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Five Ways To Deal With Disappointment

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By Raghad Ebied

We​ ​are​ ​all​ ​inevitably​ ​going​ ​to​ ​face​ ​moments​ ​of​ ​disappointment​ ​in​ ​our​ ​life​: disappointments​ ​from​ ​work,​ ​family,​ ​friends,​ ​society,​ ​and​ ​even​ ​ourselves.​ ​That’s​ ​the​ ​very nature​ ​of​ ​the​ ​world​ ​we​ ​live​ ​in​; ​it’s​ ​not​ ​ideal,​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​perfect,​ ​and​ ​shortcomings​ ​are bound​ ​to​ ​happen​ ​from​ ​others​ ​and​ ​from​ ​ourselves. The​ ​questions then arise: How​ ​do​ ​we​ ​deal​ ​with​ ​these​ ​disappointments?​ ​How​ ​do​ ​we​ ​reconcile​ ​our need​ ​to​ ​have​ ​fulfilling​ ​jobs​ ​and​ ​relationships​ ​as well as ​fulfill​ ​our​ ​own​ ​promises​ ​to​ ​ourselves, when​ ​we​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​others​ ​are​ ​humans​ ​who​ ​can​ ​be​ ​weak​ ​and​ ​forgetful? How​ ​do​ ​we​ ​forgive​ ​when​ ​we’re​ ​hurt?​ ​How​ ​do​ ​we​ ​“forget”​ ​when​ ​we​ ​need​ ​to​ ​move​ ​on? How​ ​do​ ​we​ ​overcome​ ​intense​ ​feelings​ ​of​ ​disappointment​ ​and​ ​sometimes​ ​disbelief​ ​about what​ ​happens​ ​around​ ​us?

Nobody​ ​said​ ​it​ ​was​ ​going​ ​to​ ​be​ ​easy​. In​ ​fact​ ​we​ ​are​ ​told​:

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​“Verily​ ​We​ ​have​ ​created​ ​the human​ ​being​ ​into​ ​toil​ ​and​ ​struggle” [Surah Al-Balad;4]

We​ ​hope,​ ​we​ ​dream,​ ​we​ ​strive,​ ​we​ ​build​ ​and​ ​yes​ ​indeed​ ​we​ ​can​ ​fail,​ ​fall,​ ​and​ ​feel​ ​hurt, betrayal,​ ​and​ ​just​ ​simply​ ​experience a​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​empathy​ ​and​ ​compassion​ ​from​ ​others.​ ​However,​ ​we can​ ​get​ ​back​ ​up,​ ​try​ ​again,​ ​hope​ ​again,​ ​dream​ ​again,​ ​strive​ ​again​ ​and​ ​build​ ​again.​ ​We​ ​can succeed​ ​again.​ ​We​ ​can​ ​be​ ​happy​ ​and​ ​fulfilled​ ​again, if we just follow these five steps:

1)​ ​Go Back To Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

​Seek​ ​comfort​ ​in the knowledge​ ​​that​ ​Your​ ​Creator knows​ ​exactly​ ​what​ ​happened,​ ​how​ ​you​ ​feel,​ ​how​ ​it​ ​impacted​ ​you​ ​and​ ​indeed​ ​has​ ​the power​ ​to​ ​heal​ ​what​ ​is​ ​hurt,​ ​mend​ ​what​ ​is​ ​broken,​ ​and​ ​grant​​ ​acceptance​ ​and serenity. Here​ ​are​ ​some​ ​points​ ​to​ ​think​ ​about:

Understand​ ​​the​ ​attributes​ ​of​ ​Allah​ ​subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)​ ​: ​Comprehending Allah’s names like Ar-Rahman​ ​(The​ ​All-Merciful), Ar-Raheem​ ​(The​ ​All-Compassionate),​ ​Al-Malik​ ​(The​ ​King),​ ​Al-Wadood​ ​(The​ ​Loving), Al-Hakeem​ ​(The​ ​All-Wise),​ ​Al-Aleem​ ​(The​ ​All-Knowing),​ ​Al-Kareem​ ​(The​ ​All​ ​Generous), and​ ​the​ ​many​ ​other​ ​descriptions​ ​of​ ​Allah​ ​subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)​ will ​provide​ ​a​ ​source​ ​of​ ​comfort​ ​and strength​ ​that​ ​​The​ ​Creator​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Heavens​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Earths​ ​is there to take​ ​care​ ​of​ ​our every​ ​single​ ​need.

