Dwelling on disappointment: a haptonomic approach

Dwelling on disappointment: a haptonomic approach

Disappointment is not allowed

I think disappointment is one of the hardest emotions. A feeling that we don’t know how to deal with, but that we prefer to immediately turn to something else. Notice, how often we comfort ourselves and our children when we are disappointed? How often does it happen that we immediately come up with a soothing remark or thought: well, better next time, it’s not that important, then you just take another one. You will soon have something delicious! All distractors from the feeling of disappointment. Smooth out that emotion!

Express yourself

But why do we want that so badly? What is a disappointment really about? Disappointment happens when your expectations are not met. You are disappointed in yourself, your own abilities, or in someone else who is not doing what you would like. At its deepest, this is about expressing yourself: your feeling lets you know that you were touched, that you had expectations, that you are angry or sad that they were not met.

That you have lost heart, have failed? There was something at stake: you are not just disappointed. Coming out for your disappointment means showing yourself, and promoting what is important to you. And that makes you vulnerable. You can be charged for that.

Swallowing emotions

Dwelling on disappointment: a haptonomic approach

When you often swallow your disappointment, you make an effort to hide. You isolate yourself—from yourself to begin with. Part of you has no right to exist. This takes a lot of energy! Not to mention the tension this creates, which may cause you to get stuck. That makes you less flexible, you can respond less flexibly to situations so that new disappointments are lurking.

Dwell on disappointment

A haptonomic approach starts with examining the feeling itself. For starters, you can feel what disappointment really feels like.

What signals from your body tell you that you are disappointed? Do you get warm cheeks, does your heart beat faster, do you get restless? Or do you feel heavy, let your shoulders slump? Maybe it’s not so clear, or you only feel it afterwards. That can even differ from time to time.

Then you look at the deeper emotion: what does it feel like to be disappointed? Is it a pleasant sensation or not? Or a mix of both? Is there anger involved? Are you angry that you are not able to achieve your goals? Or sadness, because you really wanted something that didn’t happen? Perhaps you are afraid – that you are not good enough, for example. While investigating, the themes that play a role for you in disappointment come to the fore.


It can be beneficial to carefully monitor and live your emotions. You can discover underlying patterns with it. And when you are aware of that, you gain freedom of choice. The hypnotherapist does exactly that: exploring the patterns that you have developed together. Through that awareness, you can learn new behavior and find a new balance.

It makes a difference just by consciously feeling what is happening to you instead of reacting in your usual way. See what that gets you.


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