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How do you deal with a life of disappointment?

You don’t trust many people. You refuse to let people get close to you. You protect your feelings at all cost, because you know it’s just a matter of time before you’re disappointed… AGAIN!

Sound familiar? No? Then let’s just say that we have a “friend” that fits this description. You notice that your “friend” doesn’t invest much energy in their relationships. With family, your friend is happy when they call, but just fine when they don’t. In relationships, they never seem to be happy or trust the person that seems to absolutely adore them. They want to love and be loved, but have erected stone walls around their heart reinforced by steel, electric fencing and even kryptonite – Yes, even Superman can’t get through to your heart… I mean your friend’s heart.

How did we get here and how do we get past this?

As children, we are born with absolute unconditional love and forgiveness. Unfortunately, we learn our first lessons about disappointment from our parents when they don’t keep the promises they make to us. This seems to be magnified when the parents are no longer together. Dad promises to spend time with us or come to our game/recital and he doesn’t show or gets there embarrassingly late. Over the years, we realize the promises will never be kept, but for some reason we always think that “this time” it will be different… and it’s not.

Then we get older and seem to date and marry the man or woman with commitment issues. Their empty promises to be faithful and trustworthy open the deep wounds from our childhood. So to protect ourselves, we build up our defenses to ensure that we’ll never be hurt again.

Then we meet our soul mate. But we’re afraid to open up to them because so many people that we love and trust have disappointed us time after time. So ultimately, our soul mate pays the price for the people that hurt us and somehow we justify this because we expect them to eventually hurt us anyway.

Sounds crazy huh? Unfortunately, this is reality for many people that I encounter and frankly has been for generations. So how do you break the cycle? How can you find and give unconditional love? It begins with unconditional forgiveness.

First you have to forgive the person/people that hurt you. I realize this is easier said than done. You have to realize that you are carrying pain which keeps you attached to them and frankly they haven’t lost a moment of sleep thinking about you or the pain they have caused… so get over it and move on. Find you and your happiness again!

Then you have to forgive yourself. As a child, you were never responsible for any broken promises by a parent. It’s not your fault that you did not have a picture-perfect childhood. Release the little-kid pain that may be hanging around in your heart. As an adult, forgive yourself for previous or even current relationships that were hurtful. Ego and pride make it difficult to accept that you played a part in unhealthy relationships. But face it, when you know better you do better. So, shed the guilt and just do better.

Lastly, you have to be open to the possibilities that life has in store for you. Fear keeps us from being vulnerable in relationships and presenting ourselves as who we truly are. So how can we expect someone to love us unconditionally if they don’t know who we really are? We are setting ourselves up for failure in relationship and ensuring that we will live a life filled with disappointment.

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