I am very familiar with disappointments and I know better now how to handle it. I have been disappointed many times in my life and some of these experiences are hard to forget; they left indelible memories and life-time lessons. Let me share two of such experiences with you.
While at the university I was engaged to a fine young man, Ben (not real name) and hopeful to be married before graduation. I was not only excited about him I was elated about being his wife! The relationship blossomed and we made plans; talked about our married life together and big dreams of raising a family.
Just when I thought everything was going smoothly, one day Ben visited me in school and wanted us to talk. The expression on his face showed that something was not right but I could not discern. We met at the school cafeteria and none of us was interested in eating anything.
“Emi, I am sorry this cannot work…I really care about you and would love you to be my wife but…”
“What are you talking about?” I interrupted
“My parents…they do not think I should…they want me to marry a girl from my town and it has been a big issue. I just didn’t know how to tell you. Mum has asked me to stop seeing you.” He could not look at me.
“You agreed to that? But you said you loved me! You couldn’t fight for what you love? How do you think this makes me feel? Do you know you are breaking my heart?” My voice was loud and shaky but I did not care. He just sat there looking at me as if he did not understand what I was saying or the pain he was causing me.
We argued. While I tried making him see how the relationship was meant to be, he argued on how he couldn’t disobey his parents to get married to me. He left promising to remain friends with me and would always keep in touch.
You can only imagine the hurt and disappointment. That night I laid in bed replaying in my head the moments we spent together and remembering the promises and the beautiful dreams that would never see reality. The next day, I felt too sick to go to class, I had never felt that way for anyone the way I felt for Ben. For two days I stayed indoors doing NOTHING. Well, except wishing I could turn back the hands of time and delete the moment .
Ben called off the relationship.
When everyone had left for the day’s lecture I laid in bed thinking. I was no longer crying but I was obviously ‘mourning’. I kept replaying the memories and allowing his voice to resound in my head and hoping that he would just knock on the door and come back to me. The more I tossed on the bed missing and wanting Ben, the more I got sick.
“Get out of that bed! Go make your life meaningful! If he is gone, then let him go!”
“No I won’t. I loved him, I still love him and I want him back.”
“He says he doesn’t want you. He is not lying in bed and crying like you. You really can be better off without him if you will get out of that bed now and get on with your life!”
“Really? Can I really be better off without him? Can I really love someone else the way I loved Ben?”
The conversations were all in my head. I stood to take a look a myself in the mirror. I was lean and unkempt. Get out and make your life meaningful!
Then recently also, I started pursuing a book contract and with the person who introduced me to the firm I was very confident I was going to be chosen for the project. A lot of money was involved. Proposals written, submitted and approved; discussions and agreement reached and a date was set for the signing of final document. I looked forward to when the money would be transferred into my account and even went on an imaginary shopping in Dubai! A week letter, the company called to say they were withdrawing because their board decided that the project should be handled from their branch in South Africa. Disappointed is a small word to describe how I felt.
Dashed hopes! Crashed dreams! Miscarried expectations! Confusion and fear of starting again! These at some point plaque our lives but disappointments are common to life and how we handle it is what really matters. When plans do not go as you intended what do you do? When the project does not succeed at your first attempt what do you do? Do you like me lock up yourself in the room crying and wearing yourself out and recounting all your mistakes? Or do you beat yourself and regret you had never taken the step? Yes, I wished I had not gone into that relationship at all but then how do you know which would work if you don’t dare?
What did I do? I decided to leave past the hurts and disappointment. Almost every minute I told myself I can never be bound by the feelings of a failed relationship. Most of all, I realize there could even be a better person out there waiting for me and these hurts could deprive me of seeing this new person let alone seeing the possibility of a relationship with him.
Crying maybe good because it can help relief tension but never let it blind your vision of a better life and opportunity.