After living in my house for 30 years, my 60-year-old kitchen finally got the update it desperately needed. The knotty pine cabinets and custom linoleum floor were in style at least seven styles ago!
As one of the final steps in the kitchen renovation, we replaced the front walk to our home. In 30 years I’d never noticed the walkway and front door didn’t exactly line up with each other. The renovation made the offset very noticeable. The final steps complete, I went from a 60 year-old, very outdated kitchen to a stunning, up-to-date kitchen I love spending time in. In fact, my husband teases me that I’ve forgotten there are five other rooms in the house!
But then, my sister’s question about the recently replaced front walk to my house resulted in a long explanation about my disappointment with the outcome. Instead of the old walkway with a bit of character, I now had, in my eyes, an ugly piece of concrete with no character at all.
As I wrapped up my comments about the walkway and how little it really means in the scheme of the whole, beautiful kitchen, her comment was, “But still …” (Gotta love sisters! They know you better than almost anyone.) Yes, but still the walkway is a disappointment. Ask me about it and my disappointment will soon be evident. And focusing on this disappointment detracts from other wonderful things.
How do we let go of those things that disappoint us, especially when there really are others things to be thankful for? Here are two suggestions.
It is impossible to go our entire lives without experiencing disappointments. They are a given part of life and are experienced on a fairly regular basis. Some disappointments are big and deserve to be properly grieved and dealt with. Other disappointments are minor and simply reflect a deviation from our expectations. A proper perspective about the disappointment can go a long way in keeping our response to it in balance.
Many people around the world struggle just to find food, water, shelter, safety, enough heat, etc. Because for most of us, those things are not an issue, we have a tendency to allow smaller issues to become bigger than they really warrant.
Another tendency is to point out our disappointment expecting others to put the same value on it. They, however, see how much we have to be thankful for, such as a completely renovated kitchen, and the minor disappointment doesn’t carry any weight. In other words, the disappointment doesn’t move the scale.
Keeping things in their rightful perspective goes a long way in keeping disappointment in balance and not consuming all our energy.
What we focus on has the potential to consume us. If I allowed the disappointment of the front walkway to remain forefront in my thoughts, I would talk about it more often, draw attention to something no one else is paying attention to, and probably even become tiresome in conversation. It is likely I would not enjoy my kitchen as much and I certainly would not experience as much joy.
What we focus on is important. When we choose to focus on the things that disappoint us, our attitudes and demeanor tend to fall. We are not as upbeat and positive and our outlook tends toward negativity. One the other hand, we are likely to experience more joy and satisfaction when we focus on the positive aspects of our lives rather than the things that disappoint us.
What are some of your disappointment? How might you benefit from putting them in proper perspective and focus?