At some point in your life, you are going to let someone down.

Let that sink in for a minute.

For many of us people pleasers, this prospect ranges from deeply uncomfortable to downright painful. We don’t want to let anyone down! We want to do our best and have only happy interactions with others. How can I control for this phenomenon?

The truth is that disappointment is a part of life. We’ve all been on the receiving end of disappointment, and at some point, we will also be on the distributing end. Whether it’s letting someone know they didn’t get the job they were interviewing for, telling a friend that you won’t be able to make it to their party, or canceling your kids trip to the park because it’s raining, you will be the source of someone’s disappointment.

And that’s ok. In fact, it’s healthy. Of course, you don’t want to make a habit of bailing on responsibilities, but the occasional let down actually makes us stronger. So, next time you’re wallowing in guilt for not meeting every last want of the people in your life, keep the following in mind.

  1. Life usually goes on when we disappoint someone. Because we are the center of our own universes, we tend to overestimate our importance at the center of others’ universes. I’m often reminded of this meme: I love the feeling you get when someone cancels plans that you didn't want to have in the first place.
  2. The ability to cope with change/disappointment is critical to success in life. When someone is totally derailed by a minor disappointment, there’s usually a larger issue that requires attention.
  3. There was probably a valid reason that you had to let someone down, and you probably didn’t make the decision lightly. Trust yourself.
  4. As much as you might like, you cannot be all things to all people, nor everywhere at one time. Choosing one thing means not choosing another. It’s just the way it is.
  5. When you regularly treat others with respect and kindness, small disappointments and let downs are easily forgiven. Be a generally decent human and carry on.



About the Author Aubrie Fennecken

Aubrie Fennecken is the Chief Alchemist at Opportunity Kitchen | work + wellness strategist | nonprofit fundraising expert | providing productivity and self-care support for mission-driven humans

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