Find the courage to disappoint people

Disappointment happens when somebody expects one thing, and doesn’t get it. 

It happens every day. Life lets us down. There is no avoiding it. 

The danger is when too many of our decisions are made based on what other people expect, versus what is actually best for us. Because that only creates greater resentment and unhappiness on both sides. 

This tendency dates back to our childhood fear of letting our parents down. Growing up under the ruling eye of their authority, the absolute worst thing they could possibly say to us was the following. 

We’re not mad at you, honey, we’re just disappointed

Every time those words came out of their mouths, a sudden and overwhelming feeling of sadness would strike in the pit of my stomach. The rest of my day would be disgraced with feelings of guilt, incompetence and unworthiness. 

Because I had let mom and dad down. What a terrible son I was. 

Interestingly, that fear never quite goes away. Even as adults, we’re still afraid of letting people down. Not just parents, but also friends, spouses, family members and even coworkers. Everyone has someone they’re trying to avoid disappointing. It’s classic codependent and people pleasing behavior. 

But what nobody tells us is, one of the most important decisions we need to make is whom we choose to disappoint in life. By making disappointment a choice, we free ourselves. We create a life that’s authentic to who we are, as opposed to knocking ourselves out trying to make everybody happy. 

And so, see if you can go let someone down. Find the courage to disappoint people. Trust that it’s not your job to fulfill all of their expectations. Trust that it’s not realistic to demand that everyone to accept all of your decisions. And trust that you’re not responsible for everyone’s reactions to the path you take. 

Remember, when somebody is disappointed with you, it’s not always your problem. 

It might mean they haven’t learned to surrender their expectations. 

Or that you forgot to do the laundry.


Whom are you still trying to avoid disappointing?
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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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