- Autumn Quiles, LCSW
Yesterday, my son did not get picked. He wanted to be his class representative for Student Government and he made a speech, gave it to the class and was not elected to the position. He told me the story with many tears and piled many harsh words on himself. He was sorely disappointed.
I wanted to rescue him from this disappointment; take him into my arms, tell him none of the ugly things he said about himself were true and insist that the student government position was a load of crap anyway.
Instead, I dug deep and honored his feelings. "I 'get' that you feel no one likes you. I 'get' that you feel stupid for even trying," I said. I validated his feelings, by sharing one of my own (many) stories of disappointment and showing how, I too, have felt disappointment and rejection. For a short while, he and I drifted in a sea of disappointment.
Then I shared my own experience of how I manage the disappointment. I, personally, believe that everything happens for a reason and if I try my best to be successful and I am not, the Universe is sending me a message that the opportunity/role/relationship was not meant for me. When one door closes, another opens. I shared my belief with him.
I also shared that, in the grand scheme of life, it is not the "winning" or the "losing" that matters. It is The Trying. Life proceeds from our intentions for it, not from the outcomes. Expectations for a certain outcome leads to disappointment. We cannot control the outcome, only our intention. Our intention is The Trying.
If we are in this life to squeeze the juice of goodness out of every day, then we must commit ourselves to Trying. Putting ourselves 'out there'. Starting the conversation. Showing up. We must run for Student Government representative, even when the other candidates are formidable.
I told my son that, even though he was a total loser, I was proud of him, to the core of my being, that he Tried.
Today, he's still feeling the sting of disappointment. I still feel the need to rescue him from that disappointment. But, he will need to make sense of this on his own. Sit with it. Feel it. Own it. Today, I am sitting still in faith; faith that my words will become the voice in his head when the next disappointment comes. It matters little if he Wins or Loses, but he will get the most out of this dazzling, brilliant life if he keeps Trying.