Look in the Mirror to Manage Feelings of Disappointment and Anger
by 26Health Staff
Discussions surrounding feelings of disappointment and anger have been coming up in a lot of recent patient sessions, so I’m taking that as a sign that the universe is compelling me to write about how to manage the subject. It’s normal to feel angry or disappointed at times, and many feel disappointed or angered by other people. We fail to understand that those feelings are not on the other person as much as they are on ourselves.
Managing Expectations to Manage Emotions
Managing our expectations of others is paramount to our successful management of these troubling emotions. I once had a friend who would always cancel plans at the last minute. Finally, I voiced my displeasure about this behavior. She flippantly apologized, and that was when I realized that her behavior was never going to change. I then had to decide whether or not I wanted to keep her as a friend. After weighing all the factors, I determined that she was worth keeping as a friend. I decided that whenever I made plans with her in the future, I would include other people so that I wouldn’t miss out on anything if she canceled.
Part of successfully managing expectations is learning not to take others’ actions and behaviors personally. My friend has poor time management skills and is easily overwhelmed. She tries to take it all on and do everything herself. When it comes down to it, having drinks or going to a movie isn’t a priority for her. This isn’t about me, nor am I the only one with whom she acts this way. She does it with everyone. I have learned not to take her actions personally, and it has done wonders for my emotional responses.
Examine the Reasons Behind Your Anger
Something interesting that I’ve learned about anger is that when I am angry with someone and start to examine why, I realize that the person I’m really angry with is myself. Years ago, I had an acquaintance with whom I used to work. One night, long after we no longer worked together, she texted me: “Hey, do you want to go to the clubs tonight?”
I found this bizarre because I’d never been a “club” person, and we barely knew one another. My response was, “I’d love to, but I have to work tomorrow.” She then started trying to help me come up with excuses to get out of work the next day.
I found myself getting angry, and at some point, I asked myself: Why? Why was I so angry? She was lonely without many friends. She was just trying to connect with me and wanted to go out and have a good time. Why should I be mad about that?
The truth is, I was angry at myself because I wasn’t handling the situation well. What I should have said, from the very beginning, was simply: “No, thank you. That’s not my cup of tea. But I hope you have fun, and let’s get together this weekend for a drink.” That would have been a flat no, plain and simple. I wouldn’t have had to make up excuses or lie, and I would have provided her with an alternative to let her know it wasn’t because I didn’t like her. The problem would have been easily solved.
Pause and Take Stock Before Letting Emotions Get Away From You
When either of these emotions creep into your life, ask these questions:
1. If the person isn’t going to change the behavior, do you still want them in your life?
2. Is this person doing this to purposely anger or disappoint me?
3. At whom am I really angry?