Marifran Korb

My Relationship with Disappointment

by on Feb.13, 2014, under Random Writings on Relationship

The usual winter news tells us of flight delays, people stuck in airports, others stuck in cars, houses cracking from snow and ice jams, followed by flooding when snow melts. Are you suffering winter weariness? It seems longer and more difficult this year in Cincinnati and elsewhere. There is more snow on the way, just in time for Valentine’s Day in this area. Wanting a way out, I know I can’t take a southern vacation. There must be another way to escape the winter malaise.

Has it felt to you that this has been a prolonged Winter of Disappointment? It is not over. For ten weeks, many plans have been thwarted by the weather. Before winter was on the calendar, we had winter weather. Hearing just the winter collective calamities locally and world-wide, it has been hard to take. Clearly I am done with winter. Knowing there are over five weeks remaining, I want to know how to make it through. My mood is dark. It is not fun for me to be around me. I need to change my attitude.

The irony is that I was prepared to hibernate. I expected to be recovering all January through March. Though surgery did not happen, I thought I would be fine taking time off from the world. Now the whole winter thing is getting tiring. Unable to turn off the desire to do something, I want to get going. At the same time, I feel stalled on big things, like finishing that workbook for publication.

Some other personal complaints are that I have had to miss important meetings. Birthday parties had to be canceled. Several group events were impossible to attend. Many exercise classes I blew off because it was so bitter cold out. This is only a small part of what I have missed. Everything is uncertain. The usual speedy pace of life has shut down to a cringe-like crawl. Getting out is challenging. Shoveling a long driveway several times a week takes an agonizingly long time, even though I am not doing the work.

Do you feel the insecurity of not knowing whether any event will happen due to possible snowstorms or ice storms? Have you ever been so bothered by winter that it is hard to concentrate? Have you experienced the inability to accomplish goals indoors when you cannot go outdoors? Does the shutting down of activities ever shut down your normally good mood? Does shutting down your mood ever lead to lack of accomplishment indoors?

One’s spirit can become tattered and threadbare in this rough weather. All the cold, snow and ice may be pretty on the eyes, yet freezing to the soul.

The disappointment can go beyond the avalanche of event cancellations. Have you ever felt you should not get disappointed, no matter what happens? Having been a ‘grown-up’ for quite awhile, do you think you should never get caught up in negative feelings? Do you think you should be above that, never being disappointed in circumstances, or in people? Do you feel you should not disappoint others either? Can you relate to any of this?

OK, your mind and my mind know better. As much as I’d prefer to never be disappointed and never to disappoint, I consciously know that is impossible. It is my emotions that are singing this song of deep discontent. While I must accept my humanity, at times like this I don’t feel I can dial it down, turn it off, or lower the volume. Really, I need to change my attitude.

How can I escape an emotional tune that haunts my head? In the course of writing this, telling the truth has me opening up to other ways to think about this.

1) Realizing that this insane theme song was a temper tantrum, I can start giving up the security of planning on outcomes for events and for accomplishments. It is when I am not aware, that emotions overwhelm me. In the larger scheme of life, I have it easy. My complaints are based on annoyances. My suffering comes from my own making.

2) Being realistic, I can remember that my family, friends and I have warmth inside our homes, and have all basic needs met. Outside of minor scrapes, no one I know has suffered a serious accident this winter. I have been super lucky, unlike some people in Atlanta, GA, who got stuck in the cold overnight in their car due to a winter storm. Others have been stuck in airports and some schools have kept children overnight to keep them safe. There are many weather problems I have not had to deal with this season. My complaints are lightweight. And they still need to be examined.

3) Examining my feelings more deeply, I found the real gray area in the emotional smokescreen. What I noticed is that when I do not get big projects done, I am bothered the most. Knowing this, the rest of my crabby feelings begin to dissipate. Moreover, I saw that I can only be disappointed by what I care strongly about.

4) Seeking support is everything. My friend and mentor, Sheila Finkelstein, suggested I start with realistic expectations. Her coaching is that I simplify what I attempt to accomplish each day. Sheila reminded me to break down the goal into pieces. So, I discovered chunks to achieve. That way, I can appreciate success, capture satisfaction, and realize accomplishment. When I complete and acknowledge small achievements, I see it is not an all-or-nothing world. Building on successes, I can enjoy more as I judge myself less. Thanks Sheila.

So Disappointment, take that! On another day, I will tackle the Need-to-Achieve Issue. Meanwhile, I have work to do; I have exciting chunks to choose.

4 Comments for this entry

  • Rosemary Molloy

    I’m so sorry at your disappointments, especially as the weather has actually been a boon to me. Part of my son, Mike’s U.S. business trip had to be cancelled because of storms in the midwest and he’s been with me since Wednesday evening (until tomorrow evening). I had cataract surgery on Wednesday morning and this freed Alison up for work, as she’ll be with me in a few weeks for the other eye. We were very lucky here, as we had torrential rain, but only a few inches of snow. Be well, my dear cousin, and I’m glad you’re able to pull out of your slough of despond. I think your friend, Sheila, is the sister you didn’t have by birth. Love to you, Ed, and Ilona.

  • marifran

    Thank you, Rosemary. Glad the weather has worked for you this year. I trust you are doing well after the cataract surgery. Yes, Sheila is very close to me. And I am very fortunate to have many sisters. Each one is unique, unrepeatable, and outstanding. You know who you are.

  • Joan Reed

    It’s the end of summer now and even though the weather is just fine, I find your writing very relevant to my life on this day.
    I identify with your four points on examining the “emotional tune that haunts my head”, especially number three… that I am bothered the most when I don’t get big projects done, and that I can only be disappointed by what I care strongly about.
    It’s time (for me) to get back to my projects.
    Many thanks for sharing your helpful insights.

  • marifran

    You are so welcome, Joan. Would love to hear about your projects. Good luck with them.

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