect assumption, let me say that, in my opinion, there is not a certain set of circumstances necessary to be happy. I believe the best way to have a fulfilling life is to learn how to be happy wherever we find ourselves. I truly believe we have the power to choose happiness; it’s not something we attain or discover. For me, the desire for an intimate relationship is as an enhancement to an already full and vibrant life.

So, what’s the solution when we find ourselves risking and failing at something we truly desire? Is it necessary to close our hearts in order to protect ourselves and give up on our dreams or is there another option? I know for myself that closing my heart whether I choose to try again or not, is damaging and life destroying. It robs me of not just joy, but also time as I allow myself to slide into a sluggish state of ineffectiveness. I may change my mind and take a different path, but in the meantime, I don’t want to live in that place of not liking myself while I wait for the sorrow to lift. What I have found to be a powerful tool in times like these came to me through author/businesswoman Cynthia Occelli. (cynthiaoccelli.com).

She suggests the following: (And she adds: if you are suffering extreme trauma or too fragile to face your feelings alone, be certain to connect with someone who can support you in the process such as a counselor, psychologist, spiritual adviser, clergy, etc.)

Emotional Pain Release Process:

  1. Acknowledge and accept the feelings.
  2. Be open to letting the pain flow through.
  3. Relax into this pain and choose to stay open.
  4. Allow yourself to see that you are not what you feel.
  5. Forgive the person(s) or situation and yourself for not being what you wanted.
  6. Surrender yourself to the healing and purifying power of the Creator.
  7. Allow yourself to be wrapped in Divine Love and know you are safe.

I have found this process to be extremely effective in releasing the sorrow from situations that may have otherwise felt crushing. It’s a powerful alternative to the tower or shield of anger that the ego loves to suggest. It helps me to re-center, return to inner peace with an open heart and allows me to stay present for myself. I offer it to you with my heartfelt wish that you keep your heart open to possibility.

If you find you need assistance in the process, I’d be honored to help.

Blessings & Light,

Find a place inside where there's joy,
and the joy will burn out the pain.

Joseph Campbell

6 Comments to Processing the Pain of Disappointment:

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Jennifer on Monday, June 01, 2015 4:54 AM
This article touched me deeply. It helped me to understand the feelings I've been feeling lately. Beautiful and thank you.
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Sherry Coffman on Monday, June 01, 2015 9:37 AM
You're welcome, Jennifer. I'm happy this was helpful to you and honored by your comment.

Alice Ann Hengesbach on Monday, June 01, 2015 5:19 AM
Sherry, well thought out and stated. While I am in a lovely place of balance, I do have a dear friend who has just ended a marriage of some length. I will be sharing this piece with her. Based on my own experience, I find the Seven Steps to be healing, loving and simply kind. I appreciate you taking the time to share. Blessings.
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Sherry Coffman on Monday, June 01, 2015 9:38 AM
Thank you Alice, I hope it's as helpful to your friend as it has been to me. Blessings to you.

Dawn on Monday, June 01, 2015 7:10 AM
Love this post and your insight. The Joseph Campbell quote was such a powerful takeaway too. Thank you for your valuable words of wisdom.
Reply to comment
Sherry Coffman on Monday, June 01, 2015 9:46 AM
Thank you Dawn. Joseph Campbell has had a huge impact on my life. I'm pleased you felt the power of his words as I do.

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