“Seek help through patience and prayer,” as we are ​told​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Quran:​

“And​ ​seek​ ​help​ ​through​ ​patience​ ​and​ ​prayer,​ ​and​ ​indeed, it​ ​is​ ​difficult​ ​except​ ​for​ ​the​ ​humbly​ ​submissive​ ​(to​ ​Allah)”​ ​[Surah Al-Baqarah;4]

Make dua’a: When​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​dua’a,​ ​we​ ​are​ ​told​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Quran:​ ​

“If​ ​my​ ​servants​ ​ask​ ​you​ ​about​ ​me, then​ ​tell​ ​them​ ​I​ ​am​ ​near,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​answer​ ​the​ ​call​ ​of​ ​the​ ​one​ ​who​ ​calls​ ​on​ ​to​ ​me”​ ​[Al-Baqarah;186]

​We​ ​all​ ​need​ ​something​ ​in​ ​life​ ​and​ ​strive​ ​to​ ​achieve​ ​some​ ​goals​ ​– we​ ​all​ ​need​ ​faith​ ​and​ ​guidance,. We​ ​all​ ​want​ ​love,​ ​​shelter,​ ​sustenance,​ ​and​ ​caring,​ ​supportive​ ​family​ ​and​ ​community.​ ​We​ ​all​ ​want​ ​to​ ​be healthy​ ​and​ ​happy,​ ​and to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​great​ ​vision​ ​that​ ​we​ ​strive​ ​to​ ​actualize,​ ​among many​ ​other​ ​wishes​ ​and​ ​aspirations.

When​ ​we​ ​are​ ​met​ ​with​ ​disappointment​ ​over​ ​lost​ ​hopes​ ​and​ ​goals,​ ​we​ ​need​ ​to​ ​keep searching​ ​deep​ ​inside​ ​our​ ​hearts​ ​for​ ​our​ ​innermost​ ​desires​ ​and​ ​call​ ​unto​ ​Allah​ ​subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), knowing​ ​that​ ​no​ ​dua’a​ ​is​ ​too​ ​great​ ​for​ ​Him,​ ​and​ ​that​ ​the​ ​power​ ​of​ ​dua’a ​is​ ​truly beyond​ ​our​ ​imagination.

2)​ ​Adjust Your Expectations​

We​ ​are​ ​told​ ​about​ ​the​ ​inherent imperfections​ ​of​ ​the​ ​world​ ​we​ ​live​ ​in​ ​over​ ​and​ ​over​ ​again​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Quran​ ​and​ ​we​ ​are​ ​a witness​ ​to​ ​it​ ​yet over​ ​and​ ​over​ ​again ​every​ ​time​ ​we​ ​experience​ ​some​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​disappointment.

أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلِكُم ۖ مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ مَتَىٰ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ 

“Or​ ​do​ ​you​ ​think​ ​that​ ​you​ ​will​ ​enter​ ​Paradise​ ​while​ ​such​ ​(trial) ​has​ ​not​ ​yet​ ​come​ ​to​ ​you as​ ​came​ ​to​ ​those​ ​who​ ​passed​ ​on​ ​before​ ​you?​ ​They​ ​were​ ​touched​ ​by​ ​poverty​ ​and​ ​hardship and​ ​were​ ​shaken​ ​until​ ​(even​ ​their)​ ​messenger​ ​and​ ​those​ ​who​ ​believed​ ​with​ ​him​ ​said “When​ ​is​ ​the​ ​help​ ​of​ ​Allah?”​ ​Unquestionably,​ ​the​ ​help​ ​of​ ​Allah​ ​is​ ​near.” [Al-Baqarah;214]

 

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ 

“And​ ​certainly,​ ​We​ ​shall​ ​test​ ​you​ ​with​ ​something​ ​of​ ​fear,​ ​hunger,​ ​loss​ ​of​ ​wealth,​ ​lives and​ ​fruits,​ ​but​ ​give​ ​glad​ ​tidings​ ​to​ ​As-Sabirin​ ​(the​ ​patient​ ​ones)​ ​…”​ ​[Al-Baqarah;155]

