Last week, we talked about how disappointment can follow us around. But how do we defeat it? We want to bring disappointment to an utter end so that it will not rise up again. Disappointments in life will still occur, but we don’t need to succumb to a spirit of disappointment every time. Below are the steps that will help you completely overcome life’s disappointments.

  • Recognize it. The prodigal son was not capable of turning his life around until he “came to himself.” Remember while he was in the pig pen, he asked himself “How many of my father’s servants have food to eat?” Once he “came to himself,” he quickly concluded that his father’s servants were in much better condition than he was in. This recognition began his road to restoration and taking his rightful place at his father’s side.
  • Know that it is common to man. Disappointment is experienced by all of us at one time or another. First Peter says, “…knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” One of the greatest lies that we believe is that we are the only one going through what we are experiencing. But the fact is that many people around us are battling the same kinds of things. You are not alone.
  • Don’t panic. Become a problem solver. Turn lemons into lemonade. Most of the time when we panic, it’s an overreaction to what happened. Instead of seeing a solution to the problem, we magnify it to the point that we become paralyzed. The problem grows bigger and we slip into deeper disappointment. If you feel yourself panicking whenever the unexpected happens, ask yourself these questions:
    • Am I seeing the problem accurately?
    • Have I verified my impression of the problem with others?
    • Have I identified at least two approaches to solving the problem?
    • Have I spoken with others who have gone through similar situations?
    • Is my pride hindering me in finding a solution?
  • Do not dwell on “what ifs.” Don’t become trapped in self pity. Helen Keller said, “Self pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.” The flow of wisdom and creativity is stopped in our life when we build a dam of self pity. Nothing moves ahead because of our dwelling on what might have been. Turn your “what ifs” into “What’s next?”
  • Assume a blessing is being disguised as a problem. In 1856, a Frenchman was vacationing in Egypt and fell in love with the fascinating country that straddles the Nile. Everything that he saw was immense and imposing. While in Egypt, he met another countryman, Ferdinad de Lesseps. De Lesseps was a dreamer on a grand scale. He wanted to connect the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea by a canal. In response, the Frenchmen yearned to create something monumental also.By 1859, de Lesseps had been granted approval for building the Suez Canal. So the Frenchman decided that he would build a lighthouse twice the size of the Sphinx for the entrance of the canal. His lighthouse would be a signal, flooding light upon Egypt’s present greatness and past grandeur. All would clearly see the cultural eminence of Egypt with his beacon. He spent years designing the project, during which time he created a lot of enthusiasm among Egyptians and others. But, the money never came to build his colossal lighthouse: a woman with an outstretched arm pointing a torch to the heavens so that all could see her light. Disappointed, he returned to France.Back home, the dreamer of greatness soon found a harbor and home for his Suez Canal lighthouse. In 1875, the actual construction began in France. But, it wasn’t long before Auguste Bartholdi’s sculpture graced another harbor. This harbor was worlds away from the intended original home in Egypt. Bartholdi’s lighthouse became a gift of the French government on our the US’s centennial. The Statue of Liberty is indeed a colossus standing over 150 feet tall and weighing nearly a half million pounds. At her base is inscribed Emma Lazarus’ words:

    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

    Lazarus’ words apply also to each of us as residents of this land of the free. The Statue of Liberty lifts her torch not just to huddled masses to see freedom, but she can lighten our lives with this reminder that disappointments can be turned, with determination, into successes.

These 5 steps will help you to start overcoming the deep disappointments in your life. Join me on Monday for the second set of steps.

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