Who hasn’t felt let down by others at some point? If you’re human, you have been saddened or disappointed or angry when another person failed to meet your expectations.
When we feel like others let us down, it opens a whole range of emotions including anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment, and even grief.
So how do you deal with the emotions you feel when someone lets you down?
Here are three key pieces of the process I use with myself and my clients, with a mantra for each one.
(1) Acceptance and Allowing
To deal with the emotions we feel when someone lets us down, we must acknowledge them.
This may sound obvious, but we have many ways of trying to suppress and bypass our emotions.
All emotions are part of the human condition.
One of my favorite mantras for remembering this comes from meditation teacher Tara Brach: this belongs here. It’s a simple reminder that this emotion is a part of me that needs love and attention.
No matter what you’re feeling, until you allow it and welcome it, you can’t work with it.
Acknowledge what is here.
Accept that you feel this way.
Allow it to be there.
Welcome to your humanity.
Mantra: This belongs here.
I know. They let you down. Why should you have compassion for them?
First, have compassion because it never hurts to treat others with compassion even if you think they don’t deserve it.
Second, have compassion because you don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s world. Maybe you expected something they weren’t able to give you. Even if they explicitly said they would/could, maybe they promised more than they could deliver. Maybe they didn’t anticipate other things that came up and took them away from their intention. Maybe they bit off more than they could chew. You don’t know.
Third, have compassion for yourself. If you can look at the situation with curiosity and compassion, it can show you where you have unmet needs.
What are you not receiving that you feel you need to receive?
Also, other people are a reflection of our inner states. If you’re feeling let down by others, it’s likely that you’ve let others down and you’ve let yourself down. What you give to yourself you can give to others, and what you give to others returns to you.
I try to remind myself that everyone is just doing their best.
Mantra: People do the best they can with the resources they have.
(3) Shift to Grace
The Hawaiian practice of Hoʻoponopono is one of my favorite ways to shift energy. Even if your anger or disappointment is self-directed, it’s still an energy that comes between you and others.
Hoʻoponopono consists of four sentences.
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
The best way to do this is to set a timer for at least three minutes, focus on who you want to direct this to, and repeat the four sentences for the duration. The crucial thing to know about this practice is that it doesn’t matter what you’re saying you’re sorry for, or what you’re asking forgiveness for. It doesn’t matter who it’s directed at.
Simply hold the intention for each sentiment and it will work under the surface.
Mantra: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.