The elections may be over, but many of us still have to reconcile this stressful and decidedly bizarre campaign season with the future we envisioned for ourselves and our loved ones. The social and psychological ramifications of this election cycle may hang over us for some time, whether or not our preferred candidate has been elected to lead the United States of America for the next four years. Regardless of who we are, all of us have had to confront the burden of profound disappointment at some point in our lives—and disappointment can take a long time to heal.
Disappointment is one of the hardest emotions to process, and for good reason. Disappointment represents where we’ve invested emotional energy and our sincerest hopes only to have a fundamental fear within us triggered in return. Whether deep down we fear solitude, change, or being vulnerable to harm; disappointment goes hand in hand with our expectation that we will be safe if a certain outcome is safeguarded. When that outcome we hope for doesn’t happen, the ensuing disappointment causes a vacuum of emptiness within us stemming from having a big chunk of our sense of self ripped away from us when a negative outcome that we secretly fear comes to pass.
So what can you do to prevent your disappointments from obstructing your overall wellbeing?
Practice this three-step process whenever you feel disappointment begin to well up within you. You’ll soon find yourself replenished and inspired to find more creative options than you were able to originally. When we can calm our stress responses in a moment of emotional or existential threat, the creative mechanisms in our brains kick in, allowing us to find a way forward to safety and success without the mental burden of being paralyzed by fear, anger or disappointment.
Unplug – To release the power the negative energy of disappointment has over you, you need to disconnect immediately from the source of frustration. Close your eyes and use your hands to “karate chop” the situation away and sever the connection between you and the thing you are disappointed about. Alternatively, you can use “scissors,” or dust your hands off like you’re “washing your hands clean” of the situation. This kinetic technique signals to your subconscious mind that you are ridding yourself of something you no longer deem beneficial to you. This immediately diminishes its influence over your emotional state.
Ground – Having severed your connection to what depletes you, you have to replace the vital energy you may have already lost with positive, grounding energy. Sit in a yogi’s squat for five full breaths and imagine drawing nurturing earth energy up from the ground beneath you. Alternatively, imagine drawing in light energy with every inhale and spreading it through your body on an exhale until you are filled with warm, soothing light.
Step Forward – Now that you’ve renewed your sense of safety, you need to envision a productive path onwards that brings you closer to your goals. This starts with a single step forward. You can take one step forward either literally (to represent you metaphorically moving on) or by deciding on a small “next step” you can take right now to continue walking towards your goal despite the hurdle you had to confront. That next step can be a phone call to a friend, brainstorming ideas in a notebook or booking an appointment with a career coach or a psychologist. By taking that first step right away, you signal to your mind that you are committed to your happiness and that you don’t need to dwell on disappointments to survive. By committing to moving on right away, you are instilling in yourself the habit of resilience and a strong personal will.
The more you practice engaging in healthy processing rituals, the better you will become at handling the challenges life throws your way. Expertly weathering challenges makes a big difference to personal and professional fulfillment. By investing in your inner resilience, you train yourself to succeed in life.
Download Akasha’s Metal Element for meditations geared towards your personal and professional success.