So​ ​you​ ​can​ ​learn​ ​how​ ​to​ ​work​ ​through​ ​disappointment​ ​by​ ​expecting​ ​that​ ​you​ ​are​ ​bound to​ ​encounter​ ​situations​ ​that​ ​challenge​ ​you​ ​and​ ​could​ ​indeed​ ​cause​ ​worry,​ ​sadness,​ ​and pain.​ ​Know​ ​that​ ​as​ ​you​ ​experience​ ​more​ ​of​ ​these​ ​situations,​ ​you​ ​will​ ​grow​ ​stronger. Remember​ ​though​, that ​growing​ ​stronger​ ​does​ ​not​ ​mean​ ​that​ ​the​ ​heart​ ​grows​ ​harder​; rather ​it should​ ​mean​ ​that​ ​our​ ​hearts​ ​are​ ​actually​ ​softer​ ​and​ ​able​ ​to​ ​show​ ​more​ ​compassion​ ​for others.​ ​In​ ​fact,​ ​it​ ​can​ ​mean​ ​that​ ​the​ ​heart​ ​is​ ​so​ ​alive​ ​and​ ​so​ ​in​ ​touch​ ​with​ ​its​ ​feelings​ ​and those​ ​of​ ​others,​ ​that​ ​it​ ​can​ ​be​ ​such​ ​a​ ​source​ ​of​ ​strength​ ​in​ ​difficult​ ​times.​ ​Think​ ​of​ ​the difference​ ​you​ ​can​ ​make​ ​to​ ​others​ ​who​ ​have​ ​gone​ ​through​ ​difficult​ ​times​ ​when​ ​you​ ​can reach​ ​out​ ​and​ ​support​ ​them​ ​because​ ​you​ ​know​ ​exactly​ ​how​ ​they​ ​feel.Our​ ​belief​ ​in​ ​fate​ also ​gives​ ​us​ ​assurance​ ​that​ ​there​ ​is​ ​nothing​ ​that​ ​can​ ​happen​ ​to​ ​us without​ ​the​ ​will​ ​of​ ​Allah​ ​subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)​ ​as​ ​per​ ​the​ ​Prophet’s​ ​ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)​ ​hadith:

“O​ ​young​ ​man,​ ​I​ ​shall​ ​teach​ ​you​ ​some​ ​words​ ​[of​ ​advice]:​ ​Be​ ​mindful​ ​of​ ​Allah​ ​and​ ​Allah will​ ​protect​ ​you.​ ​Be​ ​mindful​ ​of​ ​Allah​ ​and​ ​you​ ​will​ ​find​ ​Him​ ​in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​you.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​ask, then​ ​ask​ ​Allah​ ​[alone];​ ​and​ ​if​ ​you​ ​seek​ ​help, then​ ​seek​ ​help​ ​from​ ​Allah​ ​[alone].​ ​And know​ ​that​ ​if​ ​the​ ​nation​ ​were​ ​to​ ​gather​ ​together​ ​to​ ​benefit​ ​you​ ​with​ ​anything,​ ​they​ ​would not​ ​benefit​ ​you​ ​except​ ​with​ ​what​ ​Allah​ ​had​ ​already​ ​prescribed​ ​for​ ​you.​ ​And​ ​if​ ​they​ ​were to​ ​gather​ ​together​ ​to​ ​harm​ ​you​ ​with​ ​anything,​ ​they​ ​would​ ​not​ ​harm​ ​you​ ​except​ ​with what​ ​Allah​ ​had​ ​already​ ​prescribed​ ​against​ ​you.​ ​The​ ​pens​ ​have​ ​been​ ​lifted​ ​and​ ​the​ ​pages have​ ​dried.”​ ​[At-​ ​Tirmidhi]

3)​ ​(Re)Focus On What Really Matters In Life

​If there is​ ​a​ ​moment,​ ​an​ ​encounter,​ ​or​ ​a​ ​situation​ ​that​ ​has​ ​happened​ ​and​ ​is​ ​upsetting​ ​you, yet​ ​it​ ​really​ ​has​ ​no​ ​greater​ ​impact​ ​on​ ​your​ ​priorities​ ​and​ ​values​ ​in​ ​life,​ ​try​ ​to​ ​not​ ​allow​ ​it to​ ​take​ ​up​ ​too​ ​much​ ​of​ ​your​ ​time​ ​and​ ​thought. Do​ ​what​ ​you​ ​can​ ​to​ ​deal​ ​with​ ​it​ ​in​ ​the​ ​way​ ​that​ ​is​ ​best​ ​aligned​ ​with​ ​the​ ​highest​ ​moral characters,​ ​and​ ​then​ ​move​ ​on.​ ​With​ ​time,​ ​this​ ​will​ ​get​ ​easier.​ ​At​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​day,​ ​one can’t​ ​‘fix’​ ​everything.​ ​One​ ​can’t​ ​be​ ​everyone’s​ ​best​ ​friend.​ ​And​ ​one​ ​can’t​ ​please​ ​everyone. Basically​ ​if​ ​what​ ​you’re​ ​doing​ ​is​ ​pleasing​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Creator,​ ​then​ ​worry​ ​less​ ​about​ ​the creation.

