We walk amongst disappointment
Our own and others
Something about life isn’t quite enough
Something about me isn’t quite enough
“You disappoint me.”
It doesn’t matter if the voice is yours or someone else’s
Does it hurt though?
Sometimes in sudden pangs; sometimes feverishly unbearable
Something that we learn really young
“Sorry, you are not getting this”
Possibly the first real sadness a child experiences
And then we realize others feel this too
Our parents, teachers, siblings, and friends
When we make a mistake… when we mess up.
When we are imperfect
It didn’t matter that they didn’t say it
We could recognize it anywhere
It’s the first sadness we learn after all
We could smell it from a mile away
Is this disappointment yours?
Or the collectives’?
A sadness that was never soothed
A sadness that needed to be hidden.
“It’s ok,” I said
A twinge of disappointment shows.
No matter how hard I tried to hide.
I didn’t want to hurt you… Really.
I am sorry this pain proliferates.
Maybe it’s time to speak it…
and that it’s unspoken is why we hurt each other
despite the deepest love.
The unspoken is why disappointment
turns into silence,
turns into shame,
turns into anger… and bitterness
“I am sad this happened.
You look sad too…
I guess we are both disappointed.
And it’s ok!”
It’s ok to feel disappointment
A lesson no one can avoid
Owned by our own expectations
And many times not spoken to protect
There is no one to blame
Not disappointment with
Not disappointed in
Why make it about hurting
or not hurting each other
When it’s about being human
about learning, about growth
Speak it with gentle courage
The root of this pain
is the longing for acceptance and love
So don’t be afraid
We can be sad together
Embrace and grow
Let disappointment be
Let it show
But don’t point fingers
Tremble if you must
Speak with love
Even if disappointment is here
In any relationship, we share and we give. But inevitably we also expect. It’s human nature, we hope and want things to be a certain way. We learn that we don’t love perfectly. In turn, we are also ashamed of ourselves for this imperfection and unconsciously avoid the disappointment we feel by dismissal. There is a toxic silence surrounding disappointment. Between parent and child, romantic partners, teachers and students and the list goes on. Where one “Sigh…” silently and another goes “I have disappointed you again” silently.
We pretend like nothing is happening, smile, and life goes on; maybe a bit more numbly each time. This toxic silence is a collective turning away from negative emotions like shame, awkwardness, resentment, and bitterness. Which meant we are also turning away from authenticity, honesty, connection, forgiveness, mistakes, fears… the very juicy nature of being human. I have hope that more and more will see and learn this, that we could finally learn a different way of turning towards our relationships, to see disappointment, conflicts, or difficult emotions, as the gates for more connected and heartfelt relationships.
With a gentle courage, we can…