I’m Disappointed

Category: Weekly Columns


The older I get the more I work to manage my expectations and be appreciative and grateful for all the blessings I have in my life. Nonetheless, there are times when I just get disappointed. It may last just a moment or linger for a while as it has with a recent incident with my older son. My wife and me have gotten so much better at NOT allowing the little things to cause rifts or hurt feelings though her favorite words are,” You hurt my feelings.”

What causes disappointment? Usually, it begins with expecting something or something from someone. If you buy a lotto ticket, you may be disappointed you didn’t win. If you’re expecting something in the mail, you may be disappointed it didn’t arrive today. Those examples are the small stuff. But, it’s people that can disappoint us the most – IF we allow ourselves that selfish indulgence.

I get disappointed with our government and sometimes will go on a rant about politics on my radio show, to my family, or in a blog as I recently did with My Boys Would Be Better Off If I Abandoned Them. I then went on ranting further on the same subject in Segment One of this week’s Radio Show.

I remember how distinctly disappointed I’d get on a regular basis in my former career in showbiz when I didn’t get returned phone calls from buyers and/or people I wanted/needed something from. Of course, in my single days, I’d get disappointed if SHE didn’t call back. My parents never disappointed me, as an adult. They were there for me all the time. A-ha! Might that be the source of this emotional titanic for me? Might have to ask the therapist!

The more I expect nothing, the more I am happy. When I then get something, it’s a gift rather than fulfilling an expectation. Isn’t that a better way to live? Sure wish I could do that more often!

I wanted my son to lend his musical expertise to one of my I’m NOT That Dad vlogs. The first time I asked him he expressed that he couldn’t see playing music with, “THAT song.” We had a minor fight. We then worked out what I thought were the ground rules for future requests.

Funny image but I am grateful EVERY DAY for the blessing of both my boys!

I then went to him under those terms and he again refused to do it. This time, I was really disappointed. I was smart enough not to instigate a fight, but as my wife so often says, “My feelings were hurt.” My son knew it. He also probably knew he should’ve said “Yeah, of course I’ll do it, dad.”

The request followed my going with him to buy a custom drum set for his college journey that is set to begin at The Berklee College of Music in the fall. While there, I did some video with the owner of the drum company and my son. I thought asking him to score this vlog was the perfect way he could help me out and was exactly up his alley.

He expressed one excuse after another for not doing it. I was disappointed. I was hurt. I still am carrying a grudge, though I’m working to let it go. Holding a grudge does me no good. I discussed it with my wife and, to my surprise, she fully agreed with me (not a common occurrence).

Now, it’s up to me – not my son – to handle my disappointment. And, the lesson here for you and me is to own our own issues and not blame the other. Not blame the world at large for your misfortune, not blame the government, not blame your family, but let it go. I’m fond of saying that the only good thing about getting older is getting better at handling the emotions of life and relationships. This is the perfect example. Maybe I’ll get it someday?

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    As you say the only thing we can control is how we choose to act and or respond to what is presented to us. But I would add my grandfather’s line that you can’t screw an old head on young shoulders.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Smart man!

    • http://twitter.com/janetcallaway Janet Callaway

      Wise advice from your wonderful grandfather, Jack.

  • jetts31

    The life we live is entirely too short. While it is a perfectly acceptable emotion to feel, more people, like you said, need to let it go.  What I found was, if I let my disappointment, in whatever it might have been, affect me for too long, it affected the next thing, whatever that next thing might have been.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Exactly! Well said, Jimmy!

  • Al

    This is awesome Bruce.  Especially the pictures and quotes.  I am still laughing.  A great quote that helped save my relationship with my step son. “Fales expectations of others are pre-meditated resentments”  Like you said, try not to have any and you won’t be disappointed.

    • Al

      False not Fales.  Sorry.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thx for the comment Al…I think you are new to my website? I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter on the Home Page and come to #DadChat some Thursday evening?!

  • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

    I love how you combined humor, humanity and how you are learning as a parent, then share it so freely with the world. You always leave me feeling inspired. 
    I think I am gonna write a post about that. Love you Bruce! xo

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Wow Jessica, you made my day! TY so much. I love you too!

  • http://www.daddymojo.net/ Trey Burley

    The first photo made us think and laugh.  Is that juvenile?  All a parent can do is guide, they can’t steer.  Well, sometimes they can steer, but that’s only when they’re about to head off a cliff. 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      And, when they’re teens ALL you can do is keep ’em alive and hope that the values you taught them before their brains went nuts will come to play when it counts!

  • http://twitter.com/elizonthego elizabeth traub

    Oh my laughing bone!!  That last caption, was a perfect end to this post.  Great writing. I am NOT disappointed at all in the challenges of life.  Only that it takes much mental work to overcome. Nor am I disappointed in this post.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Great comment Elizabeth…thx so very much!

  • http://twitter.com/BetsyKCross Betsy Cross

    I’m always disappointed when I find out I’ve disappointed someone. And then I’m disappointed in myself for letting my emotions rule me, which leads to greater disappointment when I realize that I’m not perfect…yet, and that culminates in the ultimate disappointment that I must be wasting my time doing things that repetitively disappoint. It’s one huge bummer.
    HAHA! Just kidding.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Boy, are YOU a woman…also, JUST kidding!

  • http://brianvickery.com Brian Vickery

    Wow, didn’t see that last humorous graphic coming…funny in a harsh, vulgar sort of way 😉

    I can feel your pain, Bruce. Like you, I can easily get disappointed in missed expectations. And of course, it is easy to get disappointed with the decisions our kids make. In the general scheme of things, I could not be more happy about how my daughters are turning into wonderful, insightful, caring, intelligent, empathetic young woman. However, you see some of their decisions…and in my case, you *know* that heartache could have been prevented if they would think things through a little more. However, it is those struggles that “temper them” for when real struggles hit, and we are not there with the safety net.

    I bet your boy comes around to laying down that score for you. In a lot of cases, they have to come on their own terms versus feel pressure of expectations.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      BV, got to keep you on your toes! Thx for such a heart-felt and wise comment…I completely agree!

  • @MimiBakerMN

    Sigh, I’m definitely understanding where you’re at. One of my daughters and I don’t ever see eye to eye and it can be a struggle. Of course there’s this new single life that has left me less than inspired to enjoy this time. I’m certainly not a grudge holder, but seems I tend to be a emotional with certain things. Go figure! =/

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Mimi, we gotta get you out there and having some fun! 

  • AmyMccTobin

    I can’t stop asking WHY he won’t do it… and yes, he may still think you’re hokey – he’s not in his mid 20’s yet, right?  There is a reason, and he probably won’t tell you for years.  I say: never, ever ask him again and he’ll probably offer.  Always great Bruce. Always great.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I wonder as well, Amy….frankly, I simply think it’s laziness and he’s just a bit self-centered these days!

      • AmyMccTobin

        We have become a nation of self centered beings. Get someone else to do it – don’t ask again. Watch him get jealous:)

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          AND our government isn’t helping with so many programs that do NOT Inspire people to be self-sufficient, innovate, and create!

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  • David Weber

    Good insight.