When Disappointment comes in Threes… it’s Still not Personal

24 Jan

You’ve probably heard the (stupid) adage that bad news comes in threes.  I know people who are so enmeshed with this belief that when two (bad) things happen just days apart, they expect that the streak won’t end until a third bad thing happens.  But like the good things in life, none of this is personal. (See my other posts about Don Miguel Ruiz‘s book The Four Agreements The second agreement is “Don’t take anything personally.”

When it comes to disappointment, we take a similar stance – when one disappointment happens, more seem to pile up within minutes.  It is only natural to feel a bit down when the first disappointment happens (due to OUR unfulfilled expectations of them), but then things seem to compound with everyone that crosses our path.  Some weeks it seems that everyone I meet behaves differently than I would (unfulfilled golden rule!) and it can really bring me down!

Let me give you an example… when a friend n0-shows or doesn’t come through on plans we’ve made, I feel disappointed, but still resilient.  When a second person does something similar thing around the same time, I again feel disappointed and start to feel disrespected.  When a third (unrelated to the first two) person forgets about a promise they’ve made – it compounds the first two situations and now I start to wonder what my role was in the three-event situation.

The answer is that it’s not personal!  I was simply the common denominator participant in a perfect storm trifecta of events!  The three incidents were unrelated, not about me, and simply the converging of three things happening during the same week TO ME.  While the situation may FEEL personal, the coalescence of the three events has nothing to do with me or my manifestation of life!

A friend called me yesterday expressing this same sentiment – her sister had promised to drive her home from work and then didn’t neglected to show up or call; another friend had forgotten about an appointment they had made; and a co-worker reamed her out over something minor.  All unrelated events, but my friend was feeling disregarded and wondered what she had done to deserve such treatment.  The answer is nothing – people behave the way they will and even when disappointment comes in threes (or more) it’s still NOT personal.

disappointment

p.s., We tend to remember the negative things that hit our day more than the positive ones.  For me, I’ve found that it is easier to digest disappointment when I take notice of the good things that happen throughout the day. For example, when someone follows through on what they promise, when people share a compliment, when someone smiles for no reason.  As Don Miguel Ruiz states, these things too (like the negatives) are not personal.  When we notice the good things that happen all the time, they balance out the negatives — we simply fail to take notice.

Have a great day!

Carol

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