Day #7 – Holiday Disappointment
Everyone gets gifts we do not want. It could be the fruit cake, the bad sweater, or even the toy which is made for a 4 year old and you are 12. I think we have all had something like this at some point in life. I don’t think these are the things I am talking about when I mention holiday disappointment. Holiday disappointment comes in many shapes and sizes but it all boils down to expectations. We don’t get something we expected or wanted. If our expectations exceed the reality of what we get then we become disappointed. Some say if you have no expectations then you cannot be disappointed. However, while it is usually thought of a bad thing it may not always be.
Disappointment is hardly ever see as a good thing. In fact, it took me a bit to come up with a way in which it could be good. Who wants to be disappointed during the holidays? Not many people, I would think. So, how can disappointment be good? Holiday disappointment can be good in a couple of different ways. It can be a motivator to work to get something you want or to make a change. It can also be a wake-up call that something may be wrong.
I know in the other version of this post I mentioned how all I really wanted for Christmas was normal gifts as a kid. I wanted something that was seen on TV or all my friends wanted, not the gifts that I did get. This was extremely frustrating as a child. I would get a leather punching kit without all the parts and my friends got He-Man. What it taught me though, was that if you really want something then you need to work for it yourself. Nothing is going to be given to you in this world. So I had to figure out how to get a job, save my money and then get what I wanted. It also taught me to value what it was I was spending my money on. I did not make purchases that I did not really think I wanted or needed. Now as young as I was, I would not make the same purchases today, but back then they were what I worked for each day. In fact, some of the purchases I did make I was later disappointed in and made changes for the future. It might have been a cheap toy or a sugary treat, but I changed how I viewed the things I bought.
I also understood where my family was situationally in life and it taught me to begin to work to keep myself out of the same situation. I did not want my kids to have to go through the same things. I am not going give them everything they want because they need to learn to work and save for things, but they should not go without the things they need in life. They can have a little comfort but they need to develop a good work ethic, as well. So having a little disappointment can help someone be motivated to make a change.
Another way that disappointment can be helpful is when it alerts you to some problem you may not have been aware of before. For example, I usually buy my kids a complete outfit for Christmas and birthdays. I do it as kind of a special present for them and they usually don’t think my wife gets their style. I find it fun and the kids get some cool clothes. Well, we were going through my kids clothes finding things they no longer wore or would not wear. My wife was making piles from my daughters closet. I see a couple of things in the pile which still have tags on them and so I look to see what they are and they were the tops I gave my daughter for her birthday and Christmas. I was pretty disappointed that she would not just tell me and then trade them for something she really wanted. I guess she must also have been disappointed in getting them because she would not wear them. So I figured out that I am probably not the person to shop for her any longer. It is too bad as I really liked doing it. At least this way she will get what she would like for Christmas and I get to see her happy.
Disappointment is normally bad but I think in small doses it can be healthy. It can help you become a more productive and responsible person and it can help you recognize when things may need changing. I guess you could see it as the balance to the bad half of disappointment because in everything that is negative in our lives we should always be able to find something positive out of it. I know I should remember this when I get in my funks. Maybe that is what I can ask Santa to bring me for Christmas, a better balance to my life. He will probably laugh until eggnog comes out his nose and remind me that I have been on the naughty list since 1985. Oh well, I guess it is just another disappointment I will have to fix on my own.
Take your daughter shopping. Lots of benefits, including making her feel special, spending fun (and bonding) time together, and learning through her eyes what she likes so you can surprise her another time!
Thanks for the idea.