4)​ ​Build ‘Resilience’

This is the​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​overcome​ ​difficult circumstances​ ​and​ ​‘bounce​ ​back’​ ​stronger​ ​than​ ​before.​ ​For​ ​some,​ ​resilience​ ​is​ ​built​ ​as you​ ​encounter​ ​more​ ​experiences​ ​and​ ​grow​ ​older.​ ​Resilience​ ​allows​ ​you​ ​to​ ​actualize​ ​one of​ ​the​ ​greatest​ ​keys​ ​to​ ​success,​ ​according​ ​to​ ​personal​ ​development​ ​experts,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​to believe​ ​that​ ​we​ ​are​ ​not​ ​the​ ​results​ ​of​ ​our​ ​circumstances.​ ​It​ ​allows​ ​us​ ​to​ ​come​ ​back​ ​and try​ ​again,​ ​even​ ​after​ ​great​ ​disappointment​ ​because​ ​we​ ​did​ ​not​ ​want​ ​to​ ​allow circumstances​ ​to​ ​dictate​ ​who​ ​we​ ​are​ ​or​ ​the​ ​quality​ ​of​ ​our​ ​life. Poverty,​ ​illness,​ ​sadness,​ ​wars,​ ​natural​ ​disasters,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​safety,​ ​a​ ​lack​ ​of opportunity​ ​or​ ​social​ ​support​ ​and​ ​other​ ​unfortunate​ ​circumstances​ ​do​ ​not​ ​have​ ​to​ ​doom a​ ​person​ ​to​ ​misery.​ ​

To​ ​build​ ​more​ ​resilience,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​start​ ​each​ ​day​ ​with​ ​a​ ​strong affirmative​ ​statement​ ​such​ ​as​ ​“Insha’Allah​ ​I​ ​will​ ​overcome​ ​this disappointment/grief/hurt/​ ​etc.” Remember​ ​what​ ​you​ ​are​ ​grateful​ ​for​ ​everyday​ ​including​ ​the​ ​blessings​ ​and​ ​strengths Allah​subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) ​has​ ​bestowed​ ​upon you​,​ ​and​ ​express​ ​your​ ​thoughts​ ​in​ ​your​ ​dua’a ​to​ ​Allah​ ​subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and/or​ ​in​ ​a​ ​journal.​ ​Research​ ​has​ ​shown​ ​that​ ​people​ ​who​ ​keep​ ​gratitude​ ​journals​ ​are generally​ ​happier​ ​and​ ​healthier. It​ ​is​ ​of​ ​great​ ​help​ ​to​ ​create​ ​purpose​ ​and​ ​passion​ ​in​ ​your​ ​life​ ​that​ ​compels​ ​you​ ​to​ ​work through​ ​and​ ​overcome​ ​your​ ​trials​ ​and​ ​tribulations.​ ​And​ ​remember​ that ​our​ ​achievements​ ​in life​ ​are​ ​proportionate​ ​to​ ​our​ ​level​ ​of​ ​courage,​ ​which​ ​are​ ​in turn based​ ​on​ ​our​ ​beliefs​ ​about whether​ ​we​ ​can​ ​make​ ​our​ ​goals​ ​happen​ ​or​ ​not,​ ​and​ ​our​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​grow​ ​stronger​ ​through adversity​ ​by​ ​practicing​ ​resilience​ ​(yes,​ ​resilience​ ​is​ ​a​ ​skill​ ​that​ ​can​ ​be​ ​developed​ ​and practiced).​ ​So​ ​we​ ​must​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​we​ ​have​ ​immense​ ​courage​ ​inside​ ​of​ ​us,. We​ ​must believe​ ​that​ ​we​ ​can​ ​overcome​ ​adversity. We​ ​must​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​we​ ​can​ ​achieve​ ​success and​ ​contentment​ ​insha’Allah.

