Fear of Disappointment

Fear of Disappointment – The Secret to Being & Doing What You Want Despite the Fear that It Will All Come to Nothing

“I’m afraid of doing what I know I want to do, in case it doesn’t turn out the way I want it to. And then I’ll be really disappointed … again.”

Living with fear of disappointment is crippling.

It creates a state of inertia and inaction. This leads to dissatisfaction, frustrated creativity, and creeping disappointment with life.

Do you have a book in you, some kooky original art, a sizzling business idea, a friend you’d love as your lover, a country or holiday that keeps calling to you, but you’re afraid to take action towards it because it might not turn out the way you’ve imagined? Perhaps you’ve been disappointed by your efforts in the past – a creative project that bombed, a relationship that was nothing like you imagined it would be, a holiday that turned disastrous, a business that went tail up?

Life’s disappointments leave scars. And some hairy emotions that rise up whenever you entertain the idea of leaping back into the fray. Many people are stopped by fear of disappointment.

Especially those who have been disappointed in the past.

The complete failure of my first book to live up to my dazzling dreams of wealth and world-travel almost caused me to stop writing! I had a vision. I poured energy, money, time and love into that vision. The reality fell woefully short of that vision. I was very disappointed. Here’s just a few of the thoughts I entertained:

  • I didn’t invest enough energy in my vision
  • Perhaps the book is actually crap
  • The world doesn’t want what I have to offer
  • Life is ultimately disappointing and I can’t have what I want

Those thoughts made me feel seriously rotten. I felt small, powerless, foolish and, yes – deeply disappointed – in myself, in my writing, in the world, in life. Every time I had an idea for another book, those thoughts snuck in. I would plummet into the uncomfortable feelings that accompanied them. Little wonder I didn’t write a single word for a couple of years.

What happens when you stifle or neglect your creative urges, whether they be artistic, business or relationship focussed?

border-collie mindIn her best-selling book on nurturing creativity, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert says:

Possessing a creative mind is like having a border collie for a pet; if you don’t give it a job to do, it will find a job to do — and you might not like the job it invents.

We are all creative – being human makes you creative. You might not want to create art or literature, but you are here to create your life. If you resist those urges because you are afraid of disappointment and the emotions that go with it, your border collie mind will set to work creating drama and aggravation instead.

Highly Effective Ways to Address Fear

Unless you want to spend your life in the torpor and tedium of inaction and secret unmet dreams (which you are completely free to do, by the way) – you need to soothe the part of you that is afraid of the disappointment.

Here are few highly effective ways to do that:

  • Allow your fear. Don’t try to push it away, deny it or flip it to the positive. It’s yours. It’s trying to protect you from those awful feelings of disappointment that you might get if you take action on your creative urges. Let yourself feel how you feel, without judgement. And if possible, drop any stories that accompany those feelings. Be in the feeling and only the feeling.
  • Let go of the outcome you are so desperate for that you’re afraid you won’t get. There is remarkable magic in the journey of creating. It’s not all about the end result. You want to write that book, create that art, kiss that man, start that business because … that’s what you want to do. It’s absurdly simple. No analysis required. When you follow what you want, what you truly, deeply want, you will learn new things, expand your awareness, run into challenges, learn more, grow more, be astonished, be confounded, and ultimately take yourself on a journey that you have never been on before. And yes, it may not turn out the way you imagine. But so what? At least you’re fully engaged in the adventure.
  • Accept that the disappointment you are afraid of could happen. Because it could. And when all is said and done, you might feel rotten and disappointed. When you accept this possibility, you won’t be running from it any more. It will become a toothless tiger. Realise also, that disappointment is one of hundreds of possibilities. You could be disappointed. You could also be deliriously delighted or super-satisfied. You may even find yourself in a hugely pleasurable and surprising end result that you never would have dreamed of, if you hadn’t set out to do what you wanted.

Take One Teeny Tiny (even Nano) Step

If you take those three actions, you will find yourself much soothed. Then take one tiny, easy, doable step to bring your creative impulse to life. Stay out of how you’re going pull the whole thing off. Take one little step. Then another one. Then another one.

If you do all this, you will rapidly find yourself creating what you want to create. Your border collie will be happy and satisfied, hard at its real work.

And your fear of disappointment … will probably be right there along with you. And that’s OK, because you will be doing what you are here to do, not sitting in inaction and despair. You will be in the adventure of your life!

If you’d like to take a nano step into moving beyond disappointment RIGHT NOW, I have a free, simple and powerful video process that you can do in just 15 minutes. You can access it here: http://bit.ly/lovelifefreebie


  • Margaret Bending

    Reply Reply January 12, 2016

    Hello Pollyanna,
    yes sometimes the end result doesn’t live up to expectations, but you are right it is all about the journey and the Adventure of trying. Sometimes we think we know what we want, but the Universe wants to deliver us with what we need.
    Looking forward to our coaching session.

    • darling_lover

      Reply Reply January 12, 2016

      Hi Margie! I love it when I start out down a path thinking I will arrive at X and instead arrive at Y, and it’s infinitely more interesting than anything I had imagined. That’s the beauty of being fully in the journey. x

  • Fred

    Reply Reply March 2, 2017

    I like this. This is helpful and expanding. I like the perspective. Kind of lacking the words to input here, but I really like this post.

    • Fred

      Reply Reply March 2, 2017

      Thanks as well ‘Margaret. Nice comment.

    • darling_lover

      Reply Reply March 2, 2017

      Thank you Fred! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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