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Let me get this straight. Many of you are afraid to try something because you might be disappointed, right? But so many disregulated eaters are already hugely disappointed in themselves, in their behavior, in failing to achieve their goals. So are you saying you’ll be more disappointed if you try something and fail than if you don’t try at all? Aren’t you disappointed now for not persisting until you succeed? Even if you only achieve half (or a third or an eighth) of what you want, won’t you be proud of yourself for trying? Maybe the problem is thinking not incrementally, but in all-or-nothing terms.

Yup, pretzel logic about disappointment is alive and well and living in the hearts and minds of disregulated eaters. I hear it all the time: I’m afraid to try because if I fail I’ll be disappointed. First of all, who says you have to be disappointed if you try and fail? Instead, why not think, “Good for me, at least I tried. I’m brave and courageous and maybe next time I’ll succeed.” Disappointment is not a necessary result of failure. You choose it as one response among many others. And even if you’re a bit disappointed, so what? It will pass, especially if you make it your business to let it go.

Folks who fear disappointment generally had too much of it as children or were shielded from experiencing it by well-intentioned parents. The job of parents is to model handling disappointment well, to not regularly disappoint their offspring, and to help children manage the inevitable downers of childhood. Maybe you never learned to handle disappointment effectively because your parents couldn’t soothe you or because they couldn’t bear to see you feeling badly and tried to make everything go right for you. Maybe you grew up constantly disappointed by folks around you and pretty much decided it’s not worth getting your hopes up because no good will come of it. Perhaps you’ve already suffered so much disappointment that you think you can’t bear any more. Or you may be so down on yourself that you can’t even imagine succeeding.

What do you tell yourself about trying and being disappointed? Is it rational and healthy or do you talk yourself out of making an effort in fear of failing and feeling disappointed? How will you ever get anywhere if you don’t try? How will you ever learn to bear disappointment well if you don’t experience it? You can learn to handle disappointment by changing your beliefs about it and surrounding yourself with a people who won’t regularly disappoint you but who will help you through hard times. Now you can bear feelings you couldn’t bear as a child because you’re wiser and smarter. Learn more about disappointment in my FOOD AND FEELINGS WORKBOOK.