Dealing with Disappointment

I had this whole lame post written–you know how bad writing is an absolute struggle. I essentially wasted two hours on McCain-Huckabee analysis. Consensus: They both suck. Bottom line: McCain is the nominee. There might be two readers here for whom John McCain is their dream candidate. For the rest, the question before us is: How do we deal with the disappointment?

Disappointment is the junction where expectations and unfilled meet. No one likes to be disappointed. We all want our expectations to work out just the way we hoped. Inevitably, this doesn’t happen. Sometimes it turns out all good–like the Garth Brook’s song [Thank God for] Unanswered Prayers . And sometimes, the disappointment is raw and real and hangs on–we find out that what we missed out on is exactly as good as we hoped. The disappointment lingers and can corrode the good that is elsewhere in our lives.

I’m not suggesting, by the way, that there is one right way to deal with the McCain nomination. Those deciding to sit out or vote Democrat in the next election have a valid point of view as do those who believe that the only reasonable course is to rally behind the less-than-appealing candidate.

What I am suggesting is that the spirit we bring to our decisions matters. Presidents come and go, and even life’s biggest disappointments like an unexpected death or loss of love, passes into memory. How we frame the story remains–the meaning we give the story remains. Viktor Frankl noted in Man’s Search for Meaning that those who couldn’t find meaning in their concentration camp suffering often quickly died. Helplessness and hopelessness lead to despair which caused an involution of the human spirit. People simply gave up.

That ties into the Buddhist notion of attachment–that the key to happiness is to have no attachments. What that means is that we don’t hang our happiness on a certain outcome. We might like a certain result, but unhappiness ensues when we feel that result must happen. When we are detached on the other hand, we can rationally evaluate the information and make a clear decision. That brings to mind the mafia boss who said, “I don’t get mad. It clouds the judgment.”

This whole election will be filled with disappointments. As frustrated as the Republicans are at this point, I shudder thinking about the emotionally immature and paranoid Left trying to process an Obama or Hillary loss. Hillary has demonstrated over and over, what liberal disappointment looks like–not righteous action, that’s for sure. More like narcissistic tears. Dems have attached their own self-worth to the success of a certain candidate. It is all about the individual. The individual is projecting his ego and need onto the candidate. A loss of the candidate means a loss of self.

Republicans would do well to observe and learn. Not that anyone is crying in their beer, mind you, but the rhetoric on all sides is sounding less and less rational and more and more emotional. Part of growing up is dealing with disappointment. Part of growing as a person is finding a place of contentment even when desires may go unmet. Happiness can happen anyway.

And you know what? It is possible to be surprised. We don’t know all ends and outcomes. What seems like a potential four-year disaster now can be a transient bump on the road to transcendent joy–not that I expect that from McCain, mind you.

But you never know……

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