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Disappointment is universal – affecting everyone. Sometimes you are the one
disappointed and sometimes it is someone you care about. Both cases result is dealing
with difficult emotions that need support. Helping others deal with disappointment isn’t
dissimilar to dealing with your own, but there are a few things to consider when
supporting someone who is facing a disappointment.
Consider this:
It’s their journey, not yours: When you are disappointed, you fully understand every
nuance of what is going on – what happened, how you feel about it, and your willingness
to move through the feelings. The person you are supporting is on their own journey
and while you may be able to influence it to a degree, the most you can do is provide
support and encouragement as they navigate through it their own way.
Listen more, talk less: Someone dealing with disappointment may have a wide range
of emotions. Some that are accurate and some that are disjointed and fleeting. It is
important to support them by listening but remain neutral and don’t get attached to
anything they are saying. They may express anger and bitterness one moment and
compassion and sadness another. Simply be a listening post and allow them to sort
through their feelings without too much input.
Let them sit in their circumstances: It might feel like solving problems or championing
the person who is disappointed is a good thing. Theoretically, it might be. Righting a
wrong or standing up for people has a time and a place. Discern if it is better to allow
them to feel the fullness of the disappointment so they can assess if they want to make
personal change. Sometimes it is best to allow people to sit in their circumstances to
motivate them to a higher place.
Be available; stay available: Some disappointments are BIG. Being available at the
beginning is often a no-brainer. Being willing to help, support, and listen is a noble thing.
Try to be there for the long haul, without exhausting yourself. Stay in touch, offer
support, and remind them you are there. Sometimes disappointment takes time to
recover from, and being there for the long haul is the best thing you can do.

Supporting someone who is going through a disappointment is not unlike supporting
yourself. Be available and compassionate while allowing them to navigate their way.
You don’t have to make grand gestures to be a good support system. Doing what it
takes in a healthy way is the best course of action.