Monday, December 31, 2018

Disappointing another

In any meaningful relationship, we will inevitably disappoint our partners, families, and friends. To skillfully navigate the energies of disappointment is a real yoga that can take quite a lot of awareness (and compassion). The landscape of disappointing another can be incredibly challenging, especially if our role in early relationships was to set aside our own needs for another, where caring for them was the primary way that we received love and attention.

What is it like for you to disappoint someone? To let them down? To not be able to save them? To feel that you could be doing more to care for their unlived life? To not be able to mend their broken heart? What does it mean about you if you disappoint them? What are the consequences if you are not able to “make them happy” or remove their anxiety, meaninglessness, or uncertainty?

Will you be abandoned if you disappoint them? Will you be the target of rage and judgment? Will you be shamed? Are you unsafe? Should you just go ahead and try to make them feel better at all costs, even if detrimental to your own self?

What are the feelings and emotional conclusions you are asked to tend to in the wake of your letting another down, when you aren't able to help them, see them, and be there for them in the way they need in a given moment? When no matter how hard you try, they feel that you have misunderstood and let them down.

Aren’t we supposed to meet their anxiety, heartbreak, phobias, and symptoms in a way that is consistently helpful, empathic, and supportive? Say insightful things? Give wise advice? Fix them? Cure them? Heal them? Make it all go away? What if we fail and they become disappointed? What does it mean about us as humans (and healers) if we are not healing, but disappointing?

It’s some very rich territory that we can explore.

Photo by Manfred Richter

My most recent book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available 

The next book, A Friend of the Breath, will be published by Sounds True in early 2020, details to come

The next event is The Healing Shame Retreat: Spiritual Awakening and Transforming the Core Wound of Unworthiness, April 24-29, 2019 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with co-facilitator Jeff Foster