5)​ ​Learn How To Take Care Of Yourself

​ ​Many​ ​of​ ​us (​especially​ ​if​ ​you’re​ ​a woman​ ​and​ ​a​ ​caregiver/mother) ​are​ ​constantly​ ​giving​ ​to​ ​others​ ​around​ ​you. However,​ ​remember​ ​that you​ ​cannot​ ​give​ ​from​ ​an​ ​empty​ ​cup​ ​or​ ​have​ ​the​ ​strength​ ​to overcome​ ​disappointments​ ​and​ ​struggles if you don’t take good care of yourself.​ ​Take​ ​care​ ​of​ ​your​ ​body​ ​by​ ​sleeping​ ​well, eating​ ​a​ ​healthy​ ​diet​: one filled​ ​with​ ​protein,​ ​omega-3​ ​rich​ ​foods,​ ​anti-oxidants,​ ​plenty​ ​of water,​ ​and by eliminating​ ​toxins​ ​like​ ​artificial​ ​sweeteners,​ ​and​ ​of​ ​course​ ​exercise, (which​ ​has been​ ​shown​ ​to​ ​be​ ​just​ ​as​ ​effective​ ​as​ ​anti-depressants​ ​and​ ​subhan​Allah​ ​is​ ​a​ ​natural​ ​way to​ ​release​ ​endorphins​ ​[the​ ​“happy”​ ​hormones”]).​ ​

Learn​ ​how​ ​to​ ​say​ ​’no’​ ​when​ ​you​ ​need​ ​to. And​ ​explore​ ​what​ ​you​ ​need​ ​to​ ​re-charge​. Even​ ​if​ ​you​ ​are​ ​an​ ​extrovert​ ​that​ ​likes​ ​being around​ ​people,​ ​you​ ​will​ ​find​ ​that​ ​you​ ​do​ ​need​ ​time​ ​for​ ​yourself​ ​to​ ​relax.​ ​Whether​ ​it’s time​ ​to​ ​read,​ ​write,​ ​draw,​ ​exercise,​ ​pray,​ ​watch​ ​or​ ​listen​ ​to​ ​an​ ​inspirational​ ​video/audio, ​find​ ​what​ ​works​ ​for​ ​you​ ​and​ ​brings​ ​you​ ​comfort.​ ​If​ ​you’ve​ ​been​ ​through​ ​a​ ​very​ ​difficult time,​ ​don’t​ ​be​ ​afraid​ ​to​ ​seek​ ​help​; after​ ​Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He),​ ​ask​ ​a​ ​loved​ ​one​ ​or​ ​close​ ​and​ ​trusted friend,​ ​join​ ​an​ ​online​ ​support​ ​group,​ ​or​ ​don’t​ ​be​ ​hesitant​ ​to​ ​speak​ ​to​ ​a​ ​professional counselor.

Finally,​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​feelings​ ​of​ ​disappointment​ ​will​ ​pass​ ​and​ ​that​ ​experiencing​ ​your greatest​ ​weaknesses​ ​could​ ​have​ ​enabled​ ​you​ ​to​ ​develop​ ​your​ ​greatest​ ​strengths​ ​leading to​ ​your​ ​greatest​ ​triumphs​ ​insha’Allah.


This post was first published on the author’s website, and is cross-posted with permission.

Raghad Ebied is a transformational speaker, writer, researcher, and education and training consultant. She has over 10 years of experience in the fields of diversity, spirituality, leadership, well-being and overall personal development and positive transformation in schools, communities, nonprofit and government settings in Canada, the U.S., and the Middle East. She is also the founder and CEO of Ihsan Education (www.ihsanedu.com) and  MuslimaSuccess.com

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Md Nayeem

    December 23, 2017 at 10:53 AM

    This article is the prove that how much beautiful Islam is?? Muslims have no need any psychiatrist or counseling, Islamic code is the solution of every problems of human life. Thanks Brother, your writing was really appreciating….

  2. Dvjgf

    August 30, 2021 at 6:14 PM

    Great article, i should learn to lower my expectations of Allah, then i wont be disappointed.

  3. Rubina Hussain

    October 27, 2021 at 9:30 PM

    Thank you for posting this article . I am deeply touched by the content.

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