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Re-appointing Ourselves after Dis-appointment

Kerry Jehanne-Guadalupe


It is interesting to me that the word, disappoint, breaks down to dis-appoint. In the word itself is the experience we can sometimes have as humans; when feeling like we dis-appointed ourselves, we can inadvertently un-appoint ourselves from being in the driver's seat of our lives.


Experiencing self-disappointment can be a common aspect of being human. It can entail feelings of dissatisfaction, frustration, or letdown that we can experience as a result of our actions or choices. It may involve a feeling of falling short of our ideals or aspirations or a sense of not living up to our expectations or standards in various areas of life, such as careers, relationships, personal goals, or moral standards.


When experiencing self-disappointment, we may perceive ourselves as having failed in some way. This feeling of failure could be real or perceived. Yet, the feeling of falling short of our standards is what generates a sense of disappointment. Even when others let us down, we might experience self-disappointment. For instance, we might regret inviting someone into our lives who disappoints us.


Many aspects can lead to un-appointing ourselves while experiencing disappointment.


Self-disappointment can be brutal. We may un-appoint ourselves from being in the driver's seat because we lost trust in ourselves. We may begin to doubt our abilities, decisions, or worthiness, especially if we perceive ourselves as constantly failing or letting ourselves down. Some of us may develop avoidance behaviors as a coping mechanism to shield ourselves from further disappointment. On top of this, we might develop a belief that things will never improve or that success is unattainable, which can further perpetuate feelings of disappointment with no desire to place our hands back on the steering wheel of our lives.


While being un-appointed, the self-talk can plummet downhill, containing harsh self-criticism and self-blame, while the mind focuses on perceived shortcomings and mistakes, contributing to feelings of inadequacy or unworthiness. Continuous self-disappointment can erode self-esteem and self-confidence, contribute to a sense of hopelessness or helplessness as well as sap motivation and enthusiasm to be in the driver's seat of our lives.


When dis-appointment becomes a pervasive aspect of life, we may struggle to find meaning and purpose. The struggle can lead us to disengage (un-appoint ourselves) —whether by physically disconnecting, emotionally detaching, mentally withdrawing, or socially isolating—thus halting our pursuit of goals. This can trigger existential questions such as "Why am I here?" "What does this experience mean?" "What lessons can I glean from this?" "What defines success and failure?" These questions often signal an existential crisis. However, paradoxically, exploring these existential questions can lead to profound introspection and a journey of self-discovery as we delve deeply into the meaning of life.


Though dis-appointment can be brutal, it can also be medicinal.


While self-disappointment can initially be demotivating, it can also serve as a catalyst for self-improvement. Experiencing self-disappointment can prompt us to reflect on our actions and choices. This introspection can lead to personal growth and development as we learn from our mistakes so that when we grab ahold of the steering wheel of our lives, we do so with a new level of awareness.


Experiences of dis-appointment can be moments of realizing we were out of alignment. It can be a very helpful auto-correct emotion. Understanding the moments where we turned off course, and the reasons behind it, can lead us to re-appoint ourselves, empowering us to reclaim control over the helm of our lives with new wisdom.


Armed with the newfound wisdom from our dis-appointments, we can re-align ourselves with purpose and direction. As we step on the gas pedal once again, our dis-appointment can act as fuel as we strive for better outcomes in the future, set new goals, or adjust our approach. Disappointment can lead us to a beautiful course correction.


For me, I experience dis-appointment as the beginning of a threshold crossing; some old ways of being are coming to a close, and a new way is being illuminated. Feeling into the dis-appointment, even the uncomfortableness of it, feels like it is working to correct my course before I re-appoint myself. It is like having a renewed contract with myself, one that fits the updated version of myself.


For me, working through disappointment is similar to working through guilt. These emotions can be self-correcting, letting me know I was out of alignment. The trick is to not linger in these emotions but to allow them to help me shift whatever is out of alignment. Processing dis-appointment and guilt involves acknowledging and addressing what the feelings are pointing to. They have usually pointed to a part of me that has needed de-construction and reconstruction of beliefs and /or behaviors. Understanding the root cause can help determine which actions or decisions have led to these feelings.


Sometimes, the feelings linger, and I notice they are not dissipating. In such occurrences, I know that I have not allowed the feelings to do their work fully; whatever caused me to make a mistake still needs to be looked at and amended. Until I have figured out what I need to learn from the situation and how to prevent similar occurrences in the future, the feelings can remain for me. When I have allowed the feelings to deconstruct and reconstruct a part of me, they dissipate as they are no longer needed.


I believe we can work through feelings of dis-appointment and guilt in a healthy and constructive way, ultimately leading to re-appointing the next versions of ourselves.



Appointing Ourselves


After enduring prolonged disappointments, it can dawn on us that we haven't truly been at the helm of our own journey from the beginning. Whether it's a series of 'failed' marriages, perpetual dieting, persistent financial challenges, or feeling trapped in familiar patterns for decades, these long-term disappointments can unveil the true authority that has been guiding our lives. We may realize we never really appointed ourselves to begin with.


From my life experience, I know that there were many ways in which I allowed the opinions, expectations, or actions of others to heavily influence my choices, decisions, and behaviors. The experience of other people or society leading our lives highlights the phenomenon where external influences exert significant control over our choices and behaviors. Instead of making decisions based on our values, desires, and aspirations, we may prioritize the wishes or directives of others. This could include parents, peers, partners, or societal norms.


Appointing others to lead our lives can result in a lack of autonomy and self-direction. We may feel like we're living according to someone else's agenda rather than following their own path. Constantly conforming to the expectations of others can lead to a loss of authenticity and, for that matter, self-purpose. We may suppress our true selves or abandon our goals and dreams in favor of fulfilling the expectations placed upon us, which can lead to a lack of fulfillment and loss of purpose. Over time, we may experience inner conflict and resentment along with feeling trapped or frustrated by the discrepancy between our desires and the expectations imposed upon us.


However, feelings of being trapped or frustrated can be the very medicine we need to realize we are not in the driver's seat and move towards appointing ourselves. Alchemizing these feelings can help us cultivate autonomy, authenticity, assertiveness, and boundary-setting skills to claim/reclaim ownership of our lives and pursue paths that align with our true selves.


For me, sometimes getting through long-term dis-appointments came with realizing areas of my life where I never fully appointed myself. This has included appointing my inner wisdom / knowing / spirit to assist me in breaking through long-term patterns.


There are many ways we can approach our disappointments and return to a fulfilling, purposeful life. Some that have worked for me are:


Radical self-reflection: Allowing myself to feel the disappointment fully without judgment. Exploring the triggers (e.g., beliefs, events, etc) and expectations (e.g., realistic and unrealistic).


Adjust and clarify priorities: Remembering what truly matters, as well as setting meaningful goals and ways of aligning them with spiritual guidance.


Continue a daily practice: Implementing reflection through rituals and practicing patience through persistence.




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