I’m Not Tired of Love, I’m Tired of Disappointments

· January 6, 2017

We are all a bit broken. We carry our broken fragments, trying to piece together the impossible puzzle that is our heart. Always yearning to offer love once more. We want to love and be loved. However, disappointments have already burned us too much…

It is often said that whenever we’re willing to do anything for everyone else, we should be prepared that at some point, they will disappoint us. In some way, it’s as if pain is always implied when it comes to affection, love and caring. But, this is not completely true.

Recently I have stopped interacting with people that I wanted to get to know. Maybe I expected too much from people who never gave me anything. Maybe I have made the mistake of offering love to people who only wanted a “work and service” contract from me. Either way, so many disappointments have simply left me tired…

Our emotional and social brain craves the security of a secure bond. Security, at the end of the day, guarantees our survival. This explains why we feel pain when we’re disappointed. Something inside us breaks, snaps. The secure bond disappears, and only a void is left behind.

It’s possible that on some occasions we build up expectations that are too high for something or someone. This might be true, but we all need certain guarantees that we’re not going to get hurt. That the people we choose to offer love to aren’t going to disappoint us or break that bond just like that.

No matter how much people tell us, nobody is prepared to accept disappointment as something “normal” in our everyday relationships.
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Offering love despite all the sadness and pain

We are very accustomed to being told that disappointments are not produced by inappropriate behavior. Instead they are produced by false expectations that one makes about certain things or people. Now, this typical phrase doesn’t make sense in some cases. Especially when the behavior implied has been especially cruel, unexpected or painful.

When you have a good friendship with someone, you don’t expect to be criticized by them behind your back. Or when someone reaches old age, they don’t expect to be abandoned by their children. When someone loves and thinks they are loved, they never expect to be mistreated or humiliated by their partner.

Some disappointments are authentic, genuine, deep and stark. Offering love after these vital experiences is almost mission impossible. You require time. You need the needles of time to sew up and mend your wounds. To repair the “broken pieces” that your brain, believe it or not, interprets as authentic wounds.

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According to a study published by the magazine “Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences” and conducted by the emotional psychologist Ethan Kross, rejections, betrayals and profound disappointments are interpreted by the brain as a blow, a burn or a traumatic physical impact.

The area of the brain that activates the most in these cases is the insula or insular cortex, which is directly associated with pain. All of this proves that for the brain, a disappointment is the breaking of a bond that offered us security. It represented trust we had in something or someone, which has now disappeared. Offering love again after these experiences isn’t easy. However, it can be a good medicine to heal your wounds.

Don’t get sick of offering love and loving yourself

There are disappointments that don’t violate you. They are simply accepted, like someone who tolerates the prickle of a rose or drinking every day from a broken mug that has been repaired with glue and plenty of love, because it is your favorite one. We heal, forgive and move on. We shouldn’t let our hearts turn into stone. If you do, that stone heart will forever fall into the cold well of discouragement, vulnerability and failure.

Authentic love doesn’t hurt. Sincere friendship doesn’t betray. He who truly loves you may disappoint you once, but never again. Thus, we propose that you reflect for a moment on these simple strategies of coping that can help you overcome these complex moments in your life. 

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A disappointment, besides making us suffer, also makes us feel vulnerable. When someone feels fragile, instead of offering their love, what they need is to receive it. They especially need to receive it from themselves in order to rebuild, to validate themselves once more with all of their integrity, strengths and self-esteem. Something like this can only be provided by time and adequate work within ourselves.

In addition to time, we’re going to have to manage three basic feelings: rage, pessimism and impotence. Disappointments can rip out our roots and make us think that nothing will ever be the same afterwards. Disperse these three horsemen of unhappiness from your heart as soon as you can.

Accept, on one hand, that you didn’t deserve what happened to you; but on the other, also accept that you don’t deserve to suffer forever. Don’t choose resentment as your everyday nourishment. Don’t self-prescribe suffering as your eternal medicine. The side effects of this are devastating.

Instead, remember something indispensable: remember to choose yourself. Choose yourself above everything else. Above all of your fears, your uncertainty and resentments. Choose to have hope again and, above all, to continue cultivating what is truly worthwhile in life: offering love. Choose to believe that despite all of your disappointments, there are still good people out there.