I've been thinking about disappointment. I've had my share of them, of course, as has every human being. It's a simple process, really. You set expectations--perhaps, no probably too high--and the actuality does not meet up to them. It's the mismatch that creates the disappointment, and the level of disappointment is in perfect proportion to the gap between the two.
The resulting feeling can be devastating. The trick--and it's no easy one--is to treat the experience and the feeling it provokes as gifts. If I can learn to say a heartfelt thank you to the one who disappointed me for having offered me the opportunity to learn, I come out ahead. Because the next time the same door opens, the next opportunity arises, I'll perhaps set my expectations just a wee bit lower and will be more ready to appreciate the experience for what it is, not what I'd hoped for. And the gap being then proportionately narrower, I'll be less vulnerable to the inevitable disappointment.
So it's the old gift wrapped in shit, whose value I discovered many years ago--and which to this day continues to creep up to surprise me. If I manage to overcome my repulsion and unwrap it with the right attention, I never fail to be grateful for what I find inside. It may not be what I wanted, to paraphrase that old Rolling Stones song, but it's more than likely what I need.