So those of you who have been reading my blog for a while are aware of the fact that I’m a huge superhero fan, and that I love the MCU in particular. I could not possibly express how overwhelmingly excited I am about Endgame. My friend Mike and I made plans to see it ages ago, and when I woke up yesterday morning I thought about the movie before I even thought about coffee. When I called Mike to finalize plans, however, I got some very bad news. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Hey, how excited are you? I’m super excited. What time do you want to pick me up? Do you want to have lunch first? Dinner after? Both? Wait-do you want to come over this morning and watch Infinity War before we go?
Mike: Amanda, it’s Saturday.
Me: Right. It’s Endgame day.
Mike: No, that’s tomorrow.
Me: No, it’s today. We’re going today. You bought the tickets forever ago.
Mike: I bought tickets for tomorrow. We’re going tomorrow.
Me: I can’t go tomorrow! I have to go in to work tomorrow!
We immediately hit the internet to see if we could get tickets to a Saturday show, but no luck. They were all either sold out, at times that didn’t work for Mike, or didn’t have two seats anywhere near each other. We did briefly consider that last option, but neither of us thought that would be any fun.
Incidentally, the reason I have to go in to work today is to get ready for a massively important annual event that has been stressing me out for the past week, and will make the upcoming week even more stressful. In addition to all of the other reasons I was excited about the movie, Saturday was supposed to be a day to relax and have fun in between two crazy, very high-pressure weeks.
So at that moment, realizing I wasn’t going to be able to see Endgame until next weekend felt like the end of the world. I actually almost cried.
Then I got a grip. Was I disappointed? Absolutely. Was it going to ruin my day? Well, that was up to me. And I chose no. Too many times in the past I’ve allowed one disappointment to spiral into hours of unhappiness, and this time I was determined to remember that there are some sure-fire ways to make the best of things:
1. Don’t play the blame game.
Mike and I aren’t sure which one of us made the mistake. It is entirely possible that I told him Saturday, but he got mixed up and ordered tickets for the wrong day. It is also entirely possible that he said, “So I’m getting tickets for Sunday, right?” and I said misheard him and agreed. Regardless, even if we could remember whose fault it was, it really wouldn’t matter. It doesn’t change the situation. When things don’t go our way, it’s really tempting to point a finger and find a target for your frustration, but in the long run that doesn’t really help anything. All that does is add a nice heaping spoonful of resentment to your already overflowing bowl of disappointment, and sour your mood even further.
2. Put it in perspective.
This particular disappointment, in the grand scheme of things, is really not that big of a deal. Sure, I was looking forward to Endgame. And yes, it stinks that I’m not going to be able to see it until Friday. However, I’ll be okay. Even more serious disappointments often don’t have as big of a long-term impact as we feel in the moment. We need to stop and think about how much this really matters, if it’s fixable, if there’s an alternative, if we’ll still consider it a big deal a month from now, etc. That last one helps me a lot, because I can always remember something that felt huge a few weeks back, but now I can see wasn’t all that serious.
3. Think about something positive.
When something doesn’t work out for me, I always take a few minutes to play the “Yes, but..” game. “Yes, I’m disappointed I didn’t get that new position, but I still like the job I have.” “Yes, I’m upset that I have to get a new transmission, but at least it won’t put me in an impossible financial position.” “Yes, I’m bummed about missing this movie, but waiting a week won’t kill me.”
Occasionally you can even find a bright side in the situation itself. Even though I insisted that Mike go to the movie without me, he insisted harder that he was going to wait until we could see it together, reminding me that I have amazing friends. We gave our tickets to two of our other friends, and they were absolutely thrilled. That definitely made me feel better.
4. Don’t dwell on it.
The worst thing I could have done was sit around the house and waste my free day moping about my plans getting ruined. When things go wrong, it’s ok to take a little time to vent and/or process your feelings, but it’s better to distract yourself than to wallow. So Mike and I went to see Captain Marvel again. Then we had sushi. Then I went home and read a book, and spent an hour catching up with my sister. Then I went to bed early so I could get a little extra rest before things get crazy again.
In other words, I still had a really good day.
How do you bounce back from disappointments? Let me know in the comments!