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  • Writer's pictureMegan Filoramo

The disappointment of me

Negative emotions suck

One of the worst is disappointment, especially when accompanied by a feeling of lack of control.

Oxford (as in, the dictionary) defines disappointment as sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations.

Nonfulfillment, that about it sums it up.

You may think that disappointment isn’t THAT bad but have you ever been disappointed in yourself?

That is really the worst, when we top the disappointment with shame.

I could give a dissertation on how these emotions are triggered by an evolutionary fear that we will be rejected by the tribe (and therefore die) but in the moment, this isn’t all that helpful.

All we know is that we DON’T WANT TO FEEL IT.

No disappointment.

No embarrassment or shame.

That would be great, thank you.

Here’s the problem. We have expectations, expectations of how we should act regardless of our stress levels, expectations regarding the things we should know, above and beyond ALL the things we already know, expectations about how fast we learn new skills, expectations of how we respond to crazy amounts of stress or pressure.

And so enters the disappointment when there is non-fulfillment of these expectations, and even worse, embarrassment or shame when this “failure” is witnessed by someone else.

What does this have to do with work? 

Many of these opportunities for self disappointment arise at work (or at home because you’re exhausted from work) and if we can’t process them effectively, we can get weighed down by shame.

Shame keeps us from showing up as our full selves which makes us feel worse and show up even less.

So is there good news?

Always 🙂

The good news is that disappointment in yourself doesn’t have to be paired with shame. 

You may have thought I was going to say you don’t ever have to be disappointed in yourself.

I wish that were true.

But here’s the thing, being disappointed in yourself is ok if you don’t bundle it with shame. 

Let me explain.

None of us are perfect. All of us have a lot of factors that contribute to our actions and reactions. 

It’s good, and natural, to have standards and goals of how we act and what we want to know. This can keep us engaged in our work and our home lives. It propels us towards growth which contributes to our health and wellbeing.


Like every other human being, there are going to be times that we fall short of these expectations and goals, especially if they are big ones. 

There are going to be times that we act in a way that we are not proud of, that we are embarrassed by our own behavior.

This happened to me last week. 

It’s going to happen to you at some point.

So my suggestion is, when you feel disappointment in yourself, approach it with curiosity and compassion. 

Can you see WHY you reacted that way (without putting the responsibility on someone else)? Is there any reason that makes sense, even if you aren’t proud of it? Were you stressed about something else? Were you overtired? Did you think you made a mistake and your reaction was prompted by fear?

Can you see how you might not have known something, how you can’t possibly know everything, how you may need to look for some education (even if it’s from Google Scholar)?

Can we step back and observe the person who is trying her best and slipped up a little?

Can we apologize for bad behavior if necessary and then let it go, understanding that the intention to act differently was there?

It’s ok to have some disappointment, it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you. It’s just a byproduct of striving for something great.

Disappointment is an invitation to practice self-love and self-love eases the sting of disappointment. 

And the faster we can let it go, the faster we can get back to putting our energy into the amazing work that we do. 

Disappointment doesn’t have to stand in our way.


Do you feel like you are disappointed a lot? That you want more than what you have now? I get it, I was there too. If you are trying to figure out where to start, join my free monthly event where nurses support nurses, where we can explore coaching through our everyday struggles. It's a way to experience the benefit of coaching for yourself with zero obligation. Feeling better is worth one hour of your time. The next event is on Thursday, April 11th. Sign up here.

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