How Do You Handle Disappointment Graciously?

I’ve been thinking a lot about graciousness–not just in dress, or in behavior, but in every aspect of life, including internal thoughts. Obviously throughout life we are faced with disappointments, minor or major, and the way we handle ourselves shows our true colors.

How do you handle disappointment graciously? Recently I watched an influencer go on a multi-story rant against a small hotel in New England because she was not given the room she wanted. In her posts, she highlighted the amount of money she spent, showed a prior complaint she’d made to the hotel, and then showed the end result: an upgraded room. I understand the desire to have what you’ve been promised, and apparently the hotel had promised an upgraded room. But I also cringed at what seemed to me the needless public call-out, instead of simply requesting to speak with the manager and explaining the situation.

In some ways, I feel wary about sharing my disappointments publicly, no matter what they may be. The Internet has long memories, and besides, so many things are private. How we handle ourselves online, and in public, is important, because you never know who is watching. But more than that, I strongly believe that even in private you should always be willing to put your name to your words. Being genuine is important, too.

It is difficult, at times, to handle disappointment well. And it’s easy, especially in this day and age, to act reflexively, to post something that you later regret. We should all show each other a little grace, and save the commentary for trusted friends, if we must comment.

So how do you remind yourself to show compassion and grace?

8 thoughts on “How Do You Handle Disappointment Graciously?

  1. Sharing disappointments publicly is just not something my family does. Privately…to very dear friends perhaps, on occasion. But I’m always mindful that we each are carrying around our own disappointments, and while sometimes we really do need to vent and share a disappointment with a trusted friend, we don’t want to burden those we love with trivial matters. We can acknowledge it, commiserate, and move on. When we focus on the negatives we tend to lose sight of all the positives.

    KH – I love your thought! I also want my children to be proud of me and of their memories of me. We once witnessed an adult throwing a hissy fit in an airport (complete with dramatic stomping). That memory has remained with my children for years and they are still appalled to this day.

  2. Such an important post, Sarah. For me, if I’m tempted to blast someone — even just between me and the “offender” — I insist that I pause. I make myself wait 24 hours and then ask myself again, “Does this need to be said?” 99% of the time, the answer is ‘no’.

    I just experienced this yesterday. I received a text from a colleague that made me super upset. I slept on it, reread the exchange, thought it over, then realized nothing would come from going into defend and attack mode. I would have lost credibility and respect, AND it would suggest the criticism was valid — because I responded and “took the bait.”

    Re: the influencer you mentioned, I don’t think there is EVER a time when one should turn to a public platform to air grievances.

    I LOVE the lens shared, “Would be children be proud of this?”

    1. Waiting twenty-four hours is a great rule of thumb and something I’ll implement as well! I sometimes feel the urge to respond to difficult emails right away but from now on I will wait twenty-four hours. I think we get so used to being so connected all the time, there’s a feeling that business must be attended to right away. That’s not true and it’s a good reminder!

  3. I saw this rant and it was uncomfortable to watch. We’ve likely all experienced situations in which we a product or service we’ve received has been disappointing – I believe the most appropriate (and in my experience, most effective!) way to remedy such situations is to speak or write to the business politely, respectfully, and privately. No need to be passive aggressive or go “on blast” on social media.

    I love the advice that has been shared – waiting 24 hours, and considering the example that we’re setting to our children.

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