Jan 212014 11 Responses

A Map for Navigating Life’s Disappointments

Life will not go as you expect. It will be full of heartbreak and disappointments. Even the most charmed of lives will have moments of great sorrow. (See: How to Pray When Life’s Not Okay)

One of the most important life skills a person can have is being able to navigate disappointments without allowing them to destroy our lives. (See: What to do When Life Falls Apart)

Here is a simple, yet effective three-step guide which provides a M.A.P. for navigating life’s disappointments:

1. Mourn what was lost. Admit it. Name it. Weep over it.

We live in a day in which we no longer know how to mourn. Our society has hidden mourning from view and the result is that no one knows how to do it any more. Yet failing to mourn does not make the situation better. It buries the feelings which end up expressing themselves in other ways. (Don’t forget the importance of this ability when choosing a mate. See: The Most Overlooked Characteristic of Who You Want to Marry)

Rather than living in denial, we need to intentionally mourn every heartbreak of life. Some things can be mourned in minutes while others will not be overcome in a lifetime. Either way, we need to mourn.

Mourn the small things, even if your loss doesn’t compare to the loss of others. If we were only allowed to mourn if our loss was greater than others then only one person in the world would be able to mourn at a time.

Mourn the big things by breaking them into small things. Many people live in denial and don’t even know it because they are mourning in general and not in the specifics. The loss of a child is more than one loss. It’s the loss of a thousand things. By mourning each specific loss as it comes to mind, we are processing the depth of the tragedy. We should cry every tear which needs to be cried.

2. Appreciate what you have. Admit it. Name it. Rejoice over it.

I’ve noticed families who continue to express gratitude in the midst of difficult situations navigate life better. They don’t feel loss less, but they are aware of the positives which are around them. Those that only focus on the negative feel the same amount of loss, but experience none of the positives which are around them. This multiplies the negative.

If we aren’t intentional, one disappointment can color how we look at every aspect of life. Yet nearly every tragic situation is also seasoned with grace—medical professionals who show extraordinary care and compassion for a dying loved one, friends who show deep concern in meaningful ways during your grief, the presence of loving family being and doing everything a good family is supposed to be.

Appreciating the presence of good even during a difficult time keeps an individual from despair. Life can hurt deeply, but rarely does that hurt define everything about life. Good is often intermingled within our greatest sorrows.

3. Prepare for what’s ahead. See it. Anticipate it. Be energized by it.

Every positive has negatives and every negative has positives. No matter the cause of a disappointment, it results in us being in a place in life we never wanted to be. While the new road is not of our own choosing, it can be meaningful. And it can be satisfying in ways which we could have never expected. This is only true because God Controls Even Our Darkest Days.

Choosing to walk this new path with excitement and anticipation is one of the great keys to not allowing one disappointment to ruin your life. Feel the sorrow but also continue to live.

Everyone experiences disappointments in life. Some we can avoid, but many we cannot. Knowing how to navigate the disappointments in life is one of the greatest skills we can learn. The process is not complex, but the courage to walk each step is a tremendous challenge. (See: 7 Recommended Books for When Life Hurts)

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11 Responses to A Map for Navigating Life’s Disappointments
  1. […] Of course the truth is that everyone has felt this way before. (See: A Map for Navigating Life’... https://www.kevinathompson.com/ever-felt
  2. […] The good news of the gospel is not that we can do amazing things, it’s that God has done an am... https://www.kevinathompson.com/stop-trying-to-live-a-great-life-and-live-a-grateful-one
  3. […] But those times are rare. (See: A Map for Navigating Life’s Disappointments) […]... https://www.kevinathompson.com/stop-freaking
  4. […] The first occurrence brought a smile to my face. She had endured and marriage was her reward on the ... https://www.kevinathompson.com/the-most-overlooked-characteristic-of-who-you-want-to-marry
  5. […] Most divorces should never happen. Relationships end because one or both spouses are unwilling to do... https://www.kevinathompson.com/three-mistakes-divorce
  6. […] 2. “You are lucky because…” It’s always good to see the bright side in the midst of sor... https://www.kevinathompson.com/never-say-grieving
  7. […] I couldn’t.(See: A Map for Navigating Life’s Disappointments) […]... https://www.kevinathompson.com/life-hurts-show-treat
  8. […] wrote a post about overcoming life’s disappointments that I love. He says you have to do three... razorbackbritt.com/when-someone-disappoints-you
  9. […] You will suffer in a way you do not deserve. (See: A Map for Navigating Life’s Disappointments... https://www.kevinathompson.com/dont-do-wrong-when-youve-been-wronged
  10. […] Disappointment comes from an old French word which meant “being removed from office.” It... https://www.kevinathompson.com/christmas-goes-wrong-3

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