From TheFreeDictionaryDisappoint:

1. to fail to meet the expectations, hopes, desires, or standards of; let down

2. to prevent the fulfillment of (a plan, intention, etc.); frustrate; thwart

From Merriam-WebsterDisappointed:

defeated in expectation or hope; and


the state or emotion of being disappointed

Of all the emotions someone can feel, while I don’t think disappointment is the toughest (not compared to anguish or grief or desolation, for instance), I think it may be one of hardest to swallow because usually it feels as if whatever has disappointed us–whatever potential outcome has been thwarted–is still, somehow, within our grasp and we just can’t quite reach it. It’s one thing to have a possibility taken away and out of existence. But it’s hard when that possibility still exists, but you are not in the running to achieve it, whatever it is.

Maybe you didn’t get that job or promotion or raise you wanted. Maybe you didn’t get into the school you were hoping to attend. Could be you didn’t get the grade you were expecting. Perhaps a person let you down. Maybe you let yourself down. When I experience disappointment, I feel a combination of sadness, anger, and frustration. It’s easy to turn that disappointment around and direct those emotions toward the cause of the disappointment. But if you really think about it, the cause of the disappointment is within each of us because disappointment is simply a feeling.

Often the external causes of our disappointments–those people and situations that disappoint us–are out of our control, but the feelings those disappointments cause within us are most definitely under our control. Unless you’ve disappointed yourself, you can’t really change a decision that seems unfair–you can’t change the “disappoint” part. The only thing you can change is the “disappointed and disappointment” parts because those are strictly up to you.

Maybe we get disappointed because our expectations, hopes, or desires are unrealistic to begin with, or maybe our standards are too high, or maybe something we want is not something we need. Often what we want is legitimately something we earned or deserved and our disappointments are real, but feeling disappointed is a choice.

Disappointment is certainly a part of life, and one that won’t go away anytime soon. But allowing it to linger and fester internally is never healthy and won’t change anything. Ideally, disappointment should be momentary, fleeting. Realistically, it sometimes outstays its welcome. If that’s the case, it could be time to change the way you’re thinking about it because you can’t change what’s already happened.

In case you didn’t already guess, yes, I am feeling disappointed about something, and I’m sure I’m not alone. I know that for me, if I don’t let it go, it will affect how I feel about everything as I go through my day today and the week ahead. It will also infect all of the good things in my life.

I think, instead, I will choose to accept what I cannot change and come up with plan B. Disappointments do thwart our plans, but that just means it’s time for another plan. You don’t need a dictionary to define your success. You can define that for yourself.