Expert Insight: The Purpose of Disappointment

“Although disappointment feels awful, it can provide you with a wealth of valuable information about yourself and your world. Its purpose is to keep you moving toward what’s beneficial and away from what’s going to come back and bite you. It’s meant to teach you how to make realistic, well-informed choices by recognizing the delicate balance between what you have power over and what you don’t. Examining disappointment with an open mind will help you distinguish between being foolhardy, childish or demanding, and courageous, generous and willing to take appropriate risks. In short, it’s there to help you get the good things you deserve.”

Karen R. Koenig, “The Food & Feelings Workbook”

“Examining disappointment with an open mind” is the phrase that jumps out at me in this quote. We’re often so busy trying to escape disappointment we don’t stop to think that it might have something to teach us.

Let’s take dieting, for example. When you’ve tried many different diets, you experience disappointment after disappointment. Rather than exploring your disappointment, you immediately blame yourself and then turn to food to detach from the emotional pain of yet another failure.

However, if you were to examine your disappointment with an open mind you might stop and think “I’ve tried so many diets but they always end up with me putting on the weight I’ve lost. I’m constantly disappointed. This just isn’t working”.

You might then wonder about the failure rate of diets, start exploring the considerable quantity of research into why they don’t work and, oh I don’t know, maybe follow a blog about having a peaceful relationship with food 😊

You would then be able to see that expecting yourself to succeed at something that largely doesn’t work was always unrealistic.

Examining disappointment in recovery from your eating issues is vital. Disappointment can be a sign that your expectations are unrealistic here too. Have you assumed it would be easier than it is? Do you believe you should have cracked it by now? Do you think you can resolve your issues with food whilst bypassing your feelings and your relationship with yourself?

These are important questions to ask yourself – and the learning comes from getting in touch with your feelings of disappointment.

Rather than triggering hopelessness, disappointment can teach us so much if we allow it. We just need to understand its purpose and, as Karen Koenig says, learn to examine it with an open mind.

©️ Julie de Rohan 2019.

🌷 🌷 🌷


Koenig, Karen R. (2007), “The Food & Feelings Workbook: A Full Course Meal on Emotional Health”, Carlsbad: Gurze Books.

23 thoughts on “Expert Insight: The Purpose of Disappointment

  1. Hi Julie, great post! Disappointment can often cause us to bury our feelings and swallow up the emotions that we feel as a result. How hard it is to face it and take whatever learning we can get from it – but how necessary! Lxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Julie 😊hope the weekend was great!
    First I loved the feature image 👍
    As usually I have some thoughts to share on this important subject, the way I see it, it’s hard to link the word disappointment with open mind observation and wise review otherwise we won’t be disappointed, we will ask immediately “what went wrong” “where to improve” It’s rare to see disappointed person thinking clearly but of course it’s necessary and major as you mentioned instead of triggering hopelessness and despair and therefore make things worse…
    I believe we can learn from anything we go through no matter how hard it is, the new for me is observe the disappointment with open mind instead of not having disappointment at all…this was the point I wanted to make and hope you will be having a great start of week 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Huguette, I really like how you say “I believe we can learn from anything we go through no matter how hard it is” – I would have to agree with that. I think it’s OK to acknowledge our disappointment – and sometimes we will just feel disappointed about things – and then examine if our expectations were unrealistic and we set ourselves up for a fall. Great to hear your thoughts. I’ve had a good weekend, thanks, and hope you have too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing!!!… 🙂 unfortunately, there are times when we let the thoughts of others create doubt and that results in disappointment…

    “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” – Michel Angelo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am currently having to work through disappointments upon disappointments in the effort to try and get to the base of the problem. I have Candida yeast overgrowth problems, made worse by recently coming off tramadols which lined my stomach with an artifical stomach and stripped out my own natural flora. Due to candida not being taken seriously by the medical profession unless you have been diagnosed with aids or an aids related illness/disease, there is very little qualitable information available. I have an appointment with a functionality therapist in the coming weeks who should be able to assist me to get back on track.

    Sure we can all work through disappointments and look at it with keen eyes and psycho analzye it till the cows come home. It is made more difficult at times when disappointments are tied in with extreme pain, because trying to remain focused with a volacanic explosion of cramping and worse, or increased brain fog make those journeys harder. I can look at the negative as l do and learn from it, bit by bit, step by step, but sometimes until you start to achieve small wins, disappointments are hard pills to swallow productively.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your issues, Rory, that must be so difficult. This post, like all my others, are written in the context of dealing with overeating issues, rather than ongoing, distressing medical conditions. That said, I think sometimes when we feel disappointed or let down by the medical profession, it can lead us to investigating alternative modes of treatment that can be just as successful, if not more so. I hope that’s the case for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s true Julie, i was approaching this on the relationship with food side also. Our stomach’s relationship rather than our psychological aspect.

    I was just using my example of ongoing with regards to disappointments 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This reminded to look at my feelings of hurt and disappointment as process of learning many things.
    I’ll start by questioning to myself.
    Thank you Julie !

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.