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Thoughtfulness and Disappointment

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I’m constantly disappointed. This is something I’m working on: adjusting my expectations to lessen my disappointment.

I’m a listening and an observer. I tend to think that this is why I’m a thoughtful person. If a friend mentions in passing that he loves pie and doesn’t care for cake, I take mental note of it and, month later, bring a pie for his birthday. When a friend comments on something she likes while window-shopping, I go back and get it for her as a gift (when possible). I don’t think of this as an extraordinary effort. It’s merely how I approach things.

Because this behavior is second nature, it’s easy to expect the same in return. But the reality is that the vast majority of people don’t remember that you drink tea and not coffee, or you prefer vanilla to chocolate, or that you’ve been wanting your own copy of that book you constantly talk about and have checked out of the library 10 times. It seems that those who do are the exception, not the norm. Even so, it’s hard not to be disappointed when you realize that your brand of thoughtfulness is not to be returned.

Don’t be mistaken. The disappointment is not driven by material goods or lack there of – the disappointment stems from a deep-rooted feeling that those who love you don’t seem to know you at all. And for me, it goes even deeper into believing that I’m not worth knowing or remembering such details about.

The reality, of course, is that it has nothing to do with me. What comes naturally to me doesn’t to others and vise versa. We’re wired differently. You can’t force someone to do something for you that you deem appropriately thoughtful. Accepting that doesn’t mean you have to like it, but it does help curb some of the disappointment.

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