The Fear of Disappointing Those We Love

by elizabethbrantley

I experienced recently the raw emotion of what it feels like to disappoint someone. This friend that I had to tell I couldn’t make their wedding, which occurs in a few weeks, and which I was so honored to be a part of the ceremony, demonstrated the most magnificent amount of grace I had ever experienced her having.

While I sit with the discomfort of upsetting another (particularly around their wedding day!) I am reminded of how many things I do, and we all do, to avoid this pain. Now I am the first to admit that this blog is a personal reflection. While my friend demonstrated more graciousness than I expected despite the upset-ness she might have felt , I needed to process and understand this situation from my end, from the pain I was feeling of having let someone else down.

The good I can gleam from this experience is that I did face a fear. I, being a pleaser type, will go to great lengths to make other people’s lives and experiences better and easier. This has served me in many of my jobs, since I seek roles where I can serve others, but I won’t deny that some part of this too stems from my great fear of letting someone else down. I reap great significance from “not being a bother”. I find this is something I try to offer to society and all the circles of friends I have and associations I am a part of. But the truth is, we all cause a ripple. Sometimes, we can’t help but to rock someone else’s boat.

So what? Being honest and facing the fact that we will and do disappoint others at times (even important times) is a learning process just like being rejected whether from a job, a lover, an agent, a dream. Accepting the fact that you can’t please everyone and yourself will cause discomfort. Owning up to the fact that you hurt someone else by disappointing them will humble you and shake your foundation, if it is built on pleasing others.

For all these reasons, and I am sure many more, we have to live through the experience of disappointing others. I believe, however, having had this experience, that now I too can grow more into the gracious woman I hope to be. Having lived through the understanding of another, I hope I can offer grace instead of anger next time I am disappointed in someone. I hope next time I am let down, I remember the pain I feel, and offer understanding instead of criticism, love instead of annoyance.

And the next time I have to disappoint, I hope I can do it courageously while trusting that all will be well, as I remember, that as important as I do think I am (as we all do think of ourselves) our presence or lack there of doesn’t have the ability to stop their show, their beauty, their life and their grace. No. The show (or the wedding) will always go on. As will your friendship and growth in each other.